Preps begin football practice

Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 11:30pm

Around Nashville and the state, the opening day of fall high school football practice moves in for some hot (very hot) and heavy action today.

For Hillsboro, it will be more of a transitional move as the Burros join their Nashville colleagues in going to the field for some hitting and – in Hillsboro’s case – throwing.

The Burros wound up their fourth 7-on-7 passing camp this summer at the Hoover (Ala.) National Select Tournament outside Birmingham last weekend. Hillsboro went 6-3 and finished in 13th place against some of the top units in the Eastern U.S.

“This (Hoover tourney) is exactly what we needed to make ourselves better,’’ said coach Scott Blade of Hillsboro, which was the only Nashville team in the 36-team Hoover event.

Top players like 6-4 WR Julio Jones of Foley (Ala.) High, who is rated at the nation’s No. 1 recruit by ESPN Top 150, was there. Jones, who has narrowed his college choice to Alabama and Florida State, was one of the athletes competing at Hoover.

“I didn’t care one bit whether we won or lost (at Hoover), it was all about making our team better,’’ said Blade who begins his second year at Hillsboro. “This is some of the best competition we could play against.’’

Hillsboro had already won all three of its previous 7-on-7 camps, coming at the Hilltopper event at Western Kentucky, the Vanderbilt Invitational, then at the LaVergne meet two weeks ago.

Much to Blade’s disappointment, the TSSAA has ruled, starting next year, against 7-on-7 games in June.

“I’m very disappointed with the ruling,’’ Blade said.

“It lessens Tennessee high school football and is a demotion for teams which want to get better. Great football states like California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, are all solidly behind a format where players can work on the skills against top competition.’’

Asked what his team would be working on today at its first practice, Blade said, “we’re going to jump right into work on special teams – we’ll be knock-out good in that area.’’

In their first-day games Thursday, Hillsboro beat Huntington, La., Patterson, La, and North Gwinnett, Ga., and lost to Bob Jones (Ala.) and to host Hoover.

In their most exciting game of the weekend, Hillsboro edged North Gwinnett 18-16 as Jacques Seward secured the win, intercepting a pass in the end zone in the final seconds.

Seward, Eric Gordon, Cory Jordan and Jarett Blihovde caught key passes, thrown by QB Matt Arent.

Blade promised that Seward not only would be touching the ball frequently as he looked toward the season opener Aug. 24 against Franklin, but would be playing quite a bit of defense as well.

“Last year, he rushed for 2,200 yards and caught passes for 500,’’ he said. “He should be one of our best defensive backs, as well.’’

METRO JAMBOREE: The 39th annual Metro Jamboree will be held Aug. 16-17-18. Maplewood, McGavock, and Hunters Lane will be host sites that Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Week 0 is Aug. 24.

BLOODWORTH CHANGES: Goodpasture assistant football coach Ted Bloodworth has changed positions at the school, taking a post in administration as director of admissions, he announced recently. It will be the first time in 32 years he has not been on the sidelines coaching football either as head coach or an assistant at Goodpasture.

Between Bloodworth and Cougar head coach David Martin, there is over 60 years of coaching experience. Besides his new job, Bloodworth will continue to coach girls tennis at the school.

MAGEE IS MVP: Harpeth Hall rising senior Lacy Magee was named MVP of the University of Florida volleyball camp recently where she and her teammates won their divisional championship. Some of the top teams from around the South competed.

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