State seven-on-seven tournament coming to parish again

Kyle Riviere
High-school teams from across the state will converge on St. Amant next week for the Airo 7v7 tournament. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

For a trio of parish football teams, another round of team seven-on-seven competition is ahead.

Just two weeks after St. Amant, East Ascension and Donaldsonville took part in the inaugural Ascension Parish Make-A-Play Day at the Pit, the three schools will join the fray to see if they’re the best seven-on-seven squad in the state.

For the fourth straight year, the Airo Louisiana State 7v7 Championship is headed to Ascension. St. Amant High-School will host the event for a third consecutive season.

The Airo 7v7 tournament welcomes teams from across the state as they compete against one another for the right to call themselves champions.

However, Louisiana isn’t the only state that participates in the Airo tournament. There are four others—California, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.

The four semifinalists from each state will meet at a regional tournament later this summer to determine the Airo 7v7 national champion.

The event originally started in Florida, and it has branched out ever since.

Airo believes that seven-on-seven competition is a must for high-school football players in the sport’s modern era.

In their mission statement, they say, “In one weekend at the typical 7v7 tournament, an athlete can compile a larger and more relevant body of work for college coaches, unlike traditional 11-on-11 football—since the 7v7 world attracts top talent, devoted to year-round football.

“The athletes compete against better talent more consistently versus the talent featured in the traditional football season. In one weekend of 7v7 play, an athlete may see better competition than in all of the traditional season. The cream rises to the top through 7v7, unlike any other style of football across the country.”

Ascension Parish has been an integral part of the Airo 7v7 event ever since it came to Louisiana.

The very first state tournament was held at East Ascension’s Spartan Stadium and the adjoining soccer fields.

The last two have been at St. Amant.

The Gators have competed in all three. Donadsonville has been a part of the event for the last two seasons. East Ascension skipped last year, but they’ll be back competing at this summer’s event.

Of all the parish schools, St. Amant has been the most successful over the past three years.

In the first season, they reached the Elite 8. In 2016, they reached the round of 12, before losing to eventual Class 5A state champion Landry-Walker.

Last year, the Gators were eliminated by eventual tournament runner-up East St. John in the second round of bracket play.

Donaldsonville was ousted in the first round of bracket play in 2017.

The semifinalists in last year’s Airo 7v7 were East St. John, Karr, St. Augustine and St. James. St. Augustine ended up winning the state title.

The tournament will take on added importance for both St. Amant and Donaldsonville as both teams break in new quarterbacks.

Donaldsonville loses a two-year starter and all-district player in Jaylen Williams, while the Gators lose all-district performer Halen Miller.

St. Amant will also be breaking in many new starters at receiver.

The Gators, Tigers and Spartans will all eye a state title on Wednesday, July 11, at the St. Amant High School football practice fields.