Football hosts first youth camp


photo by Michael Gibson

Campers play tag to practice tracking the ball carrier. 74 kids attended the camp.

Michael Gibson, Sports editor

The first through eighth grade football players from around the community lined up on the practice field, ready for three days of fun, and a camp they will never forget. The football team hosted their youth football camp from July 24-26 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with an 8 a.m. drop off and 1 p.m. pickup option where the 74 kids could talk to players and coaches.

“Since we are a new staff, we wanted to get our names out to the community,” coach Steve Michaels said. “When the kids come to games and look on the field, they will know who they are watching.”

Michaels organized the camp to give the community’s youth a basic idea of what the program is all about. The current staff has been there for only the last three years, which means that most of the campers do not know who they are. The idea of it was to show the campers proper techniques from a young age to prevent unhealthy techniques in the future.

“We have the high school coaches that they will play for one day [teaching them],” head coach Phil Ziglar said. “The whole idea is for the kids to get adjusted to us; a lot of our players are doing individual work with them on the side, using the same [play] method that we use.”

They start off the day at camp doing high knees and other stretching exercises led by running back Oliver Hart. Then they will do sprints and jump around to get the kids hyped for the day.

After warm-ups, the campers split into defensive stations led by the defensive coaches. Coach Rob Sauvao taught the kids tackling technique; coach Luis Chacon taught them how to ankle tackle and Michaels taught the kids using the tackling wheel. They also did a speed drill while at the station.

“What we are doing is checking the kids out and making sure they are getting good coaching. In this day and time, the biggest problem you have is that you don’t have certified coaches teaching the kids,” Ziglar said. “These are all certified coaches, trying to teach these kids how to be a part of something.”

After learning defensive skills, they played a quick game of sharks and minnows before moving on to offensive drills. The kids practiced handoffs and running routes as well as throwing the ball. To end the camp, they split into teams of seven and scrimmaged. That was the opportunity for the coaches to see how well they played as a team.

“To get a chance to look at the [kids] now is great,” Sauvao said. “We have a lot of big kids out here right now and a lot of them move pretty well.”

The first ever football youth camp made the coaching staff and players eager to be working with the kids and this camp for the next couple of years.

“We put on this camp to see the talent in our area and [to let] the kids come work with us to see what we do and why we do things and how we are so successful,” Sauvao said.