Passing league during the summer time may not be the easiest opportunity to evaluate a team’s defensive performance.

Sans offensive and defensive linemen to obstruct the view, quarterbacks are allowed the luxury of getting comfortable in a perfectly kept pocket during 7-on-7, an element often not the case on Friday’s nights during the fall.

Despite the obvious disadvantages, Collinsville coach Kevin Jones said he’s seen noticeable progress in his defensive unit throughout passing league. The Cardinals, Rejoice Christian, Cascia Hall and Hominy met up at Sallee Field on Tuesday evening.

“In their coverage and reading their keys,” Jones noted in measuring his team’s defensive success during passing league. “And, ultimately, it’s about making plays when the balls in the air. I feel like we’re doing that.”

The Cardinals and Eagles conclude passing league on Monday, July 9, at Rejoice Stadium.

Collinsville returns six starters from last year’s 12-1 squad. The Cards surrendered less than 10 points per game and posted four shutouts on their way to a berth in the Class 5A state semifinals.

Among those returning are senior defensive end Gage Tacker recorded 88 tackles and led the team with seven sacks. Fellow seniors Brayden Burd and Peyton Russell are back to bolster the linebacker position as the each tallied more than 80 total tackles a season ago.

Senior Zac Robbins returns on the defensive line while Eli Benham and Cole Kuykendall were each starters at cornerback. Although Kuykendall’s availability figures to be limited, at best, as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. Collinsville will add Jeran Seabolt, a move-in from Skiatook, at safety. Seabolt was a starter in the Bulldogs secondary during the 2018 season.

“I was really, really pleased with our, for lack of a better term, 1’s on defense,” Jones said. “They did a great job creating a lot of turnovers.”