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Tom Wofford brings his Meadowcreek (GA) squad to Collins Hill in preparation for its first season under his direction

A total of four former Collins Hill assistant coaches led their teams at the Eagles' 7-on-7 National Showcase; list includes Bluffton's (SC) Hayden Gregory, son of Collins Hill's Lenny Gregory

SUWANEE, GA – Only one team would win the 2022 Collins Hill National 7-on-7 Showcase.

That team turned out to be Colquitt County, which posted nine wins in the second-annual event Friday at Collins Hill High School to take the championship – their second 7-on-7 title in as many days after winning the Kirby Smart 7-on-7 Tournament on Thursday in Athens.

Of course, as nice as winning a summer 7-on-7 tournament is, especially one as high profile as Friday's event, it isn't the primary goal for any team that enters one.

Former Collins Hill assistant coach and current Meadowcreek head coach Tom Wofford.

Former Collins Hill assistant coach and current Meadowcreek head coach Tom Wofford.

That is especially true for a team with a new head coach and coaching staff trying still to acclimate and educate the players to new ways of doing things, as well as continuing to build chemistry and trust.

“We're still installing stuff from the spring, and they're still learning the system,” said Todd Wofford, who became Meadowcreek's new head coach in January, after the Mustangs went 3-3 in Friday's tournament. “They're getting it. … Both sides of the ball, they're learning a completely new scheme. Baby steps. We were 3-3 (Friday). Last year, they lost every game in this tournament. So that's three steps better than it was last year. As long as we keep progressing throughout the summer, it's about being ready in August.”

Progressing towards success is actually something familiar at Meadowcreek, which is in the midst of one of the most prolonged period of success in its history, with the Mustangs having qualified for the state playoffs three of the past five seasons.

Wofford is also familiar with on-field success, especially after serving as associate head coach and receivers coach at tournament-host Collins Hill when the Eagles rolled to the Class AAAAAAA state championship and a consensus top 10 national ranking last year.

And he is one of four former Eagles assistants to bring their teams back to their former home for Friday's tournament – including Archer's Dante Williams, Social Circle's Rob Patton and Bluffton's (S.C.) Hayden Gregory, the son of current Collins Hill coach Lenny Gregory.

And while a 7-on-7 tournaments are only a small part of preparing for a long, grueling high school football season, one thing that those former Collins Hill assistant coaches know they can do is instill an understanding of the level of competition it takes to build success.

It can be important even for a program like Archer, which has had plenty of success by qualifying for the state playoffs 10 of the past 11 seasons, and the last nine straight seasons, including one trip each to the state finals and semifinals and three more to the state quarterfinals, before coach Andy Dyer left after last season to become assistant head coach at Elbert County.

“Listen, you can't be as competitive as Coach Dyer was for 13 years (when he started the program in 2009),” said Williams, who was Collins Hill's offensive coordinator before accepting the Archer job in February 3, and whose Tigers went 6-2 and advanced to the semifinals of Friday's tournament. “The foundational things are in play. I come from championship pedigree, obviously, and those things don't change. … So that part, I was really spoiled in just taking over a foundationally-sound team and just putting my twist on things. The kids have been really receptive, excited, and I couldn't be more proud of them.”