By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Twelve players from Monroe High School’s Bearcat football team will be jetting off to Cleveland, Ohio this week to represent the Seattle Seahawks in a national tournament.
The team won the privilege to represent the Seahawks by prevailing in the National Football League’s High School Player Development Tournament. The regional 7-on-7 football tournament was held on Sunday, June 23, at the Seattle Seahawks training facility in Renton, where they competed against eight other high schools from all over the Northwest, including Idaho and Montana.
Monroe’s 7-on-7 team came out on top with six wins and zero losses, and will now play against top players from around the country as they travel, all expenses paid, to the national tournament in Ohio.
“Winning the NFL’s HSPD camp and regional tournaments were tremendous accomplishments for the kids and the football program. It’s just another indication of how far the program has come under Coach Abrams, and how dedicated these kids are. I am sure they will represent Monroe, Monroe High School and the Seahawks very well,” said Edd Pratt, an assistant coach at Monroe High School.
The tournament begins on Thursday, July 11 and the players will return home on Sunday, July 14.
Presented by the National Guard in partnership with the NFL, the High School Player Development Program is about more than just athletic prowess. It also focuses on personal enrichment, and the program includes character development sessions with an emphasis on leadership. Each player had to complete specific character development curriculum, including life skills and football fundamentals, before being eligible to participate in the national tournament.
The leadership training will continue at the national tournament with a character development presentation featuring NFL ambassadors and other guest speakers.
The 7-on-7 teams consist of 12 players and two coaches. Tournament games are non-contact, and played with seven players on the field at one time. The field is slightly less than half the size of a regular football field, at 40-yards long with a 10-yard end zone. The teams compete first in pooling games, which help determine the skill level of each team, and are then strategically paired off in a single elimination tournament.
Pooling games are scheduled for Friday, July 12 and during the morning of Saturday, July 13 at the Cleveland Browns training facility. The elimination tournament is expected to be held at the Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday after pooling games are completed.
Games are 20 minutes long, each with a three-minute halftime. Touchdowns are worth seven points each, no extra point, and interceptions count for three points. The quarterback has to release the ball within four seconds to one of his five receivers, and running plays are not permitted.
There will be a celebration “tailgate” party for the 7-on-7 team on Tuesday, July 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Monroe High School. Team supporters can bring their barbecues and favorite meat to grill and join in the festivities.
Monroe’s 7-on-7 team players are Hunter Bingham, Max Blais, McKinley Braa, Chase DiMonda, Mitchell Higgins, Cody Kennedy, Alexander McCreary, Shanden Mixayphone, Gabe Moore, Robbie Schab, Alex Vidican and Andrew Zimmerman. Coaches traveling with the team will be Jake Herigstad and Edd Pratt.
For the latest updates during the national tournament, you can visit the Bearcats Twitter page: https://