My First Annual 7on7 National Championship to The 2012 Gridiron Kings!Gridiron Kings Super Elite Top 22 All-Americans are Coming!
Super Scout Max Emfinger
In 1993, I was coaching my son, Eric, in Little League Baseball. We won our Little League Championship and then the Quail Valley All-Star Baseball Team made it all the way to Waco for the Texas Little League State Tournament.
We played the Spring Little League All-Stars in a couple of practice games before we went to Waco and I was very impressed with one of their pitchers and his name was B.J. Symons. Now Remember: Eric and B.J. were both 12-year old baseball players in 1993.
Then, the next year in 1994, when they were 13-year olds, I put together a Super Select Baseball Team and one of the first players that I wanted to get to play on our team was B.J. Symons and so I called Randall Symons to see if I could get his son on my team. Coach Symons was excited for his son and he said that his son would love to play on such a great Super Select Baseball Team.
The only problem was that one of my old coaching friends, Coach Les Koenning, Sr, was starting a new 7on7 Summer Passing League in Houston, Texas and a Quarterback named B.J. Symons was just coming out of Middle School and he was going to be playing High School Football for Coach Koenning at Cypress Creek and he wanted Symons in the 7on7 Summer Passing League.
The point is that for the next four years, Symons was involved in the 7on7 Passing League every summer and although Symons was always on our tournament roster, he was never able to play in any of our games. Symons was sitting on our bench in at least one Baseball State Championship Tournament, but he had just finished playing in a 7on7 Summer Weekend Passing Tournament and he was their Super Star Quarterback, so we understood exactly what was going on in this new Summer Sport in Houston called The Summer 7on7 Passing League.
A few years later in 2001, I went to an LSU Spring Football Camp to evaluate some really great football players from all around the country who had flown to Baton Rouge to be seen at this LSU Super NIKE Camp. Then at the end of the day on the Final Day, the LSU Coaches lined-up seven players on Offense and Seven players on Defense.
Then these 7on7 players started playing a game. This type 7on7 game was not new, because my good friend Les Koenning, Sr had already invented it back in Houston. And yes! B.J. Symons was a Passing Freak as a senior for Coach Koenning and he signed with Coach Mike Leach and Texas Tech.
After the LSU Camp, I decided to host a 7on7 National Championsip and I then spent the rest of 2001 trying to get some sponsors for that first big event. I wanted to host my first 7on7 National Championship in 2002, but I could not find any sponsors and so I decided to work to get sponsors and host the first 7on7 National Championship in 2003.
In 2002, I was able to get a couple minor sponsors and so in 2003, I started working on the Max Emfinger’s First Annual 7on7 National Championship. Even if I didn’t get enough sponsors, I was still going to take on the project whether I had enough sponsors or not, but then I got sick. I had a collapsed lung and after two major lung surgeries to overcome, I found myself on the critical intensive care ward in a New Orleans hospital.
On April 15, 2003, my 31st wedding anniversary, I stayed on that critical intensive care ward for six days. While I was on that ward, at University Hospital in New Orleans, six of eight patients died on my ward. “A lot of people were praying for me to make it and although I had some critical moments, I knew that I had some major things to do for these kids before I was going to be called up.”
There was a prayer group of ladies in Plaquemine, Louisiana, the home of my Late Mother-in-Law, and they held a prayer vigil every day and night for me and those prayers helped save my life.
One night, while I was still on the critical intensive care ward, I was burning-up, as I found out that my temperature was around 105. Prayers were answered again when a young Polynesian nurse came into my room and cooled me down with ice and cold water towels. This nurse probably saved my life.
On May 18, 2003, about a month after my last lung operation, I was having a lot of pain in my back where I had my lung surgery and a 17-inch incision that was still trying to heal. Some days, it hurt so bad, I could not get up out of bed, so my wife, Ginger, and I decided that it was time to go back to New Orleans to see a Doctor.
After waiting for many hours in the emergency room, a patient of Polynesian Descent came out of a Doctor’s office and walked right past Ginger and me. “I don’t know why I came here to the Doctor’s office today, because the Doctor didn’t help me one single bit,” said the lady.
“You are here today for a reason,” I told the Polynesian lady as she walked out of the waiting room and out of the hospital.
After about a minute, I felt a light tap on my shoulder and I heard someone softly say, “She’s here for you!”
After it registered to me that this was a “Devine-Intervention” sent from Heaven, I jumped up and although I was still hurting, I managed to chase the Polynesian lady down the street until I caught-up with her.
