MELISSA — Teams from Anna, Denison, Van Alstyne and Melissa high schools gathered on Monday for 7 on 7 football competitions. In the first round of the 7 on 7 games Melissa took on Van Alstyne, while Anna’s players went up against Denison. The evening concluded with a crowd-pleasing game between the Coyotes and the Cardinals.

“It’s really more of a competitive practice,” Van Alstyne High School head coach Mikeal Miller said.

A sizeable number of Panther team members, staff and supporters made the trip south on U.S. Highway 5 to support their home team.

“We try to do it just like the state qualifying tournaments,” Melissa High School head football coach Seth Stinton said.

Stinton explained the basic rules of the competition.

“The ball starts on the 45 on the right hash, you get three downs to get to 15 yards, inside the 30 you get another three downs in the 15 you get four downs,” he said.

The four teams participating in the competition chose not to keep track of scores, focusing instead on improving performance.

“We’re just trying to get some competition in,” Stinton said. “Throwing, catch — that’s really what we are working on is throwing the ball and covering people.”

Van Alstyne, Melissa and Anna’s teams and coaching staff met for the third year of the summer competition.

“Howe also has shown up and Denison was here today,” Stinton said.

The teams and coaching staff coordinate the gatherings every June in order to give incoming freshman and current players the chance to compete with their school rivals.

“It’s just competitive,” Stinton said. “We are competing against each other and just trying to get better.”

About 60 student athletes from the four schools attended the event on Monday evening. Summer 7 on 7 games are open to all players of the teams from each school.

“We have four high school teams,” Stinton said. “We have a mainly freshman group and we divided all the rest of our guys into three teams.”

The competition was friendly overall, but the school rivalries showed on the field throughout the games’s fast-paced, and at times heated, plays. The crowd was composed of a sizable amount of family and supporters for all teams, cheering on the boys who were enjoying the fun of the game while playing with determination.

7 on 7 football is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Mondays in June at Melissa High School’s football stadium.