ORONO, Maine — With the high school football season rapidly approaching, Bangor High School was able to obtain a boost of confidence by winning the University of Maine’s second annual 7-on-7 High School Tournament on Saturday at the University of Maine’s Alfond Stadium.
Bangor defeated Bonny Eagle of Standish 22-7 in the championship game of the round robin tourney.
Brewer, Belfast, Deering, Hampden, Lawrence of Fairfield, and Old Town also participated in the tournament, with each team playing four games in the morning before breaking into the single-elimination tournament in the afternoon.
The tournament is just one of many opportunities teams have throughout the offseason to keep players in football shape, but Bangor coach Mark Hackett enjoys what the tournament provides his team.
“It’s fun and competitive to play with the local and southern schools who come up here,” said Hackett. “It’s such a great day and and it’s football, so we love it.”
For players such as Rams senior quarterback Carl Farnham, the tournament gives him a chance to get back on the gridiron.
“Just getting out here and being able to throw to the guys, learn the routes, and tune up is a great experience,” said Farnham, who’s still in the midst of the American Legion baseball season. “It’s great to get out here with my football guys once a week to get ready for the upcoming season and get away from baseball for a bit.”
The Rams finished just 2-2 in round robin play and barely made it to the finals as they went to overtime in the semifinal with Lawrence, which had not lost all day.
Each team is given one possession in overtime and the first team to complete a pass wins the game.
After Lawrence failed to get a completion, Farnham stepped in and completed a two-yard screen pass to secure the victory and a title opportunity.
Farnham called the game-winning play and every other play during the tournament, something Hackett has no problem with.
“We want it to be the players’ game and help them to get ready, but we want the game to be won in their hands, not ours,” said Hackett.
“Coming up through the ranks, I never thought I would be calling plays myself,” added Farnham. “Just giving me the opportunity to do what I want and pick plays that will work is very humbling.”
Farnham and the Bangor receivers carried over the momentum from the semifinal to the finals as the team developed continuity and rhythm to make quick work of Bonny Eagle in the finals.
Though Farnham did the play-calling, the receiver’s execution was pivotal for the Rams to run the table and win the title.
“My performance banks on what the other guys do,” said Farnham. “A lot of our guys came to play today and put us over the top.”
The tournament win certainly gives Bangor early hope for success in the upcoming season, but it shows just one aspect of Bangor’s attack.
“I think our performance out here allows us to work less on the pass game and more on other areas like running the ball and line work,” said Farnham.
“These guys are determined to get back and win the whole thing, and this right here is a good start,” Hackett added.
Seven-on-seven touch football is played without the linemen that are an integral part of the traditional 11-man version of the game. As a result, there is no running and instead a focus on passing offense and pass defense as the quarterback is given four seconds to release the football.
The field is reduced to a 40 yards, plus a 10-yard end zone, and there is a 25-minute running clock.
High school football preseason opens on Monday, Aug. 13, with opening games set for Friday, Aug. 31.