LAKEWOOD — Over 150 area youth turned out at Lakewood and Arlington high schools to learn football fundamentals from their heroes, this fall’s high school squads.
At each camp, coaches counted on a core of about 15 to 20 high school players to instruct kids ages 7 to 14 in the fine points of their position. At Lakewood, campers warmed up together and then broke down into small groups by age and field position. On a given afternoon, senior running back Joey Davenport worked with about a dozen midget squad players, drilling them first on a weaving run pattern between their fellow campers and then teaching them how to find the hole in their offensive line.
Later, the crew got together with Lakewood coach Dan Teeter to learn plays.
In the meantime, young quarterbacks learned how to take a snap while future guards learned how to line up and tackle their mentors.
“We tried to install one running play and one pass scheme for each day,” Teeter said.
Over the four days of practice at Lakewood, kids were split by age, learning offensive skills for two days and defensive skills the other two days.
Arlington ran its youth camp on a shorter schedule, offering activities in just two days. The camp culminated in a punt, pass and kick competition and coaches handed out awards for attitude and hustle by age group. Incoming Arlington freshmen were also encouraged to attend, getting a few lessons in preparation for fall ball. Arlington head coach Greg Dailer added that the freshmen will be led this fall by coaches Jim Smoots and Steve Barker, who were with Arlington when they won their last state championship.
Arlington follows their youth camp with the high school camp July 28-31 with a scrimmage July 30 in Bellingham.
In just the second year Lakewood has offered the youth camp, Teeter said he was happy with the turnout and hoped the program would lay the foundation for high school teams to come.
“Ideally, the long-term vision is I’d love to see the youth program be just one part of the high school program and it’s all one program that works together,” he said. “The kids, as they’re coming up through the program, get better and better each year as they learn the system.”