After not participating in the padded camp at the University of Tulsa, Derby football got its first look at the 2019-20 season at the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase.
Hosted by Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Ark., the Panthers (8-6) were one of 25 teams to participate in the two-day tournament. They were one of the final eight schools remaining against a field that included teams from six states.
Derby began the weekend with a 4-4 record on the first day of the event, but won four of its six games in bracket play. That included wins over perennial Oklahoma powers, Jenks, 20-16, and Owasso, 26-15.
Having not played any other schools yet this summer, the weekend trip offered Derby its first game action against an outside opponent.
Clark said there was a little rust to shake off on Friday, but saw his team make improvements through its 14-game slate.
“It took us a little bit of time to get going, but once the kids found a rhythm they competed really well,” coach Brandon Clark said. “I was super happy with how they competed.”
Derby played some of the region’s best teams in Springdale. Its consolation game against Jenks put it up against the No. 2 team in the final MaxPreps.com Oklahoma state rankings. Bixby sat at No. 3, Owasso finished the year No. 8, Stillwater at No. 9 and Lincoln Christian at No. 15. In Arkansas, Fayetteville finished at No. 4, Fort Smith Northside at No. 8 and Bentonville at No. 15.
“It’s really cool watching our kids not back down to anybody,” Clark said. “Some of these schools have tremendous athletes and they’re really well-coached. There wasn’t a game that our kids stepped on the field that they didn’t think they’d win the game.”
It was another feather in the cap of a very experienced Derby offense. It will return four wide receivers (Aaron Larson, Cavion Walker, Davin Simms and Jacob Karsak) with significant varsity experience. Starting running back Tre Washington will also rejoin quarterback Grant Adler in the backfield.
“We’re sitting there with the same offense that we had last year,” Clark said. “They’re a lot better than what we were last year [at this time]. It shows how much we’ve grown and we’re going to continue to through the rest of the summer and into the fall.”
ELITE SOUTHWEST 7-ON-7 RESULTS (Springdale, Ark.)
Lincoln Christian (Okla.) 33, Derby 18
Derby 28, Gibson Southern (Ind.) 20
Derby 24, Fort Smith Northside (Ark.) 17
Bixby (Okla.) 29, Derby 9
Derby 28, Har-Ber JV (Ark.) 12
Owasso (Okla.) 23, Derby 22
Derby 27, Springdale (Ark.) 9
Stillwater (Okla.) 30, Derby 7
Derby 44, Siloam Springs (Ark.) 3
Bentonville (Ark.) 20, Derby 11
Derby 20, Jenks (Okla.) 16
Derby 25, Shiloh Christian (Ark.) 11
Derby 26, Owasso (Okla.) 15
Fayetteville (Ark.) 17, Derby 8
Final consolation games
Glendale (Mo.) 31, Fort Smith Northside (Ark.) 6
Fayetteville (Ark.) 17, Derby 8
Har-Ber (Ark.) 34, Glendale (Mo.) 13
Bentonville (Ark.) 29, Fayetteville (Ark.) 20
Har-Ber (Ark.) 21, Bentonville (Ark.) 20
Har-Ber (Ark.) 30, Broken Arrow (Okla.) 13
Broken Arrow (Okla.) 18, Har-Ber (Ark.) 17
Bixby (Okla.) 23, Bentonville (Ark.) 11
Bixby (Okla.) 20, Broken Arrow (Okla.) 4
CHAMPIONSHIP: Har-Ber (Ark.) 22, Bixby (Okla.) 19