Nobody gets better hitting off their little brothers.
That’s the approach Edmond’s Class A school Oklahoma Christian Academy has taken to their summer seven-on-seven workouts.
Academy, two seasons removed from their deepest playoff run yet, spent this week cutting their teeth against Mount Saint Mary’s and Putnam City West’s outside hulls. Pulling against teams in Oklahoma’s Class 3A and 6A markets, the workouts gave Academy a chance to see talent and speed that they wouldn’t necessarily see come time for the regular season.
“Considering the competition, I think we did really well,” head coach Grey Powell said on Thursday afternoon. “I was very pleased.”
Powell said that while the team battled low numbers because of church camps and mission trips, the workouts helped give OCA a level of competition that they wouldn’t have seen practicing by themselves.
And in those workouts, many of the Eagles soared.
“We did really well, made some plays and we got to break in some younger guys,” Powell said. “S’mauri threw the ball really well, and Calvin Brantley had two great days.”
Powell focused on that pairing. Abram and Brantley were already becoming household names before injuries impacted their junior years. Now, the pair eyes their upcoming senior season after standing out in the padless workouts against higher-classified competition.
Then, Powell admitted, a new addition — first year footballer Xavier Sayler — had himself a week, too.
“He moves really well, he’s a really good football player and has stepped into that “Y” role that Josiah left,” Powell said, mentioning the junior’s six-foot, three-inch, 230-pound frame. Sayler’s addition has Powell hopeful that the team can run-and-gun even more than they did last year.
The team’s showing may have been amplified by their previous off-season camps. According to Powell, his boys garnished valuable experience in a team camp at Louisiana State University.
Powell — in a trip to show off his home state to his team and coaching staff — said their experience at the seven-on-seven drills there (and offensive and defensive lineman camps) had given his team confidence no matter the level of opponent on the other side.
“Our kids went out there and they weren’t afraid,” Powell said. While being very complimentary of both MSM and PC West’s football teams, Powell said the chance to compete at LSU’s camps really allowed the Academy roster to get some work done heading into this week.
“It was like swinging with a weighted bat.”
In Baton Rouge, Academy performed well, too. There they won three workouts before falling on the final play of the round to the roster that finished runner-up in the tournament.
“I was really proud of our guys and the way they competed,” Powell said. “I think that really helped us going down against some good competition, some really athletic teams.”
Oklahoma Christian Academy will open their season at Oklahoma Bible High School in Enid on Aug. 30.