A 7-on-7 flag football league is launching in September, with hopes of providing a safe environment for athletes looking to test their talents on the turf in the absence of a fall high school season.
North Carolina Triad Fusion is hosting the league for high school players, with a slate of six 7-on-7 competitions and two lineman camps to be held on Friday nights, aiming to start Sept. 11.
Events are scheduled to be held simultaneously at Greensboro’s Smith Soccer Complex and Winston-Salem’s BB&T Sports Park. The plan is to have three 25-minute games per night at each site.
“With everything that’s been happening with the pandemic and then us not having a season this fall, it just seemed like a great opportunity to try to create an avenue for, first of all, a safe competitive environment for guys to compete in together,” said program director Mitch Mitchener. “That’s really what we’re trying to create here.”
Mitchener, the Eastern Guilford defensive coordinator and former Western Alamance player, has worked alongside West Forsyth football coach Adrian Snow to organize the league.
“The idea came to me because I have a friend who is a soccer coach for North Carolina Fusion,” Mitchener said. “Through some connections that we had, he introduced me to some people over there, and we just started talking about it and it kind of snowballed into that. Then, Coach Snow, he has been involved with this as well and has helped by using his contacts and people he knows to try to organize things and make sure that we’re getting proper officiating by the actual North Carolina officials that you would see on a Friday night or Thursday night. So it’s been a really big help having him on board as well.”
The league is open to players both inside and outside of Guilford and Forsyth counties, Mitchener said, adding players from Alamance County have already registered. The deadline to register is Friday of this week and can be done so at www.ncfusion.org
“We’ve had interest from Rockingham County, Alamance County. Obviously, Guilford County and Forsyth County, but Stokes County, Surry County,” Mitchener said. “…It’s open to anybody. We’re not trying to keep anybody out.”
Players and coaches participating in the league will follow both N.C. High School Athletic Association protocols as well as N.C. Fusion’s own guidelines in an effort to remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchener said.
“We just want to make sure that we’re staying safe and keeping these kids protected,” Mitchener said, “and trying to mitigate, as much as possible, the spread of any type of virus.”
Games will be filmed using Spiideo, a sports video service partnered with N.C. Fusion, to provide players with game action that can then be sent to college coaches.
“I know that college coaches that we’ve talked to in the region are definitely interested in looking for stuff like that, when they typically wouldn’t, just because of the nature of this whole football season,” Mitchener said. “They won’t necessarily be able to get out and evaluate like they want to and they didn’t get to evaluate guys in the spring like we wanted to so they’re kind of looking for anything right now.”
The program has been in contact with the NCHSAA to make sure the athletic association’s guidelines are followed, Mitchener said.
“The high school coaches are not going to be violating any of the NCHSAA guidelines that they have put out in the past (week) and what they already had in place,” he said. “… We’re trying to be aboveboard with all of this. The number one priority with this whole thing is providing a safe competitive environment for these kids to compete together as a team and be able to display their skill set.”
The cost per player for the 7-on-7 league is $150. Lineman camps are $50 a session or $80 for both sessions.
N.C. FUSION 7-ON-7 FLAG FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept 11 | 7v7 | Scrimmages | GSO & WS
Sept 18 | 7v7 Games | GSO & WS
Sept 25 | Lineman Camp | WS
Oct 2 | 7v7 Games | GSO & WS
Oct 9 | 7v7 Games | GSO & WS
Oct 16 | Lineman Camp | GSO
Oct 23 | 7v7 Games | GSO & WS
Oct 30 | 7v7 Games | GSO & WS