Full contact

Football camp draws 170 athletes
By: Matt Long
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There’s no doubt that football is a popular sport in the area. About 170 kids between the ages of 6 and 14 attended West Coast Youth Football’s second annual full contact youth football camp June 20-22 at Oak Ridge High. The camp attracted 30 more kids than last year, 20 of whom registered on the first day. While most of the participants are from Folsom or El Dorado Hills, not all of them are from the area. “We’ve got kids from Loomis, Woodland, Placer, Reno and Yreka,” said Vista football coach and West Coast Youth football co-founder Chris Jones said. “It’s awesome.” Campers were split into eight groups by age and the groups of around 20 were paired up with a group of coaches with a ratio of about one coach to eight players. The biggest discrepancy between ages in any group was no more than 14 months. “All the coaches cover the same things, but each coach can move at their own rate based on the level of kids they have,” West Coast Youth Football co-founder Mark Watson said. The purpose of the camp is for kids to enjoy themselves while playing the sport of football. “We want to grow football in our area and we want to see it done in the right way,” Jones said. “We want to teach the kids and give them a good base to play football and give them the opportunity to be successful.” Jones’ son, Brent, 7, has yet to play organized tackle football, but was attending the contact camp for the second year. “It’s fun because you get to tackle and I like to hit,” Brent said. “It was kind of scary at first last year, but I got used to it and now it’s my favorite thing to do.” Many of the kids at the camp had never played organized tackle football and the camp provides a good introduction to the sport. “We want kids to have a good experience with football without turning it into something that they’re not ready for,” Jones said. “We want them to be excited about playing football.” While each day is different, the camp followed a similar daily schedule. The camp began at 4 p.m. with stretching exercises before form tackling with bags. There was then an individual defense session where campers learned either linemen, linebacker or defensive back skills, followed by a team defense install period. The kids then did some three-on-three hitting drills. After a half-hour break, the evening session started with another stretch followed by individual offensive drills and a team install. The camp ended with either another 3-on-3 drill or an 11-on-11 session. Sean Gilbert, an 11-year-old from Danville, who was attending the camp for a second year, was staying with his grandparents, who live in El Dorado Hills. “Before attending this camp last year, I had never played tackle football,” Gilbert said. “I didn’t know how to tackle, but now I can bring a guy down a foot taller than me. I like football. It’s a good way to let loose.” Gilbert said he’d like to attend the camp next year and is considering playing tackle football in high school. Kyle Brown, 13, has played youth football with the Jr. Trojans for six years, most recently as tight end and linebacker. He will be with the midget team this year. “This camp is a lot of fun,” Brown said. “I like tackling people and I like learning more about football. It’s really great.”