Lamar quarterback candidate Kaden Hadawi looks downfield in a recent 7 on 7 practice. Stephen English senglish@star-telegram.com
Lamar quarterback candidate Kaden Hadawi looks downfield in a recent 7 on 7 practice. Stephen English senglish@star-telegram.com

Arlington Citizen-Journal

Lamar QB gets inspiration from Dak while making 7 on 7 history

By Mark Wright

Special to the Star-Telegram

June 29, 2017 12:15 PM

As a candidate for Arlington Lamar’s starting quarterback job this fall, senior Kaden Hadawi is trying to show that he’s an unflappable leader with the poise to lead his team to success, even when the odds are stacked against him.

He’s off to a good start. This summer, Hadawi has received personal instruction from a player who’s made a name for himself as a guy who can keep a cool head and make the right plays when a game is on the line. Hadawi’s coach, Laban DeLay, selected the QB and three of his teammates to attend Dallas Cowboys U High School Football Camp in June at The Star in Frisco. Hadawi’s coach for the 7 on 7 competition at the camp was none other than Dak Prescott.

The second-year signal-caller put the football world on alert last fall when he took over for an injured Tony Romo and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and division title while showing veteran leadership skills and playmaking ability in the process.

“He is an awesome guy,” Hadawi said of Prescott. “He’s just how you expect him to be as a quarterback of America’s team. You’d think he would be [acting like] a superstar. But he’s just a down-to-earth guy that helped me out a lot.”

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Hadawi emulates Prescott and hopes to perform like his idol this fall. “I look up to him,” Hadawi said. “He stepped in and did his part. And that’s what I’m treating next season as.”

Lamar quarterback Kaden Hadawi and receiver Jaylen Jones locked eyes and instinctively made the same adjustment. Jones was running a corner route, but, with that covered, he made a double move and caught a dart from Hadawi for a touchdown.

Hadawi’s done his part this summer to carry on Lamar’s long tradition of success in the summer 7 on 7 football league. The Vikings competed in the 7 on 7 State Tournament in College Station on June 30 and July 1. It’s the 20th consecutive season that Lamar has qualified for the tournament — the only team in Texas to make it every year.

“There was a lot of pressure coming into this year trying to be the 20th state qualifying team,” Hadawi said. “But once we qualified, it was awesome being the 20th team with all the history of the Lamar 7 on 7 team.”

The streak started in 1998 — before any of the current Vikings players were even born. Senior receiver Jaylen Jones said a long history of success starts with players sharing the same mindset: Be ready to do your job when called upon.

“The coaches emphasize every day that we’re-the-next-man-up mentality,” said senior receiver Jaylen Jones. “We’ll set the tone and be leaders on the field.”

Hadawi, who is sharing snaps in 7 on 7 with sophomore Jack Dawson, has a long history of throwing to Jones and fellow senior wideouts Dayton Dubs and Matthew Shaw. The plentiful reps this summer will only help to further that bond between QB and pass catchers, especially with a few newcomers — Jonoah Balog, a senior move-in, and Trevon West, a freshman — getting up to speed on the Vikings offense.

While most 7 on 7 squads only play as many tournaments as it takes to qualify for state, Lamar played in six qualifying tournaments — all on the road — leading up to state. And that’s after qualifying in just its second tournament with a come-from-behind win against Waxahachie in Grapevine.

“Doing it now will transfer over to the fall season,” Jones said of all the game experience Lamar gets in the summer. “You do it enough, it just becomes second nature.”

In one of the tournament games, Hadawi and Jones locked eyes and instinctively made the same adjustment. Jones was running a corner route, but, with that covered, made a double move and caught a dart from Hadawi for a touchdown. “That chemistry and experience that we have with the quarterback helps out a lot,” Dubs said.

Hadawi attended a recent evening practice at Cravens Field, then rushed off to his summer job at the Studio Movie Grill. He and his teammates are sacrificing time spent relaxing in a swimming pool for time spent becoming better football players.

“It doesn’t really feel like work, because we’re having a lot of fun,” Shaw said.

Sports digest

Track and Field

Arlington Martin’s Cade Bethmann has been honored as a MileSplit All-American. He is one of only three Texas boys runners to achieve the honor in the 800-meter run division, joined by Sam Worley of New Braunfels Canyon and Jason Bugg of Houston Strake Jesuit.

That mirrors the medal stand at the 2017 state track and field meet in the 800, as Worley took gold, Bugg won silver and Bethmann won bronze. Bethmann also recently placed fourth at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle.

Soccer camp

The Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA is registering for a youth soccer camp for ages 5-14 to be held Aug. 7-10 at the Cooper Street YMCA.

Participants will learn new skills and drill on fundamentals, emphasizing teamwork and sportsmanship. Players must bring shin guards, a water bottle and a soccer ball.

Information: amaymca.org/programs/youth-sports

Stephen English: senglish@star-telegram.com, @sbenglish74