BRANSON, Mo. — The High School football season is a little more than a month away, but that did not stop local teams from hitting the field early.

Twenty-four high school teams from Missouri and Arkansas gathered in Branson Thursday afternoon for the second annual seven on seven “Border Battle” football tournament.

Branson was joined by other local teams from Mount Vernon, Springfield Catholic, Glendale, Buffalo and Rolla among others in the small sided-action.

The winners will get a trip to Canton, Ohio sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a chance to play in Tom Benson Stadium

However, coaches say the most important reward is the invaluable experience for their players before the season.

“There’s so much more I think you can get out of the X’s and O’s,” said Mt. Vernon Football Head Coach Tom Cox. You get that teamwork. “You get the ability to trust the guy next to you and know that he’s going to be there. It’s a lot of team building that goes on as well as just the football part of it.”

“I think everybody at this time of year is itching for football season,” said Branson Football Head Coach Anthony Hays. “Baseball is winding down. Basketball is winding down. Football is the next sport. It kind of gives you a glimpse of some Friday nights.”

Glendale and Bentonville would go on to win their respective divisions and walk away as this year’s tournament champions.