Football: Red Devils begin 7-on-7 season
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:58AM
The business of preparing for the upcoming football season began Saturday with Hinsdale Central’s visit to the Richards 7-on-7 passing tournament.
Summer camp started June 14 for the Red Devils, but after two days Hinsdale Central was ready for the nine-team 7-on-7 tournament at District 218 ADM Fields near Richards in Oak Lawn.
The Red Devils are set at quarterback with returning starter and senior Brian Owens, who took over full-time in Week 4 last season and led the Red Devils to the Class 8A playoffs in coach Rich Tarka’s first season. But for the first time at a 7-on-7 Saturday, Owens worked with backup quarterback Chase Hamilton, the starting quarterback from last year’s sophomore team. Hamilton is coming off a state championship in the spring as a doubles player for the boys tennis team.
“This is the first time they’ve played together vs. an opponent for a lot of them,” Owens said of the new juniors on the team. “The little things make a difference like changing routes and adjusting routes.”
When not quarterbacking, Hamilton was catching passes as a receiver with Owens passing.
Finding starting receivers is perhaps one of the biggest priorities for Tarka after the graduation of standouts Brad Anlauf and Tom Garvin. Hinsdale Central hopes to turn to Ian Bunting, Hamilton and John Claussen, according to Tarka. Bunting, a reserve on the boys basketball team with Hamilton, missed the Richards tournament to attend a football camp at Michigan State University.
For Tarka, Saturday’s 7-on-7 opener was a different feeling compared to a year ago when the Red Devils attended the Richards tournament just a few months after Tarka took over the program from Mike DiMatteo. Tarka grew up only a few blocks away from the ADM Fields and played at Richards.
Hinsdale Central’s first three games at the tournament were against Richards, Mount Carmel and Lemont.
“I feel like I have a lot more ownership than last year,” Tarka said. “The kids have bought into our offseason a lot. The seniors have acted like leaders.”
Richards was the first of four 7-on-7 sessions for the Red Devils this summer. Hinsdale Central will compete at the West Suburban Conference’s 7-on-7 at Addison Trail at 10 a.m. June 28, at Downers Grove South from 9 a.m. to noon July 7 and at Prospect at 6 p.m. July 19. The team will head to a four-day camp at Illinois Wesleyan from July 21-24 before taking the rest of the summer off. Preseason practice begins Aug. 8.
Owens, a starting guard from the basketball team, has focused on football this summer and has not attended summer workouts for basketball yet.
The basketball team competed in the 18th annual Stagg Shootout Saturday morning at the same time as the Richards tournament.