Friday, July 13, 2012
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
With the number of 7-on-7 passing leagues and tournaments having grown among high school football programs throughout the nation in recent years, it seemed a matter of time before they began to grow among younger age groups.
Sure enough, the Gwinnett Football League is getting into the act by holding the inaugural Patsy Jones Invitational, which gets under way today at 8 a.m. at the Buford Sports Complex.
The tournament, named after longtime GFL secretary and board member Patsy Jones, will consist of 17 eighth-grade teams representing 12 different youth feeder programs throughout the county.
"While we're light years ahead of (many other programs) throughout the nation, and we want it to stay that way," GFL president Erik Richards said. "But we felt like in the last four or five years, the passing game (in local programs) has been getting passed by."
The inaugural tournament will feature three eighth-grade level teams from the Mill Creek program, two teams each from Collins Hill, Grayson and North Gwinnett and one each from Brookwood, Buford, Lanier, Mountain View, Norcross, Peachtree Ridge, Shiloh and South Gwinnett.
However, Richards said that a successful run today could lead to the tournament expanding in the near future.
"As soon do we something like this, everybody wants to get a piece of Gwinnett County," Richards said. "We've had calls from (out-of-state) programs about participating. Right now, we're going to keep it closed to Gwinnett County.
"But it's possible next year we could have a qualifier at the Patsy Jones and a national tournament. And if (today's tournament) is successful, we may (expand it) to the seventh grade (teams)."