The Airline Vikings and Benton Tigers performed well in the Gatti and Merckle Airline 7-on-7 tournament at Freedom Fields last week, but both suffered tough, last-second losses.
Airline lost to Evangel by one in the semifinals of the afternoon single-elimination tournament on the final play of the game.

Benton fell to Captain Shreve on a Hail Mary TD in the final 30 seconds in the quarterfinals.
Evangel, the defending District 1-5A and Division I state champion, went on to defeat Shreve in the finals. Ten teams participated in the event.

“I thought the guys really competed and played well all day,” Airline coach Bo Meeks said. “Brad Fream, Coby McGee, Cameron Davis, Zylon Newson and Gumarus Walker all had very good days.”

The Vikings went 3-2 in the morning pool play, beating Pineville, Captain Shreve and Calvary and losing to Evangel and Mansfield. They defeated North DeSoto to reach the semifinals in the afternoon.

This was the tournament’s third year, and Meeks said things went well again. He credited Airline athletic director Ronnie Coker and assistant coach Seth Stowell for organizing the event.

“Our football boosters, former players and current players worked extremely hard to make it an awesome day!” he said in an email message. “We are very grateful to Gatti and Merckle, FCA and First Bossier for all they did to make the tournament great.”

Benton went 4-1 in the morning pool play to earn the No. 2 seed.
“(Quarterback) Garrett (Hable) and (receiver) Legend Denler were big all day for us,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said.
The Tigers played without All-State receiver Doyle Adams Jr., who was attending Boys State. “We had several young guys get reps on defense and we are getting better every time out,” Moore said.

Haughton had to withdraw from the tournament. “Too many kids and coaches out of town,” Haughton coach Jason Brotherton said.

The next and final big event on the 7-on-7 calendar is the Northwest Louisiana 7-on-7 Passing League tournament July 14 at Lee Hedges Stadium.

Airline, Benton and Haughton finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the regular season. The Vikings were 8-3, the Tigers 7-4 and the Bucs 6-4-1.Captain Shreve had the best record in the 12-team league at 9-2.

Russell Hedges
rhedges@bossierpress.com