Football: Legacy makes most of NFL 7-on-7 national finals

For Legacy and football coach Wayne Voorhees, the football season can’t get here fast enough.

The Lightning have had a summer head start on the rest of the state, having played won the Broncos annual 7-on-7 competition and qualifying for the national tournament this past week at the Colts’ facility in Indianapolis.

“We had a great time and I think our kids learned a lot, and really that is what it is all about,” Voorhees said. “A lot of great competition and the speed of the game definitely increased and we played hard.”

The Lightning played seven pool play games against teams representing cities in the AFC West (Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers) and the NFC West (Seahawks, Rams, 49ers and Cardinals), going 1-7 before moving into the seeded bracket.

Voorhees and Co.’s lone win came against the Raiders, something he knows on any level will make Broncos fans very happy.

“Of all the wins we could have had,” Voorhees said, “that is the one we wanted.”

Upon their arrival in Indianapolis, the Lightning transportation partner that day was the Seattle representative. Irony? We think not.

“The guy called and said ‘You guys are waiting for the Seahawks,” Voorhees recalled. “And I said ‘Is there supposed to be some bad blood because of the Super Bowl?'”

In the division playoff game, Voorhees’ team again played the Chargers and, in a tight one-score game, lost and were eliminated from the tournament. They did stick around and watched the final, which saw the Miami Dolphins representative (from national powerhouse Booker T. Washington High) beat the Carolina Panthers.

For Voorhees, the experience was unforgettable and while winning a few more games would have been nice, the experience gained against the national talent cannot be measured.

“It comes down to the way you pick your 12 kids. You talk to different coaches and you talk to different groups and we took out best football team. We took linebackers and every else and then there were other teams that would take pretty much all defensive backs,” Voorhees said. “So structuring your team, we were hoping we had the best team we could field, but we could have also taken a bunch of skill guys instead of linebackers honestly. But we felt like this was the best group of kids we could take and that was a big deal for us.”

Voorhees hopes to mirror the success that Fairview had last season when the Knights won the Broncos tournament and eventually went on to make it to the Class 5A state title game against Valor Christian.

“We know we are going to balance the run in there as well, no question, but our kids feel pretty good about things coming into the season,” Voorhees said. “There are a lot of positives. We have a great senior group as far as leadership — not huge, but great in terms of leadership — which has taken us a long way.

“We’ve got a good mix of juniors and seniors as well as a few sophomores that will be in the mix and we are real excited to see what we are capable of doing. We had a good showing against Mullen in our scrimmage and we’ve had a great group of kids bust their tails for the last nine months and we are eager to get this season going.”

The first official day of practice for football in the state is Aug. 11 and the Lightning’s first game will be on Friday night Aug. 29 at Broomfield.

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