Clarke Central quarterback Jack Mangel talks with a teammate during Athens Academy’s 7-on-7 tournament on June 6, 2017. (Matthew Caldwell/The Oconee Leader)
Clarke Central did well in 7-on-7 play last year.
But this year, the Gladiators’ second under coach David Perno, has been even better.
Clarke Central won the Airo 7v7 state title Thursday. The Gladiators also won the tournament at Athens Academy and performed well at Georgia, Perno said.
“We’re comfortable,” Perno said. “Really good QB, Jack (Mangel) is doing a great job and getting comfortable with the receivers and our defense is playing good.”
“He’s able to build the relationship and get the timing down and we’ve been able to develop,” Perno said. “I feel like we can go 12 deep at receiver with guys that can do stuff with e ball after they catch it.”
The June 7-on-7 cycle also gave them a chance to build depth in the secondary, which lost South Carolina signee Zay Brown.
The win at the Airo 7v7 Thursday earned Clarke Central a spot in the national championship in Canton, Ohio. Perno said they were still deciding if they’d make the trip.
Just earning the spot showed them what they needed to know.
“It ended up being the longest day of the summer for us,” Perno said. “We made great strides. We accomplished what we needed to accomplish.”
Clarke Central will play in the FCA 7-on-7 tournament at Athens Christian Thursday. It’s the last 7-on-7 outing for Clarke Central before the Georgia High School Association’s dead week starts on July 2.
“It’s obviously not football but it’s what we’ve got right now,” Perno said. “We’ve got to learn to win and compete and play together and our kids are doing a great job of that every time".