Cashion’s football team was a long ranger of sorts this week. Hailing from just outside the Oklahoma City area, Cashion represented central Oklahoma the past several days while attending Northeastern State’s team camp and 7-on-7 tournament on Saturday.
So it stands to reason that Cashion stood alone above everyone else at the end of the week, going 7-0 and winning the 7-on-7 championship.
“It is what it is,” Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford said following his team’s 20-0 victory over Hugo in the finals. “It’s 7-on-7; it’s a little like playing on Friday night, but it’s not completely like that.”
Cashion, arriving in Tahlequah on Wednesday, bested a 7-on-7 field that included larger schools such as Inola, Beggs, Colcord, Pocola, Fort Gibson and Hugo.
“It gives our guys an opportunity to compete,” Shackelford said. “...And we tell the guys, ‘if you’re going to be in a 7-on-7 tournament, in a camp or whatever, you might as well do the best you can.’”
Despite the void of linemen up front, Cashion still uses the 7-on-7 format to help the skill-position players improve.
“That’s one of the main reasons we (come to the camp and tournament,” Shackelford said. “It’s not realistic from the standpoint of you don’t have a (offensive) line in front of you, and there’s not guys running at you when you’re throwing it. But you’re still throwing to the same spots, and your receivers still have to read coverages.”
The Wildcats, who went 11-2 and lost in the Class A quarterfinals to Morrison in 2010, also use the week as a team-building tool.
“We stay and we float the (Illinois) River,” Shackelford said. “And the kids really enjoy it.”
Singleton: Tigers uses 7-on-7 to improve
Fort Gibson finished the 7-on-7 tournament 1-4-1, but that’s of no concern to new head coach James Singleton.
“I’m not here to go five-wide and run rub routes,” Singleton said of his team’s play at NSU’s Doc Wadley Stadium. “We ran double-tight formations, I-formations and nobody else here got in those formations. We came over here to get better, and that’s what we did.”
The Tigers pulled off their only win against Colcord, while the tie came against tournament runner-up Hugo in a 6-6 contest.
“I was excited with the way the day went,” said Singleton, who took over at Fort Gibson after being an assistant at Muskogee. “Some of our kids are frustrated because we lost. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m excited because we got better.”
The Tigers, in the midst of trying to find a starting quarterback for the 2011 season, rotated Tyler Warren and Randy Mendenhall throughout the day while J.R. Singleton was unavailable.
“We kind of mixed it up,” Singleton said. “We went with Randy late because Warren is also going to be an outstanding receiver and defensive back for us, too. And J.R. was at camp this weekend, so it’s still going to be a three-horse race for us until we evaluate those guys this summer.”
Perhaps the biggest absence for Fort Gibson was tailback Jake Gandra, the Tigers leading rusher in 2010.
“The guys had to make up for his loss,” Singleton said. “Some guys had to play out of position, but we’ll be a lot better when he’s around.”
The Tigers will begin their passing league at home on Tuesday.