Wetumpka football

Wetumpka’s region foe Benjamin Russell was one of four teams in attendance at Monday’s 7-on-7 league at Hohenberg Stadium.

The Wetumpka football team continued its busy summer with a pair of 7-on-7 camps over the last week. After attending a big camp in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, the Indians hosted Jeff Davis, Benjamin Russell and Trinity on Monday for a quick set of games and Wetumpka coach Tim Perry said he was pleased with what he saw.

“We were a lot cleaner as far as execution,” Perry said. “We’re still really young with a lot of young guys looking to start for the first time. We had guys starting to do the little things and starting to understand the techniques we’re trying to teach. I was encouraged from our improvement from the last two weeks.”

Monday’s event was the first of three dates Wetumpka is hosting during the summer. The Indians list it as a 7-on-7 league and the event serves as a smaller version of a full camp, lasting just over two hours.

During the camp this week, Wetumpka split its squad into two teams featuring its first-team and second-team offenses and defenses. Both teams got to play all three opponents in attendance, gaining valuable experience for some of the younger players who did not get to participate in the camp at the University of Alabama.

“We get an opportunity to play everyone in these,” Perry said. “These things are about getting live reps for everyone against someone other than ourselves. These guys are competitors so this is a great way for these guys to go out and improve on the things we’re teaching them.”

While hosting a camp provides opportunities of its own, Wetumpka is still taking advantage of opportunities to go to bigger events including the one on Saturday at the University of Alabama. The results were not what the Indians wanted but the experience was worth the trip and Perry said his team responded well from it.

“We try to get in a big environment like that to expose them to high-level competition as much as we can during the summer,” Perry said. “It’s hard to relax and perform when you’re caught up in the environment so we want to get them that experience so their first time seeing it isn’t on a Friday night.”

During these 7-on-7 camps, the focus is on the passing game on offense and defense. Wetumpka is looking to replace a lot of talent in the secondary but the Indians are loaded with skill on the offensive side of the ball.

Despite losing touchdown leaders De’Angelo Jones and E.J. Rogers, the Indians have experience across the field at the offensive skill positions. Perry said everyone is expecting a little bit more from those players but it will not be the team’s only focus moving forward.

“We’re still searching for an offensive identity,” Perry said. “A large part of our offense will be our run game and play action passes so we’re really not an offense that’s going to be in an empty set every down.”

Tyquan Rawls returns after a breakout season at quarterback and he continues to be the first-team signal caller for the Indians. Perry said he has already seen a lot of improvement from Rawls during his first full offseason at the position.

“I think he has shown a lot better understanding of reading coverages and understanding downs and distances,” Perry said. “I was really proud of him (Monday night). He has shown a lot of growth.”

Wetumpka will continue its summer gauntlet this week with a trip to Troy on Thursday. As always, the Indians are entering the 7-on-7 camp with expectations to compete for a trophy but the team’s goals do not end there.

“We want to win the tournament but we’re realistic in our goals,” Perry said. “If we don’t win, we’ll be disappointed competitively but we want to see each player get better. We want to make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.