7-on-7 football grows in popularity in Wisconsin: “I love the the competitiveness and the energy”

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BROOKFIELD -- The Green Bay Packers season ended Sunday, January 22nd with a 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, and high school football has been over since November, but there's another type of football that's just getting underway! The fast-paced version of the game is growing in popularity in Wisconsin.

It's football with a slight variation to the game you're used to.

It's 7-on-7 football, which means the elimination of linemen, and the addition of excitement. It appears more young people in Wisconsin are getting involved.

7-on-7 football

7-on-7 football

"I believe we have anywhere from 75 to 80 kids out today," Shane Covington said.

Shane Covington

Shane Covington

Coach Covington started Wisconsin's 7-on-7 team in 2016, with a lot of success. His team, "The Show," made it all the way to nationals in Florida!

At tryouts this year, Covington's expectations were even higher.

"Definitely a good group of guys, but we needed more speed. We went down there to IMG where a lot of those southern guys, Florida, Tennessee, they were kind of like, out ran us a lot, so definitely this year, that's our point of emphasis," Covington said.

Covington reached out to some of the best high school players across the state, including Catholic Memorial's Max Cooper.

Max Cooper

Max Cooper

"Coach Covington actually contacted me about a couple of weeks ago, asking me to come out and play after he watched my season and must have been impressed by it and I guess he needed a couple of receivers, so he just asked me," Cooper said.

Recruiting wasn't only done by Covington.

Some of the players from last season went to work to get guys in this year. That's how Lawrence Johnson arrived.

Lawrence Johnson

Lawrence Johnson

"I heard that if I wanted to get my hands right and to get a better opportunity to expand my football career outside of high school, 7-on-7 was a really good way of doing that. I reached out to my friend Terrell and he talked to me about it and he said it's going to be good for me," Johnson said, a running back from Waunakee said.

Terell Carey

Terell Carey

Madison West's Terell Carey reached out to others because of the experience he had playing for "The Show."

"Just coming back and doing this, it's really a lot of fun and I had an amazing time last year," Carey said.

Carey's endorsement came from his passion, but also from his improvement on the field.

7-on-7 football

7-on-7 football

"The route running that helped a lot, hand-eye coordination that helped me out big time and timing my balls for jumping," Carey said.

While 11-on-11 football is where the players will make their mark in the future, it's the 7-on-7 experience that's enhancing their chances.

7-on-7 football

7-on-7 football

"7-on-7 is really fun because it's very high-action. It's not just pound the ball, pound the ball. You always know the ball is going to be thrown, so on the defense, it always puts a lot of pressure on them," Johnson said.

"I love the the competitiveness and the energy that this team brings. Everyone is getting excited when people are breaking ankles and blowing by people, so that's what really intrigues me," Cooper said.

7-on-7 football

7-on-7 football

The bottom line -- it's another way to keep playing a game they love, especially after another season comes to an end.

"Just having fun. That's the most important thing. Just having fun with it," Carey said.

7-on-7 football

7-on-7 football

Because so many kids tried out, Coach Covington is planning on first having a camp in late March with about 50 players, to take a closer look at them. He'll then cut the tam down to 30 for the season which begins in April.