Learning the game: Eastside High hosts annual football camp

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

COVINGTON -- The Eastside Eagle football team is training a new flock of players this week.

Eleven Eagle football players and all of the team coaches took a break from their summer practice to host the team's annual youth football camp.

"We started this when I got here five years ago," head Eagle football coach Rick Hurst said. "It's a good way to get kids introduced to stuff. It's always good to get the kids in here."

For two hours a day Monday through Wednesday, 37 rising fourth- through eighth-graders from all over Newton County participated in the camp to learn proper techniques, basic drills and develop other football skills.

Mansfield Elementary School third-grader Lucas Harper attended the camp for the first time -- he wants to be a linebacker so he came to the camp to get better at football.

"It's just an interesting sport to me," he said, adding that the Green Bay Packers was his favorite football team. "I like everything."

Rising Indian Creek Middle School eighth-grader Garrett Yates also hoped to improve his skills.

"I want to get faster and be quicker on my feet," said Yates, who wants to be a defensive lineman.

Rising Mansfield Elementary School fifth-grader Doster Harper wanted to learn skills to become a wide receiver but also wanted to have some fun.

"I like to tackle people," he said.

Hurst said this summer's camp group is the largest one that he's ever had -- some participants are new and some are repeat campers.

"I think it's a good way to get our name and program out there, even if some of the campers don't (attend Eastside)," Hurst said, adding that a few of his Eagle players attended the camp when they were in middle school. "It helps them work on their skills and improve their game."

This week, campers rotated stations to try out every football position.

"This exposed them to a lot of different things," Hurst said. "It gives them a chance to excel at every position because they never know what they will be."

Hurst hopes the camp grows in the future.

"We've progressively gotten bigger each year," Hurst said. "We'd love to get up to 100 kids out here, but we also understand the economy and people being out of town during this time."

Also this summer, his Eagle football players are busy with summer workouts, and many of them are attending football camps at colleges and other organizations around the country.

"This is our busy time," he said. "You can't sit around during the summer or you won't be successful."