All About the Hustle

July 25, 2023
Last weekend, our team hosted our annual Hustle Up 7 on 7 National and Regional Tournaments at the Hoover Met.

Run it Back

As football was winding down after the New Year, our team was just gearing up. The preparation began early January by planning what our annual three-day tournament would look like logistically. Come July, we were ready to welcome teams and kick off the tournament. Tournament weekend always begins with the Regional Tournament, which includes 32 local programs broken up into two divisions: Varsity and JV. This year, we threw one additional element into the mix, a separate division for private schools (AISA). After the brackets are set, each division battles it out to claim the regional title and most importantly, one ticket into the National Tournament. This year, Southside-Gadsden punched their ticket to the National Tournament. 

The National Tournament kicks off Friday and begins with a full day of pool play for the 32 teams. After the team’s play everyone in their pool, our team then distributes rankings. Depending on rank, schools are placed in either the Silver Bracket (Seeds 17-32) or the Gold Bracket (1-16). On Saturday, teams enter into a single-elimination tournament to determine the National Hustle Up winner. This year’s champion was Walton High School, from Walton, GA. 

Off the Field

While the teams hustled for the coveted Championship Belt and title of National Hustle Up champion, our team works behind the scenes meticulously coordinating the details of fan, team and referee experience. This includes managing hydration teams, organizing fan entry, assisting with team transportation and logistics, and executing weather plans to keep fans, players and coaches safe. 

The Starting Lineup

Although our team works to build this event for months, the work would be for nothing if not for our partners. The Knight Eady team works in lock step with Brandon Sheppard, former Associate Director of Football Operations at Tennessee, to recruit teams, build brackets and manage the flow of the tournament. Our team also works alongside our two host schools, Hoover High School and Spain Park High School, to set up facilities, manage volunteers and paid workers. This year’s event wouldn’t be possible with our presenting sponsor, the Marines, our three field sponsors were Andrews Sports Medicine, Guardian Caps, and Adrenaline Fundraising; and our supporting sponsor GoRout. 

If you’d like to learn more about Hustle Up or how your organization can get involved, email