Ballinger Hopeful 7-on-7 Success Translates in the Fall
BALLINGER, TX -- Heading into this week’s State 7-on-7 Football tournament in College Station, the Ballinger Bearcats are hopeful the added reps will translate to success in their budding passing game this fall.
During Ballinger’s 7-4 run to the playoffs in 2018, the Bearcats threw for 1,409 yards and 17 touchdowns. With senior Edgar Nunez still calling the signals, Ballinger is looking to take their game to the next level.
Nunez led the team in rushing last season with 1,442 yards and 13 touchdowns. Having an added weapon in his repertoire has been Nunez’s biggest focus this season.
“It’s good because now I can have two threats,” Nunez said. “I’ve already had my running threat with me. But now that I’m throwing the ball better, it’ll be another threat come the fall.”
Now, 7-on-7 football shouldn’t have much stock held with it -- there aren’t any linemen and you can’t run the ball like the 11-man variation.
It’s also rare to see a state champion from 7-on-7 grace Texas high school football’s biggest stage in December. Only four teams to win the state 7-on-7 tournament have gone on to win the UIL State Championship. The last to do so was Melissa High School in 2011.
That doesn’t discourage Ballinger from the progress they’ve seen this summer.
“Through 7-on-7, our receivers are getting better with their routes and I’m getting better chemistry with all the receivers because we have a bunch of guys getting reps with us,” Nunez said. “It’s very beneficial. Because, like I said, it’s just building chemistry with me and my receivers.”
Junior receiver Weston Rollwitz is anticipating a jump in his quality of play after a phenomenal sophomore season. As a sophomore, Rollwitz was Nunez’s favorite target with 20 catches for 358 yards and six touchdowns in a balanced passing attack.
“I’ve been getting better from the chemistry me and Edgar have built,” the 6-foot-1 junior said. “It’s just trying to get one more rep, one more game together.”
“It’s good knowing you have a guy like Weston out there who can obviously make plays,” Nunez praised. “He’s one of the guys who makes some of the craziest catches I’ve ever seen.”
With four of their five most targeted players back from 2018, Rollwitz is eager for their receiving corps to put their progress on display in College Station and under the Friday night lights.
“It’s a great feeling, just knowing we have all these threats coming from 7-on-7 to fall football,” Rollwitz said. “It’s gonna be great.”
Ballinger qualified in the first weekend of state qualifying tournaments. They were one of three qualifiers from the Hamilton Division III tournament.
But Rollwitz wasn’t worried if Ballinger would qualify. He knew his team would make their first appearance in four years at the state tournament.
“It was a great feeling and everything, but I knew we would qualify eventually because we have a good team going into state,” Rollwitz said.
The Bearcats were placed in Pool C in the Division III field. The four-team pool also features Sonora, who Ballinger beat in overtime during the Sonora SQT.
Ballinger is excited to renew that rivalry at the state tournament.
“Oh, it’s gonna be great,” Rollwitz said. “Us and Sonora have had a rivalry in 7-on-7. It’s gonna be great playing them again.”
Ballinger will open pool play on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. against Wichita Falls City View. They will wrap up pool play on Thursday against Sonora at 5:00 p.m.
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