CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The official start of high school football practice may still be two weeks away, but several prep programs have already been able to get a jump start on their preseason work.
Sixteen teams flocked to Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, and nearly three dozen more converged on Dalton for increasingly popular 7-on-7 passing camps on Saturday.
Bradley Central finished runner-up to Carrollton in UTC's event at Finley Stadium. The Bears were one of six local programs in the field, which also included some power programs from Georgia and Alabama.
The scrimmages are done without pads, tackling and offensive and defensive lines, but they provide important organized access to players before preseason practice starts.
"We just came off the dead period and then had rain all week," said Bradley Central head coach Damon Floyd. "We didn't have a whole lot of stuff in because we haven't been throwing and catching enough, but guys are out here challenging each other for roles and we're building some depth."
Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman and his coaching staff were on hand for the event. They're not as interested in the extra practice time for prep programs as they are for the extra chance to see some potential recruits up close.
"Everything is about recruiting these days, so you try to get an extra evaluation that's legal within the summer months," said Mocs' offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield. "To get 16 teams from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama out here is huge for us to get our name out and get kids on campus."
And while there's no contact, pass rushes or pads, Satterfield said college coaches can still take a lot from the scrimmages.
"Just football IQ. Throwing, catching, understanding the game," he said. "You can learn a lot about a kid in a game-like atmosphere, especially about what he can do with the ball in space."
Red Bank, Hixson, North Murray and Soddy-Daisy were among the other local teams in the 16-team field at UTC.
The top eight teams from the morning session played in the championship bracket at Finley Stadium in the afternoon, while the other teams traveled to Baylor for consolation play.
North Murray and Bradley Central were the only two local teams to make the top-eight field at Finley. The Bears beat the Mountaineers and Sequoyah to earn a date with Carrollton in the championship game.
"We came out here to see our kids compete," said Floyd, whose team was led by three-year starter Bryce Copeland at quarterback. "Obviously bad things are going to happen right now and people are going to make mistakes, but I want to see who responds to those mistakes and finds a way to overcome that adversity.
"All in all it was a pretty good day."