Dixie Hollins hasn't been a regular participant in 7-on-7 tournaments the past few years, but expect the Rebels to be more visible on this summer's circuit as the sport continues to reap benefits.
Especially when trying to build a winning attitude and decide between quarterbacks.
The Rebels competed Saturday in the 7on7U Florida Shootout in Plant City, and turned a few heads by posting victories over Tampa Freedom and an all-star squad called Next Level.
But Shannon Brooks, the Rebels' offensive coordinator, wasn't so much looking for wins as he was hoping to build a winning attitude for the fall.
"What I wanted to do was give our kids more chances to compete,'' said Brooks, going into his second season calling the offense for Dixie Hollins. "We put them in competitive scenarios in practice, but it's not the same. There's nothing like going against someone else to get the juices going. You can't replicate that competitive aspect.''
Brooks said wide receiver Melvin Love had a big day catching most of the Rebels' touchdowns, Ladarian Houston was "phenomenal" at tight end, and running backs Demondre Lambert and Kabriel Jackson (who lined up in the slot, mostly) were exceptional catching balls out of the backfield.
Brooks was most interested, however, in the performance of two quarterbacks: Drew Boylson and rising sophomore Tyrie Adams, whom Brooks said looks like he has grown 3 inches since the spring game.
Both had their moments Saturday, though neither was able to gain a foothold on the starting position, a battle that has been waged since the beginning of spring practice.
"They are dead even,'' Brooks said. "One week we're thinking one way, and the next week were thinking the other day. We'll need the entire summer to figure this out.''
Brooks said the Rebels also plan on competing in the Marcus Paschal Youth Weekend 7-on-7 tournament at Largo on July 13.
"This was our first crack it in a while,'' Brooks said. "The kids enjoyed themselves."
Photo: Melvin Love