GREEN BAY - Football almost always features 11 players, but take four off the field for each team, and you arrive at an important tool for improvement. That's according to Chris Greisen, a Sturgeon Bay High School product who played for both the Cowboys and Cardinals in the NFL and for several arena football teams. He says he's seen an increase in 7-on-7 high school football tournaments around the country, especially in places like Texas and Florida.
"You can really see the difference in the quality of play between those kids and up here in Northeast Wisconsin," said Greisen, who will start as a teacher and quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame Academy this year. "Being from Sturgeon Bay, living here in Green Bay now, I felt part of my obligation was just to improve football."
Because of that, Greisen hosted the Midwest Elite 7-on-7 Tournament Saturday at Notre Dame. The event featured nine teams from eight area high schools. They took the field, playing 25-minute games. The rules are the same as traditional football, except with no linemen; quarterbacks have a set amount of time to throw a pass or it's ruled a coverage sack.
"It's great competition, get to see how you match up with teams from around the area," said Bay Port quarterback Alec Ingold. "It's a great opportunity to get with the guys."
Greisen, who works with quarterbacks on an individual level, says that's the position that can really benefit from this type of tournament. Players agree.
"[The tournament] helps with my reads," said Hortonville quarterback Andrew Thompson. "We come out here, install our playbook, get everyone used to the playbook, it really helps developing our program and our receivers before the season."
Thompson's Hortonville squad ended up winning the tournament, beating Bay Port in the championship game.
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