The fall football season is less than two months away, but for many fans, it’s not soon enough.
Those who are ready for some football can get a taste of the upcoming high school season when New Canaan High School hosts the 11th annual Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 tournament this weekend.
The two-day competition will feature 16 teams, including seven FCIAC squads, with pool play games on Friday and a double elimination bracket on Saturday.
The HAN Network will be there on both days, with interviews of coaches and players, and live coverage of the championship game.
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 last year’s 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.”
Greenwich head coach John Marinelli, the event’s director and a former assistant coach and quarterback for the New Canaan Rams, echoed those sentiments during the HAN Network’s Nutmeg Sports show last Wednesday.
“This is as real as it’s going to get until you put pads on,” he said. “There’s no way to simulate the different kinds of looks and all the different defenses and offenses you could possible see.
“What you’re really going for is seeing how kids, young kids, can fight through adversity, when they’re winning or losing, and how their teammates talk to each other. You’re going to find your leaders, you’re going to find the kids who kind of want to hide under a rock, and you find out everything you need to know about your players.”
The teams include seven from the FCIAC: New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Ludlowe, Stamford, Norwalk and St. Joseph; five more from Connecticut: Windsor, Hall, Daniel Hand, New Milford and Brunswick; and four from out of state: Sleepy Hollow, Iona Prep, Stepinac, and Shenendehowa.
All games will be played at Dunning Field, which will be split into two 40-yard fields. No running plays are allowed and quarterbacks have four seconds to throw the ball before the play is blown dead.
Games will be 20 minutes in length, with offensive points awarded for touchdowns (6), and PATs. For PATs, one point will be awarded for successful passes from the five-yard line, and two points for successful passes from the 10-yard line. Defensive points are awarded for interceptions (3), and forced turnovers on downs (2).
11th Annual Grip It and Rip It Football Tournament groups
Group A: St. Joseph, New Milford, Sleepy Hollow and Iona Prep
Group B: New Canaan, Norwalk, Daniel Hand and Brunswick
Group C: Darien, Windsor, Hall and Stepinac
Group D: Greenwich, Stamford, Ludlowe and Shenendehowa
Friday’s Pool Play Schedule
All Games are 20 minutes; All teams play 5 games
St. Joseph vs. Sleepy Hollow; Iona Prep vs. New Milford, 1:30 p.m.
St. Joseph vs. Iona Prep; Sleepy Hollow vs. New Milford, 1:50 p.m.
New Canaan vs. Daniel Hand; Norwalk vs. Brunswick, 2:10 p.m.
St. Joseph vs. New Milford; Sleepy Hollow vs. Iona Prep, 2:30 p.m.
New Canaan vs. St. Joseph; Daniel Hand vs. Sleepy Hollow, 2:50 p.m.
Norwalk vs. Iona Prep; Brunswick vs. New Milford, 3:10 p.m.
New Canaan vs. Sleepy Hollow; Daniel Hand vs. St. Joseph, 3:30 p.m.
Norwalk vs. New Milford; Brunswick vs. Iona Prep, 3:50 p.m.
New Canaan vs. Norwalk; Daniel Hand vs. Brunswick, 4:10 p.m.
New Canaan vs. Brunswick; Daniel Hand vs. Norwalk, 4:30 p.m.
Darien vs. Hall; Stepinac vs. Windsor, 4:50 p.m.
Darien vs. Stepinac; Hall vs. Windsor, 5:10 p.m.
Greenwich vs. Shenendehowa; Stamford vs. Ludlowe, 5:30 p.m.
Darien vs. Windsor; Hall vs. Stepinac, 5:50 p.m.
Greenwich vs. Darien; Shenendehowa vs. Hall, 6:10 p.m.
Stamford vs. Stepinac; Ludlowe vs. Windsor, 6:30 p.m.
Greenwich vs. Hall; Shenendehowa vs. Darien, 6:50 p.m.
Stamford vs. Windsor; Ludlowe vs. Stepinac, 7:10 p.m.
Greenwich vs. Stamford; Shenendehowa vs. Ludlowe, 7:30 p.m.
Greenwich vs. Ludlowe; Shenendehowa vs. Stamford, 7:50 p.m.
Saturday’s Bracket Schedule
Bracket play begins for seeds No. 9-16, 8:30 a.m.
Bracket play begins for seeds No. 1-8, 10:30 a.m.