Mercer Island football hosted its first “Rumble on the Rock” 7-on-7 passing tournament Saturday, July 19 at Islander Stadium. Twelve teams from nine schools competed, including varsity squads from Ballard, Chief Sealth, Eastlake, Meadowdale, Lakeside, Issaquah, Glacier Peak and Thomas Jefferson. Junior varsity teams from Glacier Peak, Thomas Jefferson and Mercer Island also took part in the competition.
In the team’s last football event before opening practice Aug. 20, the Islanders’ varsity squad was knocked out in the quarterfinal round by Chief Sealth. Ballard won the tournament, beating Chief Sealth in the final.
After the tournament, Mercer Island coach Brett Ogata said he was pleased with what he saw from his team.
“It went well. It was a chance for us to get better practice for our passing game and passing defense, and we did that. We got better by the end of the day,” he said.
Going from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Ogata said the beauty of the tournament was that it offered a unique opportunity for his team to get a lot of passing reps in, in ways that a six or seven hour practice would not be as effective.
“Really, it’s a great chance to work with the boys and get comfortable and get better. That’s what I love; the sense of competition, the amount of reps and practice we get in and the team bonding that happens.”
While this was the first time Mercer Island hosted its 7-on-7 tournament, Ogata hopes it won’t be the last.
“Hopefully in the future, we build this thing up to get more teams. Most of these are in June, and ours is in July. It’s a fun event that people on Mercer Island may not be accustomed to. Hopefully, we can keep this thing going and make it more exciting.”