For the first time in the history of the Lincoln-Way high schools, players from all four football programs met at Lincoln-Way East to compete in 7-on-7 drills to prepare for the upcoming season.
Played with no offensive or defensive lineman, 7-on-7 play is a type of a touch football utilized to help skill-position players get in sync on offense, and to help the linebacker and defensive backs to better understand their coverages on defense.
Lincoln-Way East head coach Rob Zvonar set up the event and was enthused all the district schools could gather Friday in Frankfort to compete.
“It’s the first time in my 11 years at East that we’ve had the opportunity to do this,” Zvonar explained. “There are a lot of relationships among the kids and the coaches between the different schools, and it’s nice to get together in a little less competitive environment than when we play for real during the year.”
The four schools played simultaneously on the Lincoln-Way East varsity field. Each game was played with two alternating 10-minute periods on both offense and defense to complete the 40-minute scrimmages. The ball was placed on the 40-yard line heading toward the end zone, and every team played one another.
Lincoln-Way North head coach George Czart said he has enjoyed a positive offseason working out with his team. Czart was pleased to bring his players to L-W East for some competition before the start of the season.
“We are always going against ourselves in practice, so we get an idea of what our kids can do,” he said. “This is nice to come out here and go against another offense or defense and see what we need to work on.”
The lone offensive lineman on the field for Lincoln-Way Central was center Jake Martinsen. Also one of the team’s defensive lineman, Martiensen made it clear that he’s ready to put on the pads.
“These drills help the quarterback with footwork, and help us learn our reads faster,” he said. “But for the lineman, today is more of a relaxed day. The (offensive linemen) can’t wait to start the season and be the baddest guys on the field.”
For the newest edition to the Lincoln-Way district, Lincoln-Way West defensive back B.J. Bello didn’t have quite the relaxing day as Martinsen, but Bello welcomes seeing the other teams before the season starts.
“Playing against the other teams out here is a nice change of pace. Seeing the different competition lets us get used to our scheme,” Bello said.
With the school having opened in 2009, Bello feels a bond with his fellow Lincoln-Way West Warriors.
“We all have a real good attitude. Today is a fun day because there are a lot of connections between teammates. Everyone is getting along,” he said.
With no official score being kept, the four teams enjoyed a day of bonding as teammates in a more relaxed football environment than they normally have. Zvonar hopes the four schools can make it an annual event.
“We understand summer can be hectic, but we’d love to have everyone back to do it again next year,” he said.