Lake Gibson quarterback Travis Williams has guided two different teams to the annual county seven-on-seven championship. Saturday he looks for a third.

LAKELAND — When it comes to winning the Polk 7on7 passing tournament, Travis Williams has no equal.

The Lake Gibson senior has engineered two teams to the championship the past two years. He will compete for a third consecutive crown Saturday when the fourth annual event begins at 9 a.m. at George Jenkins. Twelve local high school teams are competing.

As an Auburndale sophomore, Williams drilled Jocquet Jiles in the end zone with a double-overtime, sudden-death touchdown pass to beat Kathleen 26-20 in the title game.

A year later, after transferring to Lake Gibson, Williams led the Braves to the title, beating an athletic Ridge Community 14-0 in the championship game on a scorching day.

It was the first time Lake Gibson competed in the Polk tournament. The program that has historically fared very well in large seven-on-seven competitions across the state, including Central Florida, South Florida Sling and Shoot and the now-obsolete Route 9.

“I have thought about this tournament a lot, but my big focus is Lake Gibson winning two straight, not me winning three straight,” Williams said.

The Braves' signal-caller also feels his emerging receivers, which include Jason Campbell, Malachi McNealy and Gavin Carter, are well suited for seven-on-seven situations this year. He threw five touchdown passes — four to McNealy — in the spring game against Brooksville Nature Coast.

“We have some good players arriving, which helps, like McNealy, who just came up from JV. He has been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, and I think he is going to be special. We have our timing down, and when I talk to him, he understands where I am coming from.”

Williams also thinks leading the Braves to the Polk 7on7 title last year gave him immediate credibility with his new teammates at Lake Gibson. That can be crucial for a quarterback trying to lead a group of players for the first time.

“DeMyer believed in me, and winning the tournament gave me confidence. I enjoy seven-on-seven because you can showcase your abilities plus you get to throw on every down,” said Williams, who has drawn college interest from Sanford and James Madison.

Aside from a big-time arm and accuracy, DeMyer said intelligence is the most important asset a quarterback needs, and Williams, who takes honors classes, is a quick study.

“He is very smart. He understands what we are trying to do and he never gets rattled. He is in the upper echelon,” DeMyer said. “In our program, there is a lot to digest. He can do it, and it allows us to do a lot more.”

Williams says the Braves have the perfect offense to win it again.

“We don’t have to change anything. We don’t have to be someone else, we just run our offense and it translates well to seven-on-seven."

Four games will be played simultaneously on 40-yard fields at the Polk 7on7. The 20-minute running-clock games will give teams three downs to make a first down out of 15-yard zone and then four downs to score from a 25-yard zone. The four-second quarterback sack rule will be in place.

After pool-play rounds, teams will seeded into a single-elimination tournament with the championship game expected to begin around 2 p.m.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Fourth annual Polk 7on7 football passing tournament.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. coaches meeting; 9 a.m. competition begins; 2 p.m. championship round.

COST:  Free admission; Concession stand open but no coolers allowed.

TEAMS: Auburndale, Bartow, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Jenkins, Kathleen, Lake Gibson, Lake Region, Lake Wales, Ridge, Tenoroc, Winter Haven.

Bill Kemp can be reached at Bill.Kemp@theledger.com; follow him on Twitter @BillKempSports.

Which school will win the fourth annual Polk 7on7 football passing tournament Saturday? Auburndale Bartow Fort Meade Frostproof Jenkins Kathleen Lake Gibson Lake Region Lake Wales Ridge Tenoroc Winter Haven   Created with QuizMaker