Are you ready for some football?

If you just can’t wait for fall and you need that football fix right now, take the family over to Blythewood High School Saturday for the second annual 7-on-7 Football Tournament, starting at 9 a.m. and featuring teams from 24 high schools from across the state.

What is 7-on-7 football?

Bengals head coach Reggie Kennedy explained that the game is similar to flag football, but that it is strictly a passing affair, set up on a 40-yard field. The only down lineman on the field will be the center, whose only chore will be to snap the ball to the quarterback. The rest of the offense is composed entirely of skilled players – backs and receivers – and everyone is going out for the pass on every down. The offense has four downs in which to reach the 20-yard line, then another four downs to get the ball into the end zone, which earns them 7 points.

The defense comprises linebackers and defensive backs, and to make things even more interesting, the defense can also put points on the board – 3 points for an interception and 2 points if they stop the offense on downs.

“This is really an opportunity for teams to work on their passing game and their pass defense,” Kennedy said. “Each team will get about 1,000 reps during the course of the day.”

Linemen won’t be relegated to the sidelines this year, as the tournament also features its first Lineman Challenge. Kennedy said 15 schools are sending approximately two teams each to participate in the eight events that make up the grueling exercises in store for the big boys. The events are designed to test the linemen’s strength, quickness and speed, beginning on the bench press where teams will push 185-pounds off their chests as many times as they can. Teams will then be asked to push a full-sized pickup truck 25 yards against the clock, and will also participate in a 25-yard relay carrying 60-pound dumbbells in an event known as the “Farmer’s Walk.”

Linemen will also test their skills in a 1-minute tug-of-war, and will load five 50-pound sandbags into a pickup truck parked 25-yards away. An obstacle course and a 60-pound medicine ball also await some of the best down linemen in the state.

Kennedy said he expects nearly 1,000 athletes in this year’s event from schools such as Greenville, Broome, Darlington, Lexington, Conway, Rock Hill and more, including last year’s tournament champion, Wren High School.

It is an event not to be missed, even by the most casual high school football fan.

Admission is $5.