HUDSON — Spring 7-on-7 football passing leagues in Pasco County have been attempted in the past, but this time it seems to be here to stay thanks to Pasco County Parks and Recreation.
Former Hudson High players Robbie Mahler and Tommy Diorio helped put together the inaugural 7-on-7 Spring Passing League, which plays games at Hudson’s Veterans Memorial Park and Zephyrhills’ Samuel W. Pasco Athletic Complex. Eight of the 13 Pasco County public schools are participating, and Mahler believes the league is helpful to coaches and players.
“The coaches love it,’’ Mahler said. “It’s a six-week long, 24-game league, and each team plays four games a night. It’s a little difficult for me since I help run the league, but I can’t really help Hudson as their offensive coordinator. We try to make it fun out there for the kids and it helps each school heading into spring football.”
Among the schools participating in the league are Hudson, Fivay, Land O’ Lakes, Mitchell, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills. Cost was $300 per team to enter the league, which helps cover expenses from rental of the fields to officials.
The league provides another training ground for players heading into spring football, which officially begins May 1, and many coaches have seen the benefits, including Ridgewood’s Jay Fulmer.
“I think it’s great from the perspective of route-running and secondary angles and leverage,” Fulmer said. “Quarterback timing really can’t be obtained until the pads go on, but it has provided a great opportunity for them to throw and improve their arm strength and knowledge of their receivers. The teams playing in the league have been first class.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.