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July 9, 2008Coppell heads to the FSN Southwest State 7-on-7 Tournament this week with high hopes - and a coach with three Super Bowl rings.
Dallas Cowboys assistant Dave Campo will coach his son Michael and the Coppell Cowboys in the 64-team tournament at Texas A&M. Coppell qualified for the Division I tournament for Class 5A and 4A that is Friday and Saturday. The Division II bracekt for Class 3A and below is Thursday and Friday.
"It'll be pretty special," Campo said. "My first coaching job was at New London (Conn.) High School in 1970 and to be back out with kids is great."
As usual, it'll also provide a coaching reunion. Campo and first-year Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman both attended Central Connecticut _ with Campo four years older. They have been friends through the many NFL years.
Sherman was coach of the Green Bay Packers at the same time Campo was head coach of the Cowboys. As host school, A&M coaches will be allowed on campus by NCAA rules.
Michael Campo has rejoined the Coppell team as Campo rejoined the Cowboys staff. The younger Campo attended Coppell schools when Campo was a Cowboys head coach and assistant on the Super Bowl teams of 1990s. Campo has been coaching the last three seasons with Jacksonville.
Campo's defensive expertise and enthusiasm seemed a perfect match for the latest manifestation of Texas' culture of high school football _ a 7-on-7 summer festival that's grown into a major event attended by thousands.
"I talked to Dave a couple weeks ago and he has such a love for coaching and teaching and the kids love listening to him," Coppell coach Bob Shipley said. "They had a meeting this week and Dave's already put in a couple of defenses he wants the kids to try."
Under UIL rules, school athletes can practice and participate in 7-on-7 tournaments but head coaches are only allowed to watch from the end zone. The organizing and limited sideline coaching duties typically fall to parents. Coppell parent Tommy Joplin, whose son Konner Joplin is the Cowboys quarterback, also coaches the Coppell team.
The Joplin and Campo families have been friends dating back to Campos' first arrival in Dallas.
Senior Michael Campo is a receiver for Coppell, which reached the final eight of the tournament last season.
"The 7-on-7 is basically an offensive drill and I'll be in charge of the defense," Campo said. 'But if you can get a few stops on defense, you can have a real chance to win. Coppell has some good athletes and the kids are excited to take on the challenge."
Tourney notes: Before anyone gets too giddy about winning a state 7-on-7 title, only three summers titles have been followed with a December state title. In 2004, Tyler Lee won the 7-on-7 and the 5A Division I title.
In 2000, Celina won the summer title and followed with a 2A Division II state title...andlast year Celina won the state small school 7-on-7 and won the 3A DII state title.
And consensus pre-season No. 1, Euless Trinity isn't a passing team and not at the 7-on-7 state tourney. No matter who wins 7-on-7, the Trojans (winners of 2 state titles in the last 3 years) will be the team to beat
The player to watch in Thursday's first-round of the 3A tournament is 6-4 sophomore Connor Wood of Houston Second Baptist, which hired former Grapevine and Weatherford coach Mike Sneed last year. Brownwood with TCU commit Casey Pachall is a favorite to win the 3A bracket.
An ultra-talented team not in the Class 5A bracket will be Aldine Eisenhower with Clemson commit Craig Loston and Texas commit Greg Timmons will play next week in a NIKE national 7-on-7 tournament in Beaverton, Oregon.