Lassiter will host the state's biggest 7-on-7 tournament Friday and Saturday. In last year's tourney, a field of the state's top teams were able to end the Trojans' bid for a three-peat. Since Lassiter quarterback Eddie Printz assumed the role of Trojans' starting quarterback, the Trojans were nearly unstoppable in their home tournament. Printz has graduated and moved on to the University of Missouri, and focus will be shifted to new quarterback Will Anderson. The former Wesleyan Wolf transferred to Lassiter for his senior season.
When North Gwinnett hosted the first of Georgia's two summer qualifiers this past June, Anderson and the Trojans received an early exit. After beating North Gwinnett in a 34-8 rout, they were handed a 30-14 defeat from Alpharetta, and shortly after, fell to Olive Branch (Miss.) and Grayson.
The event qualifies the host and winner for the national 7-on-7 tournament in Hoover, Ala., next weekend. Three of this weekend's participants have already earned a place in Hoover, including Lassiter, which makes it in as a qualifier host. North Gwinnett got a bid from hosting last month, and North Cobb will return to Hoover based on its performance in last year's 7-on-7s.
The tournament has been to 10 different cities in between its Georgia stops, and playing for the prestigious National Select 7-on-7 Championship will crown someone as the nation's top team.
Hoover has typically been the most noteworthy out-of-state team to play in the Lassiter Invitational, and ended up beating North Cobb in the championship game to cap a perfect 10-0 record for the tournament last year. Hoover will not be in this weekend's qualifier and Eastside out of South Carolina will be the lone out of state school.
Pool play on Friday determines seeding for a double elimination bracket on Saturday. For the first time, the field extended extend the tournament from 24 teams to 32 this year. Lassiter's neighbor, Kell, will help host the event.
Centennial had a great run last month at the North Gwinnett qualifier and will be a dangerous team this weekend. The Knights finished 5-1 in pool play and had a long run at North Gwinnett. The Knights beat the host Bulldogs 18-13 in the first round and then topped Lassiter 24-15. Mississippi-powerhouse Olive Branch handed them a 34-22 loss in the third round, but Centennial escaped the losers bracket with consecutive wins over GAC and Grayson 16-8.
More than half the field were playoff teams last year and this will likely be the summer's most competitive 7-on-7. Teams have already competed in several tournaments this summer, but this is the last chance to take home a summer trophy and build momentum heading into two-a-days.
Cartersville, Centennial, Duluth, Jonesboro, Lassiter-A, North Gwinnett-B, North Paulding, Shiloh
Dutchtown, Flowery Branch, Kell, Lassiter-B, Mays, North Gwinnett-A, Northview, Walton
Eagle's Landing, Hillgrove-A, Jefferson, Lovejoy-B, Glenn Hills, South Forsyth, Shaw, Wheeler
Alpharetta, Cherokee, Eastside-SC, Jackson County, Hillgrove-B, North Cobb, Rabun County, Lovejoy-A