The Jourdanton Indians 7-on-7 football team had a hard route to punch their second state 7-on-7 ticket.
The Indians fell behind 14-0 to Beeville in the first half of the State Qualifying Round of the Jourdanton State Qualifying Tournament before coming back to beat the Trojans 15-14. Tyler Berg scored the tying touchdown with Clyde Schuchart picking up the go-ahead two-point conversion.
Jourdanton got to the final with a 2-1 record in pool play, beating Poteet 29-14 and Hondo 26-0. Their only loss was a 26-16 decision against Somerset, who had already qualified for the state tournament, so they couldn’t advance to the final.
Jourdanton Head Coach Darrell Andrus admitted that 7-on-7 has grown on him in recent years. He feels it’s now paramount to his program’s offseason regiment and was happy to see his players compete against tough competition in the tournament.
“I think it’s definitely a big part of our process in the passing game,” Andrus said. “We have a sophomore quarterback [Matt Hicks] who needs every rep he can get. To see coverages and develop a connection with his receivers is extremely important.”
Hicks is set to take the reins from outgoing fouryear starter Cole Andrus. The sophomore is slowly reaping the rewards of those reps in 7-on-7, according to coach Andrus.
“Matt getting timing with … all the wideouts is very important because we are replacing a fouryear starting quarterback that had that connection with these guys,” Andrus said. “He’s understanding where his receivers are going to be. His footwork has improved dramatically. He’s putting better touches on his passes with more accuracy. We’ve had the spring league, played in the qualifier at Fredericksburg and what I’m getting at is, through each game, I’ve seen improvement.”
Jourdanton, who joins Pleasanton as the second area team to qualify for the state tournament in College Station, knows the competition will only get tougher. When they qualified in 2019, they beat Brock, Stephenville and Texarkana Pleasant Grove in pool play. Those three programs have combined for a total of eight state championships since 1993, with Stephenville winning five of those eight.
“I think the handful of times we’ve been to state, both at Flour Bluff and here, is just the experience,” Andrus said. “When we went two years ago, we got to play Brock, Stephenville and Pleasant Grove, which a lot of our kids had never even heard of. Now we’re keeping up with their scores.
“[Pleasanton Head Coach] Stephen Liska and I were talking about it the other day; obviously you want to compete and you want to win, but just getting your kids out in late June and getting those experiences [is great]. It’s a team bonding experience. They get to go through another competitive situation together.”