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Football in July: Nine FCIAC teams play in New Canaan’s Grip It & Rip It tourney

Sure the temperatures are in the mid 90s and it’s the first week of the July. So what? Let’s play some football.

The 11th annual Grip It & Rip 7-on-7 passing tournament will hit New Canaan High School this weekend, with games on Friday and Saturday, July 6 and 7.

The field will include approximately 28 teams, with each guaranteed five games during pool play on Friday, and at least two more contests during the double elimination tournament on Saturday. Action starts at 1:30 p.m., Friday, and at 8 a.m., Saturday.

The field will feature nine FCIAC teams, including host New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, St. Joseph, Norwalk, Brien McMahon, Stamford, Trumbull and Ludlowe.

The tournament also employs New Canaan and Darien alumni to help run the games, adding to the local flavor.

The 7-on-7 format, which features only passing plays, is limited in its scope, but is helpful for the upcoming season as players work on timing, routes and, perhaps most importantly, team bonding.

“It’ll be a big help,” New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli said prior to a recent tournament. “It’s not football, but it gives you a chance to work on your offensive system and get the kids familiar with what they’re going to be doing when we meet in the fall.

“You’re running the same patterns that you’re going to be doing in a game in the fall. If you’re in a summer basketball league, you’re going to be shooting, dribbling and passing and doing all the things you’d do in a regular game. This is the same for us. It’s the closest you can come to a game and do all the things you’ll be doing when the fall comes.”

The Norwalk Bears score a touchdown against the New Milford Green Wave during last year’s Grip It & Rip It tournament at Dunning Field. — Dave Stewart photo

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