By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo is becoming the place to go for summertime football. Already the host for the Scout Southeast Select Combine, add this weekend’s National Select 7-on-7 Qualifying Tournament.
“I think you’re going to be able to come here and watch some guys that you’re going to see play on Saturday, and eventually Sunday, one day,” said Tupelo Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Director of Sports Development Seth Gaines, who hopes to grow the event annually.
The event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Ballard Park. The winner will receive a paid berth, plus $2,000, in the Hoover (Ala.) National Tournament in July. The Tupelo event is one of only 16 national qualifying 7-on-7 events. There are 16 invites to the July tournament.
Partnered with North Mississippi Medical Center, the event has nine teams scheduled, with three still in limbo. The event is free to the public and two of the three fields of play will be available online.
Participating teams include Alabama’s Gadsden City, Prattville and Florence; Tupelo, Shannon, Tishomingo County, Center Hill, Oxford and Starkville from Mississippi. Teams have the option of playing at least 10 games.
Pool play begins Friday at 1 p.m., then 9 a.m. Saturday before a double-elimination tournament in the afternoon.
players to watch
Local players among names to watch are Tupelo WR Rodney McIntosh and DB Jayland Dillard. Tishomingo County junior QB Blake Hawkins is also starting to draw interest.
Florence 4-star senior quarterback Kendrick Doss, considered a heavy Ole Miss lean, is one of the bigger individual draws. Doss has offers from Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Mississippi State, Nebraska, South Alabama, Southern Miss and Tennessee.