The panther title hunt begins on Friday; Jags will be fighting for championship number 2

The brackets have been set and three 7v7 Ellis County soccer teams are on their way to Aggieland to compete in the Texas 7v7 state tournament this weekend.

All tournament actions take place in Veterans Park and the Athletic Complex in College Station.

The Midlothian Panthers take part in the state tournament for the sixth time and meet in Pool E in Division I, consisting of 5A and 6A schools, on College Station, Conroe Grand Oaks and Wolfforth Frenship. Pool games take place on Friday afternoons from 1 p.m.

The first two in each pool play the championship round on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. and the bottom two in each pool play in the consolation round on Saturday at 8:00 a.m.

The Heritage Jaguars, who won the 2018 Division II 7v7 National Championship for only the third year of the program, will face Little River Academy, Paris and Somerset in Pool G on Thursday afternoon. Division II consists of all teams in Class 4A and Class 3A of Division I. All teams in Division II will advance to the championship round on Friday morning.

Ironically, Paris qualified for the Heritage 7-on-7 tournament on Memorial Day weekend like the Jags, but the two didn’t play as both had already qualified for the state. It is common for 7v7 semi-final winners not to play for the championship.

The 7v7 game is designed for teams to improve their passing and receiving skills. Each team consists of a center, a quarterback and five receivers on the offensive and usually defensive backs and linebackers on the defensive.

The state tournament, which began in 1998, originally took place on the campus of Texas A&M University, but had to be rescheduled in 2013 after a new rule from the Southeastern Conference banned the Aggies from hosting the tournament. There was no tournament in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MHS was able to secure one of the last available state slots at a state qualifying tournament in Arlington Lamar on June 12th. The Panthers beat Mansfield 19-14 and Denison 20-18, then lost to Lamar 13-8, but progressed with a tiebreak.

The Jags, meanwhile, got their state qualifications out of the way early when they secured a place for the fifth time with a 15-7 win over Waco Connally in the Heritage Tournament semifinals. In the pool game, the Jags beat Tyler Chapel Hill 12-8, then Whitesboro 19-7 and Wills Point 25-0.

Another school in Ellis County, Palmer, will be competing in College Station this weekend. The Bulldogs take part in the Division III competition for Class 3A schools of Division II and smaller.

Palmer faces Childress, Daingerfield and Flatonia in Pool A on Thursday afternoon. As with Division II, all teams will advance to the championship round on Friday morning.

The Bulldogs have qualified for the state every year since the Division III tournament was founded in 2018, and also qualified for Division II in 2014. Palmer qualified for the state in a tournament in Archer City on June 5, defeating Tioga and Collinsville, and losing to Millsap in pool play.