Texas Panhandle teams gear up for 7-on-7 State Football Tournament

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Imanol Marquez and the Dumas Demons will compete in their fifth straight 7-on-7 State Football Tournament starting Thursday. [James Abel/ Press Pass Sports]
Once again, the Texas Panhandle is going to have plenty of representation at the 26th annual 7-on-7 State Football Tournament which begins on Thursday at Veterans Park in College Station.

Dumas, Childress, Sunray and newcomer Muleshoe make up the Amarillo-area that compete across three divisions of 128 teams.

Hereford qualified for the state championships but due to unfortunate circumstances the Whitefaces withdrew and will not participate.

All four teams will kick off action with pool play on Thursday, and then go on to a championship one-game elimination bracket on Friday.

Leading the way is veteran Dumas. The Demons, who will play in the Division II bracket, have made College Station a summer home making their fifth straight appearance to the state tournament. The Demons best showing was a semifinal appearance in 2021.

Dumas head football coach Aaron Dunnam is a huge proponent of 7-on-7 and says it’s another step toward getting better in the fall.

“We love getting an opportunity to compete any chance we get,” Dunnam said. “As long as I’m the coach in Dumas we welcome 7-on-7 and a chance to get better. What I think 7-on-7 does is it gives us a chance to work on the skill aspect and a chance to work toward our goal of preparing for the season in August.”

The Childress Bobcats will make their sixth straight showing at the 7-on-7 State Football Tournament. [Provided photo]
Like Dumas, Childress is also accustomed to making a trip to College Station each summer. The Bobcats are set to make a fourth appearance and a seventh overall at the tournament with their best finish coming as the state runner-up out of Division III in 2021.

“We’re excited to be back,” Childress football coach Bo Helm said. “It gives us three or four days to all be around each other and it gives us a chance to play some really good competition. This is always such a fun week.”

Sunray got its first taste of the state tournament last year and couldn’t get enough. The Bobcats qualified for a second straight year thanks to winning the Hawley Tournament.

With high expectations surrounding the Bobcats in 2024, head coach Wes Boatmun hopes this is just the start of big things to come.

“We loved the experience last year and the facility at College Station,” Boatmun said. “We can’t wait to compete and show we belong. The goal is to always have fun while we’re here, but we do want to see if we can play farther than we did last year.”

The Muleshoe Mules will make their first appearance at the 7-on-7 State Football Tournament. [Provided photo]
Along with Sunray, Muleshoe has big expectations heading into the 2024 season especially with a drop into Class 3A Division II.

The Mules had a strong spring and have used that momentum during the early portion of the summer to qualify for the school’s first ever 7-on-7 State Football Tournament.

“Winning the mile relay at the state track meet gave us a ton of confidence,” Muleshoe head coach Jason Richards said. “We used that confidence and put it into the 7-on-7 season and we thought it’d be fun to get a chance to go play at the state tournament. We want to make it like a vacation, but we’re also excited to see where we stand.”

While coaches like Dunnam and Helm are adjusted to seeing teams from across the state that Texas Panhandle squads don’t get to see on a regular basis, however, that’s what Richards is looking forward to the most.

“We want to go down there and compete and prove we belong,” Richards said. “I love that we’re going to play and see teams we only hear about on TV or through social media. This is going to be a great opportunity for us, and we can’t wait.”

Texas Panhandle 7-on-7 State Tournament Schedules

All games at Veterans Park, College Station 

Division II

Dumas Demons pool play 

Thursday’s games

Dumas vs. Glen Rose, 1:45 p.m.

Dumas vs. Panther Creek, 3:15 p.m.

Dumas vs. West Orange-Stark, 4:45 p.m.

Division III

Childress Bobcats pool play

Thursday’s games

Childress vs. Bartlett, 1 p.m.

Childress vs. Miles, 2:30 p.m.

Childress vs. East Bernard, 4 p.m.

Sunray Bobcats pool play 

Thursday’s games

Sunray vs. Poth, 1 p.m.

Sunray vs. Honey Grove, 2:30 p.m.

Sunray vs. Grapeland, 4 p.m.

Muleshoe pool play

Thursday’s games 

Muleshoe vs. New Waverly, 1 p.m.

Muleshoe vs. Daingerfield, 2:30 p.m.

Muleshoe vs. Millsap, 4 p.m.

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