LUFKIN, Tex.- This past Saturday, Lufkin High School hosted their annual 7-on-7 State Qualifying Tournament. Of the 16-team field, the top two would advance to the state tournament in College Station.
Several top 2009 prospects were in attendance including Klein Collins athlete Malcolm Johnson, Beaumont Ozen linebacker Justin Isadore, Houston Chavez defensive end Michael Brockers, Port Arthur Memorial cornerback Desmond Gardiner and Klein Forest running back Dominic Wilkins.
The junior class was well-represented also. Top 2010 players such as Port Arthur Memorial linebacker Earl Hines, Lufkin cornerback Carrington Byndom, Lumberton linebacker Anthony Beard and Kingwood wide receiver Robert Singletary.
However, one of the most impressive players in the entire tournament was Huntsville's Kirby Ennis. The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Texas A&M defensive end commit was part of a small squad. Due to scheduling conflicts, only eight players made the trip for the Hornets. Among the missing was top 2010 quarterback Justin Gilbert. To make matters worse, safety James Davidson was playing at less than full strength due to a leg injury.
Huntsville decided to make a go of it anyway, though. While other squads had the full allotment of the allowed 20 players, the Hornets had only one player on the sideline at a time. Everybody played both ways, including Ennis. Though bigger than almost any other player in tournament, Ennis shined at both tight end and linebacker while never being taken out of the game.
It is not completely foreign for the big lineman as he played outside linebacker for the Hornets during the regular season a year ago, earning first-team all-district honors at the position. He showed soft hands of offense and looked good in coverage on defense, breaking up several passes and keeping with smaller receivers.
In the end, the lack of depth was too much for Huntsville. They failed to qualify for the state tournament, with the spots going to Lufkin and Klein Forest instead. Klein Collins and La Marque won the other two pools but fell just short of qualifying by losing in the tournament semifinals.
***For photos of Ennis in action on both offense and defense, CLICK HERE.