This year the Clay County Youth Football Camp headed by Northview Head Coach George Gettle and much of his staff enjoyed a bountiful response from students grades two through eight.
"The turnout has been awesome," commented Gettle during Thursday's camp. "The coaches have been great, this has really been better than I could have imagined."
This year's camp included 104 participants who received tutelage in football fundamentals and techniques in both offense and defense.
Third grade student Drake McKee agreed that the camp was a highlight of the summer. "I love it. I really liked playing touch football at the end of the day's camp and working on the tackling dummies. (The coaches) pretty much taught me most of what I learned on defense and offense during the stations."
Coach Gettle believes that the camp is a building block for the players of tomorrow. "We wanted to teach the kids first of all that football is a fun sport and help them learn the fundamentals and techniques that they can build on."
The players in the younger group (grades two through five) spent much of their camp working on football basics, including proper stances and footwork in all positions along with playing organized games of touch football which seemed to be a highlight amongst most of the participants.
"I'd say my favorite was a tie between the receiver and defensive stations," said fifth grader John Rollings. "I learned to throw the ball better in the quarterback station and learned linebacker stances on the defensive side. And I really liked the games at the end, I caught a pass for a touchdown in a game."
In the older group (grades six to eight) coaches stressed the intricacies of Northview's base offense and defensive systems to players along with building on the techniques learned by the players in the past.
"The coaches and players really taught us quite a bit," said freshman-to-be J.J. Smirdell. "I think this is a really good experience for the younger kids on the way to high school."
As for having several varsity players on hand to help tutor the camp participants, Smirdell commented. "I think it really sets a good example. I think it's great (Coach Gettle) has this camp. It helps a lot of kids stay in football."
Afterward Gettle wanted to thank those who helped in organizing and running the camp. "I hope that the parents and the community understand how much I appreciate the help they've provided for this camp. I want to thank them for making this such a great experience. And Dave Smirdell has really been my right hand man during the camp, helping setup and getting things organized."
With high school camps on the immediate horizon, the success of the Clay County Youth Football Camp is reason for smiles all around in the area football community.