- Feature Story
- Eric Richey
- July 06, 2017 - 11:25am
When you look around the St. Charles athletic fields, not much looks different about the Metro 7x7 League than any of the other summer 7x7 leagues taking place around the state. It's when you glance at the time and realize all of these games are all taking place before noon that it becomes clear that this league is different than others. And that's just the beginning.
"It's the only one of its kind," said St. Charles coach Frank Monica who has been running the league for the past 15 years. "It's the only league that I know of that meets at 9:30 in the morning and we do it because a lot of our kids play multiple sports. After 11 o'clock we turn them over to their other sport or they can go home and rest up a bit."
The league was formed in 2002 and has had as many as twelve teams and now play with eight. Teams play three games every Wednesday morning through a six-week run ending July 12th. Many teams like Jesuit, McDonogh 35, and Newman are mainstays and make the weekly trip to Laplace for a reason.
"Two things, the organization and the competition," said Newman coach Nelson Stewart. "You know you're going to have a battle every time and it's so organized. It really works well for smaller schools that have players that play (other sports) in the afternoon. We get our work done (here) in the morning. It's a grind but it's well worth it. It's a credit to coach Monica and his staff to put this on and they just get first-class programs out here."
The other major difference that sets the Metro 7x7 League hosted by St. Charles is the scoreboard. Or in this case, the lack of one.
"We don't keep score," said Monica. "The guys are there just to get good quality work and if you noticed we played the entire (90 minutes) and there was very little bickering between teams because they understand what the mission is about just getting better."
"Well first of all, everything coach Monica does is first-class," said Ponchatoula coach Hank Tierney. "You get a lot of reps, nobody is worried about the score. Everybody is just worried about working their kids and getting them better. It's just a good atmosphere for the kids to be in, everybody's coaching hard and everybody's playing hard."
By nature 7x7 leagues help the passing game, but playing against quality competition from around the area not only fine tunes the offense.
"What we love about the league is you get a chance to see so many offenses that try to attack you in so many different ways," said St. Charles defensive coordinator Wayne Stein. "It gives you an idea of who can and can't get it done prior to the season."
"The game is all relative," said coach Monica. "If they can't do it on 7x7, they can't do it on Friday night either. I want them to know our system well and compete. If you really know what you're doing you can go full speed. But if you don't know what you're doing, there's no speed there. That's so important for us, for our kids to know the concepts of the coverages and the concepts of our passing game."