Prep Rally has often wondered whether 7-on-7 summer tournaments are actually the best way to prepare for an upcoming football season. Well, now the Dallas Morning News has done some cross checking to determine whether teams that performed well in 7-on-7 tournaments had corresponding success in 11-on-11 action the following fall, and they found a striking correlation.
In short, if a team performs well in 7-on-7 competition, it's likely to do the same in 11-on-11. At least in Texas.
According to the Morning News' Matt Wixon, only one of the eight Texas Division I 7-on-7 quarterfinalists eventually missed the Class 5A football playoffs. Only one of the other seven 7-on-7 squads in the quarterfinals fell in the subsequent opening round of the football playoffs.
Perhaps most impressively of all, the 7-on-7 quarterfinalists finished the 2010 regular season with a combined record of 76-28, an impressive winning percentage of 63 percent.
Such a striking correlation would seem to indicate that 7-on-7 does provide an ideal building block for future success. Yet, as Wixon points out, the legacy of bridging success between 7-on-7 and full-on football is a bit fleeting, even in Texas. After all, the 2007 Division I 7-on-7 state champion didn't even reach the playoffs later that year.
So, what can one take from the most recent statistical evidence? Well, it would seem to indicate one of two things: Either 7-on-7 has found ways of developing skills and team connections that transfer better to the regular season, or -- as RivalsHigh senior analyst Dallas Jackson surmised in June -- teams that compete in 7-on-7 are better off than teams that don't get to compete in summer competitions at all.
The question now is whether the successful 2011 squads can find similar success in the coming season, and what comparing this year's data to prior seasons' will show. Until then, one can only look at the 2010 success stories and wonder whether they'll be repeated again anytime soon.