Former Pirates helping 7-on-7 success

Dirk Suitt is remembered as a heck of a quarterback when he played for Granbury High a little more than 25 years ago.

His son, Ryan, currently the quarterback of the Pirates, is following in his footsteps. He led Granbury to its best season since 1998 as a sophomore.

And Tyler Wright, now playing for Tarleton State University, impressed folks in his only season with GHS in 2010. The all-state wide receiver was instrumental in getting the Pirates into bidistrict for the first time in more than three decades.

Now, the three are part of Granbury’s 7-on-7 team that is enjoying quite a summer. The elder Suitt and Wright are coaching, while the younger Suitt is doing what he does best, throwing the football, as the Pirates are 13-3 through their first four tournaments.

The game of 7-on-7 is football’s equivelent of a club sport. It is all-passing touch football with, as the name indicates, seven players on both offense and defense.

“Ryan is facing some great teams, and this is only helping him become a better quarterback,” said Dirk Suitt. “Dallas Jesuit, Denison, those teams are pretty salty.”

The Pirates have also seen the likes of Arlington Lamar, Wichita Falls Rider and Crowley, the team that defeated them 34-13 in bidistrict last November.

Not this time, though.

Ryan Suitt hit his favorite target, wide receiver Nick Doughty, a fellow junior-to-be, on the game’s final play. It capped a comeback from a 34-7 deficit for a 38-34 victory.

“That was pretty cool to see,” said Dirk Suitt. “We started the day with 10 players and had an injury, but those nine guys we had left played their hearts out.”

Ironically, it was Mason Suitt, Dirk’s other son, who was injured. He broke his collarbone, but should be back in time for fall football, Dirk said.

The victory against Crowley gave the Pirates the championship of the Burleson Tournament. They went 5-0 on the day, also defeating Mansfield Lake Ridge, Burleson, Arlington Heights and Saginaw.

In previous tournaments, Granbury went 3-1 at Denton and Wichita Falls, and 2-1 at Colleyville Heritage. The Pirates are at Stephenville Saturday and travel to Arlington Bowie June 22 for their final tournament, unless they qualify for state in that tournament.

Wright, who wants to someday be a coach, said he is loving being a part of the GHS program again.

“It’s fun being back. I was only here a year (after moving in from Rockdale), but it was one of the greatest years of my life,” he said. “The group of guys I was around in Granbury, we were a well-rounded team.

“Dirk reached out to me, and I jumped at the offer. I know the potential these guys have. And they’re learning they can compete with anybody.”

Wright said working with GHS players does, without question, bring back some memories for himself.

“Oh definitely,” he said with a chuckle. “I see Doughty go up and make a big catch, and I think, ‘I used to do that here.’

“It’s just neat watching these kids mature.”

Wright believes his experience at Tarleton is also a plus for the Pirates.

“Having the college aspect definitely helps,” Wright said. “It’s a more precise game. Everything is within inches. In high school you can get away with some things, but not in college.

“Some of these guys are going to play college ball.”

Dirk Suitt added, “It’s awesome to have Tyler help. He’s getting fed things every day at Tarleton, and our kids are getting the benefit of that.”

Dirk Suitt said the game is not only helping offensive players, but some defensive players are also getting benefits from facing various passing attacks.

The Granbury passing attack under coach Scotty Pugh is known for using a lot of receivers. Dirk Suitt said facing different types of passing foes in 7-on-7 is also helping some of the defenders also become better receivers.

“Any time you’re on the field facing good players, you can only get better,” he said.

Pugh said he likes having Dirk Suitt and Wright running the 7-on-7 program. Under University Interscholastic League rules, Pugh cannot coach players during the summer.

“It’s a growing-up process, and they’re going to continue to improve through 7-on-7,” Pugh said.

“It’s fun, but it’s also very competitive, and the main thing is they get better in our system.

“And I like keeping it in the family.”

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