Dragons show potential with 3-2-1 showing at Missouri National Guard 7-on-7 tournament
CHILLICOTHE – Following Saturday’s 3-2-1 record at the Missouri National Guard 7-on-7 Tournament, the Cameron High School football team has increasingly high hopes they near the August 30 home opener.
The Dragons fell 20-7 to Richmond in the second round of tournament play, but players and coaches walked away from Saturday’s 7-on-7 elated, seeing immediate returns from a slew of changes implemented in the offseason including a new coaching staff and an experimental strength and conditioning program by Cameron Regional Medical Center.
“We did really good, way better than what we thought. It was the motivation we gave each other,” said sophomore receiver Bryson Speer, who caught a slew of touchdowns during Saturday’s tournament. “It’s the coaches. They’re giving us more mental reps. They’re helping us … We’re going to beat way more teams than we think we can.”
After going 2-1-1 in pool play, the Dragons faced their first test of the offseason in Marceline, who went 10-2 in 2018 after falling in the state quarterfinals. Cameron fell short in their first possession, then rebounded on their second possession with Ty Campbell finding Speer on a pair of throws to set up a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Riley. Campbell later found Javier Morones on 40-yard fly-route, then hit Speer from 40 yards to give Cameron a 20-14 victory. Speer said he feels and dramatic difference since competing in last year’s Missouri National Guard 7-on-7 Tournament and credits that to the new CRMC program.
“I can move more and I can lift more it’s all to Rich (Campbell) – the wizard,” he said. “He helps how to move more and lift better, how to properly do squats and it’s helping a lot. Last year I would slip and fall because I didn’t have balance, but – this year my balance is off the charts.”
The Dragons fell to Richmond in the next round 20-7. Despite a pick-6 by Riley just seconds into the game, turnovers limited Cameron’s offense and eventually led to a second-round exit. Although short of a tournament championship, Cameron coach Jeff Wallace said he was pleased with Saturday’s performance.
“When you run 7-on-7, you’re just trying to get a feel for your quarterback and receivers,” Wallace said. “There is such a huge space out here. We’re want to understand where we’re supposed to be and when we’re supposed to be there. The quarterback has to trust when and where that is going to happen so he can throw the ball to the right hole. We learned that today. There were so many learning experiences we had today. We learned some lessons today. That’s why we come out in the 100-degree index.”
The Dragons will get back to work next week, hosting a team camp Monday and Tuesday, then Mid-Buchanan for a Wednesday practice, and travel to Lathrop Thursday for a joint practice. Saturday, the Veterans Memorial Golf Course will host the Cameron Dragons Football Team Tournament.
“I was proud of the kids today. They competed and it’s hot. It’s nasty hot out here today,” Wallace said. “We made sure they had plenty of water and they were taking care of each other. We had a couple of guys with small injuries and could not participate, but they were getting water to everybody else. That tells you the family atmosphere we have on this team … Everything we’re doing is new and I was happy with what we did. Even when we were in a game and things weren’t going good, we came back and stuck a touchdown in on them. I can drive home today and feel pretty good about it.”