MAHONE: Passing tournament provide Lovejoy and Jonesboro chance to compete

Derrick Mahone

Derrick Mahone

The e-mail arrived a little after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and that helped reiterate that football season is about to start.

In two weeks, Clayton County will hold its annual football media day at Southern Crescent Stadium, which typically happens a week before teams are allowed to start practice.

It won’t be long now before the lights will start to come on in local high school football stadiums.

But before the preseason practices start, several teams have to make their final appearances in an elite national tournament qualifier.

Jonesboro and Lovejoy will get in one final tournament in preparation for the start of practice. The teams will make the trek to Marietta’s Lassiter High for the Georgia Qualifier for the National Select 7-on-7 Championships.

The winner from this 30-team tournament will advance to the national championship next week at Hoover High in Alabama. Among this weekend’s participants is Hoover, a powerhouse program in the suburbs of Birmingham. Other teams scheduled to participate is Mays, Alpharetta, Chattahoochee, North Cobb, Shiloh, Kell, Lassiter, North Paulding and Hillgrove.

“There is a good variety of team competing, which is good for your kids,” Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd said.

The ultimate goal is to win and advance, but coaches are looking for some other intangibles this week.

“We want our guys to compete,” Lovejoy first-year coach Edgar Carson said. “You are looking for them to be focus and continue to progress as we get ready to start practice for the season.”

A large number of the teams are in the state’s two highest classifications, and reached the playoffs. Several of the state’s top college prospects will be on display.

One of those prospects is North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen, who has committed to Auburn. The senior committed to the SEC school last July.

To show how players enjoy and look forward to these types of competition, Carson was informed on Tuesday that standout wide receiver Preston Williams will compete.

He was expected to miss the two-day tournament after participating in The Opening this week in Oregon with 162 of the nation’s top prospects. Williams will arrive early Friday morning from a cross country flight from the far West to be with his Lovejoy teammates.

“That shows the type of dedication that Preston has for the team,” Carson said.

As both Jonesboro and Lovejoy look towards the season, the players and coaches are looking to set a positive tone with a good showing this weekend.

Both teams are expected to be playoff contenders.

Lovejoy has won four straight region championships while Jonesboro is looking to get into the postseason this year.

Each team boost a large collection of major college prospects.

While winning this tournament is not prerequisite to having a good season, but will definitely help is setting a positive tone.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_