PASO ROBLES — While the Bearcats are currently the reigning champions of a disbanded league, they are still the current champs and have been showing it this summer even in the heat. This past weekend, with temperatures reaching into the hundreds, Paso Robles hosted three other high schools in a 7-on-7 passing tournament and lineman competition. The three other schools in attendance were North Bakersfield, Righetti
For those that are unfamiliar, a passing league tournament is essentially a bunch of organized two-hand touch football games that you might see at the park between friends. It is an opportunity for offenses and defenses to work on the little things in the passing game without linemen. Things like timing, route progression, route recognition and all the little things that are equally as important in a football game as is being the strongest or most physically overpowering.
There is very little contact or supposed to be but things often get chippy, and each offense will take their chance trying to pass their way down the field against the defense.
“For me, the most important part is just to get our guys competing,” Bearcats head football coach J.R. Reynolds said. “It gets kind of, for lack of a better word, boring for the kids every day going up against each other in practice and not getting an opportunity to go play someone else. So for us, it is really just a big competing factor.”
Paso has participated in three passing league tournaments this summer, one at El Diamante and one at Fresno State, and will have one more this weekend in Arroyo Grande before taking some time off for the Fourth of July.
The summers are also a great time to build depth and for athletes to have breakout performances with the increase in opportunities due to some of the main players having prior engagements. Bearcats receiver Levi Marshall has taken advantage of his opportunities and the coaches have taken notice.
“He [Marshall] kind of had a bit of a coming out party at the El Diamante passing tournament where he probably scored eight touchdowns in five games,” said Paso Robles head football coach J.R. Reynolds.
Bearcats starting quarterback Hunter Barnhart was unavailable for the Bearcats this past weekend, but Braden Waterman stepped in and played well. Paso won their first game and lost their next two in the qualifying rounds of the tournament and then beat North Bakersfield and Righetti back to back to win the competition.