The Junior Rebels took the bus in the opposite direction and earned first place the First Annual NEA 7-on-7 Throwdown at Brookland High School.
7-on-7 football allows coaches and players to work on pass offense and defense during the summer months leading up to the new season. For several years, Highland has travelled to Pocahontas on Thursday nights in July to play 7-on-7 in a scrimmage style setting against three other teams but, in the last two years, head coach Spencer Hill's teams have attended the tournament, as well.
In June, the senior Rebels went 5-0 against Melbourne, Mountain Home, Yellville-Summit, Highland JV and Mountain Home JV at Mountain Home's Bomber stadium to earn the trip to Gravette.
At Gravette, Highland beat the Gravette JV, 34-24. Avery Johnson, Austin Himschoot, Kyle Brison each took passes from Sterling Stowers in for scores.
The Rebels lost to the Gravette Varsity, 33-14, in the second game. The Lions repeated as champions of this tournament. Highland suffered from several dropped passes and three interceptions.
Brennon Severn had two touchdowns and Shawn Young returned a interception for a score to lead Rebs over Field Kindley High School of Coffeyville, KS, 25-20. The Golden Tornadoes scored late in the game to cut into Highland's lead.
In the final game, Highland rallied to beat Lincoln High School, 31-10. Down 10-9 at halftime, Michael Copeland scored twice, and Spenser Stowers intercepted a pass for a touchdown to hold the Wolves scoreless in the second half.
At Brookland, the Junior Rebs started the session with a 16-0 win over Greene County Tech, then held Brookland scoreless on their way to a 9-0 victory.
Highland held off Osceola, 16-14, and then beat Des Arc twice in the double elimination tournament. The Rebels won the first game 16-8 and 23-0 in the championship match.