SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Oxford’s head football coach Johnny Hill was pleased with how the O-Zone Classic at FNC Park turned out for all 12 of the teams involved. He was also very thankful for the support shown by the local community on several fronts.Hill got nothing but good reviews from coaches on how well the inaugural 7-on-7 football tournament was run at FNC Park. Not only were FNC’s lush youth soccer fields the perfect backdrop for the event, but the facilities director, Brad Freeman, and his staff reportedly did an excellent job in organizing and then running the tournament.
“What makes this tournament so special is it’s a community tournament. That’s Brad’s job. Brad and his staff have done an outstanding job of getting the fields ready, everything has been perfect. He got the officials up here. It’s been a win-win scenario for coaches and players and a win-win scenario for the officials,” Hill said. “Then you have people that have donated to feed these officials for two nights. Guy Billups, Luke Harris over at Bill Williams Sporting Goods, Brent Smith at Chaney’s Pharmacy and Jeff Busby with University Sporting Goods are just some of the many people that have been a tremendous help. Under Armour came in and donated some stuff and help sponsor this tournament. I don’t know how you could make it better. We had great officials, great facilities and I think everybody had fun.”
Hill said the goal is not only continue the tournament, but make it bigger and more competitive for teams in the future.
“There is no reason not to (continue tourney) and we want to make it bigger and better. I think the ideal number is to have 16 teams in 4-5-6A and 16 teams in 1-2-3A. Thirty-two teams overall, that gives you a perfect scenario,” Hill said. “You could have four, eight-team brackets. The ideal tournament in my opinion is if you could get 16 teams in one half and 16 teams in another half and you could have one heck of a tournament.”
Editor’s Note: There will be a complete roundup on how Oxford and Water Valley fared in the tournament in Monday’s EAGLE. Oxford went 4-3 overall and was the No. 1 seed heading into the double-elimination portion of the tournament on Saturday. WVHS was eliminated by Charleston in the semifinals. Water Valley went 3-4 overall and were eliminated by Marshall Academy. The Tigers went undefeated and won the 1-3A division. (July 10, 2010)