WATSON -- It's June, and as far as Live Oak football coach Brett Beard is concerned, that's a good thing.
Beard's Eagles scored their share of touchdowns -- and gave up a few -- in Wednesday's 7-on-7 drills with Mentorship Academy, Oak Forest and McKinley. St. Michael also participated, but Live Oak didn't square off against the Warriors.
"We feel good with where we're at right now," Beard said. "That's what I just told the kids. You know, we're not playing in the Dome next week. You know, it's baby steps, and here we are in the middle of June. We've got a long ways to go, but we've got a long time to go."
One of the main focal points for Beard and his coaching staff is finding a starting quarterback after losing Ryan Morris to graduation. Juniors Sal Palermo and Cameron Dickerson are vying for that spot.
"Dickerson's the runner who doesn't have the best of arms, and then Palermo's the gunslinger, and he's not the most fleet-footed," Beard said. "So they're two separate quarterbacks, and we're just asking for one of them to step up and win the job. You know, decide that you want it, stop making mistakes, stop making little mistakes, play the game, play your game, play the Live Oak football way, and win the job, and that's really what we're waiting on one of those guys to do."
Palermo led the Live Oak offense on its first drive of the day, capping it with a 28-yard TD pass to Hagen Long.
But neither team scored after that as the teams swapped turnovers on downs. Mentorship drove to the Live Oak 23 before time expired in the 20-minute session.
Against Oak Forest, Palermo completed four straight passes to four different receivers before connecting with Grant Richardson on a 5-yard TD pass on fourth down.
After forcing a turnover on downs, Dickerson led the Eagles on an 8-play drive that culminated in a 2-yard TD pass to Caleb Edelmann.
"We feel good with both of them," Beard said of his quarterbacks. "We can build a program around both of them. They're both those solid guys, those locker room guys that have got the ability to lead. The kids all love (them). They want to protect up front. They're both real solid guys. It's just, which one of you wants to do it."
Oak Forest responded with a 32-yard TD strike, but neither team scored again.
Against McKinley, Dickerson guided the Eagles on a five-play scoring drive, capped by a 4-yard score to Hunter Anderson.
McKinley responded with touchdown passes of 4 yards, 45 yards and 1 yard after Live Oak turned the ball over on downs in consecutive drives.
"Defensively, we were missing two starters (middle linebacker Khalil Smith and cornerback Jordan Lee), which is not an excuse," Beard said. "You get a chance for some of these young guys get some action, and you know, I like seeing them screw up. I like seeing them wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and intimidated a little bit and nervous a little bit. You know those guys are going to make mistakes. I mean, that's part of the game. That's all part of them growing up through the game, but I was pleased with the way we competed."
But the Eagles came back with a 7-play scoring drive on which Palermo hit five different receivers, including Bryson Snapp three times for 24 yards, including a 3-yard TD.
"I like both of them," Snapp said of the LOHS quarterbacks. "I mean, they're both competitive and they're both going at it each day at practice, in the workout room, everything, and we're just trying to find the best guy."
Palermo had a pass intercepted by a McKinley defender after Live Oak and McKinley opted to play a 10-minute session to close out the action.
McKinley scored on a 35-yard TD strike, Dickerson marched the Eagles to the Panther 21 before the drive fizzled on downs, setting up a 6-yard TD pass for McKinley.
"That's not the most realistic of a look for who we are," Beard said of the Eagles' defensive look in 7-on-7 drills. "You know, because we're going to get a little pressure. We've got a big D-line up front that's going to get pressure that's going to make those quarterbacks move a little bit more and not be able to make those easy throws that they can see."
Palermo led the Eagles on a four-play scoring drive, capped by Anderson's 2-yard run scoring run -- a rarity in 7-on-7 drills.
"I think offensively, we are moving the ball," Beard said. "We're driving the ball. You know, we've just got to keep finishing drives."
McKinley scored on a 10-yard pass to close things out.