As the two strangers met down the street, we held hands and we said a prayer together. The lady then pulled out a Father Francis Xavier Seelos Prayer for a Miracle Card and gave it to me. I have said this Father Seelos Prayer for a Miracle almost every single day until the present.
In 2003, I hosted my First Annual 7on7 National Championship; and I also hosted a 7on7 National Championship in 2004, 2005, and 2006. My main goal was to get all of these great athletes to come to an event where my coaches and I can evaluate them and then help them with the college coaches.
Former Alabama Quarterback Greg McElroy was one of our Tournament MVP’s in The 2005 Third Annual Max Emfinger’s 7on7 National Championship. McElroy became the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide football team as a junior and led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated 14–0 season, which included the 2009 SEC Championship and 2009 BCS National Championship.
But if you remember! McElroy never started a high school football game until his senior season at Southlake Carroll. McElroy played behind Chase Daniel for two years and he did not have a single offer when he came to the 2005 Third Annual Max Emfinger’s 7on7 National Championship, but he was outstanding as he led his Southlake Carroll team to the Championship Game against Shreveport Evangel. Evangel edged them in the Championship, but McElroy helped his Southlake Carroll team to a 16-0 record and the Texas 5A State Championship.
The only drawback was that the college coaches wanted to see these hidden gems in a game-type highlight film and so many of the college coaches suggested that I host a real game or an All-American Bowl Game so that that they could view the talented players in a highlight film, playing against other talented players. It must be noted that the NCAA still doesn’t allow the college coaches to attend these early All-American Bowl Games and so the Game Film is always of great importance to these college coaches.
Oh Yeah! In 2003, Symons was the heir-apparent to the Texas Tech quarterback position that was vacated by NCAA record-setter Kliff Kingsbury and he surpassed his teacher, Kingsbury, by breaking all of his Texas Tech, Big-12, and NCAA season records.
After 17 games as a backup to Kingsbury, Symons won the Sammy Baugh Award, given annually to the nation’s top passer as he broke the NCAA single season passing records for yards passing at 5,833-yards; most games with 400-yards in total offense with nine; most yards in total offense with 5,976-yards; most yards in total offense over a three-game span with 1,799-yards; and also a four-game span with 2,328-yards.
Symons also had the most yards passing over a four-game span with 2,239-yards; most touchdown passes with 52; most yards passing per game with a 448.69-yards per game average; and most yards in total offense per game with a 459.69-yards per game average.
Symons also finished fifth on the Texas Tech career-record list with 6,378-yards passing as he completed 529 of 822 attempts, with a great 64.4% average and 59 touchdowns. This is pretty incredible since Symons only started one season. Only Kliff Kingsbury, with 95 touchdowns from 1999-2002, had more touchdown passes in school history. Symons also finished fourth in total offense with 6,586 yards in total offense, which was the fourth-best figure in Texas Tech history.
So it can easily be said that all of the early 7on7 Summer Weekend Tournaments might have helped Symons to be the great quarterback that he became.
I believe that you would agree with me that the National 7on7 Tourney Phenomenon has really become a Spectacular Event. With the New Level National 7on7 Championship in New York City; The First Annual Rivals100 Five Star Challenge at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia; The NIKE Opening in Beaverton, Oregon; and The Gridiron Kings 7on7 National Championship at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Florida; these huge Events have really taken the recruiting world with a frenzy.
Read more about The Five Star Challenge: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/highschool/06/25/five-star-all-challenge-team-recruiting/index.html#ixzz23v3mujR3
The Gridiron Kings National 7on7 Championship Tourney had Four Regional Teams that competed and each team was a Super Select 7on7 Team, just like my 1994 Super Select Baseball Team. Incidently, my Super Select Baseball Teams in 1994, 1995, and 1996 qualified for 10 Age Group Baseball World Series and we went to three World Series in three years. It was the Best of the Best, just like the 7on7 National Championships have the Best of the Best competing against each other.
The Gridiron Kings were televised live on ESPN3 and then they had reruns so every college coach in American could evaluate this great array of talented athletes.
My Gridiron Kings Super Elite Top 25 All-Americans will be released on Monday August 27, so please check back. I’ve already done seven stories on seven of them, including TE O.J. Howard, WR Tony Stevens, WR LaQuon Treadwell, and WR Jake Oliver and AP’s Taquan Mizzell, Ryan Green, and Alvin Kamara.