Sparring with SupermanPublished 1:12am Thursday, June 26, 2014
Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is a rising star in the NFL and the ideal physical specimen at his position, so much so that he’s garnered the nickname “Superman.” Looking past the limelight and 11,000-plus yards passing in three years, head coach Ron Rivera’s No. 1 asset began his illustrious career just like every other professional player, demanding national attention through top performance at the high school level.
Head football coach Sport Sawyer and the Pam Pack are looking to absorb some inspiration from Superman himself, while simultaneously making a statement in the face of tough competition Thursday and Friday at the second annual Cam Newton High School Football Tournament in Charlotte.
“We’re doing this as a team bonding thing and to prove that we can compete in football anywhere in the state of North Carolina,” Sawyer said. “We want to make the Pam Pack known and do good things throughout the state.”
Facing tough western North Carolina competition, including schools like Shelby and Charlotte Catholic, Washington’s seven-on-seven squad will aim to take home a share of a $5,000 pot split between the last three teams standing at the end of Friday’s games. With a first-place finish, the Pam Pack could be sporting some new gear come fall, as all winnings go towards the football equipment.
On Thursday, each squad will begin the two-day camp with seven round robin games to determine their seed for Friday’s spectacle, which will consist of a single-elimination bracket format beginning at 9 a.m.
Washington has left the linemen at home, as the seven-on-seven structure requires a center, quarterback, receivers and a man-to-man defensive scheme. The games will feature two, 20-minute halves with a running game clock. On offense, the quarterback has just four seconds to throw the ball and if he fails to get it off, he is penalized with a sack.
Sawyer sees Newton’s camp as an opportunity to capitalize on elevated, competitive game speed.
“We’re looking to make sure people know their responsibilities and to see if they can hold man-to-man coverage,” Sawyer said. “On the offensive side, we need to see if these guys are making plays to catch the ball and what they do after the catch. In our offense, they see a lot of play action and a good deal of shorter passes. So, they need to be able to catch it and make plays after the catch. It gives us an idea about our players’ strengths and weaknesses.”
After finishing the 2013 with an impressive 12-3 record, the Pam Pack is looking to carry the momentum into their second year in the Eastern Plains Conference.