By Garth Shanklin
Campers of all ages from across the New Richmond area got a taste of high school football last week, as the Lions hosted their annual youth camp from July 17-19.
Head coach Patrick Burke, in his first year as New Richmond’s head football coach after serving as an assistant under Josh Stratton, said the camp was filled with kids from various grades, all of whom put in a solid three-day effort.
“It went well,” Burke said. “We had probably 90 kids out at camp, that’s kidnergarden through eighth grade. We got lots of good work, it was a good three days.”
Burke said the camp was broken down into stations, with each day focusing on different drills.
“The first day, we did five defensive fundamental stations: block destruction, tackling, persuit drills, what we call stun, separate and snag, and a leverage tackle drill, teaching them what shoulder to tackle with, keeping their head behind,” Burke said. “We broke down the fundamentals on defense and taught them very basic drills they could carry through their youth season.”
In the second session on day one, the focus shifted to the offensive side of the football.
“We did throwing with proper throwing mechanics, catching the football, ball security, and blocking progressions,” Burke said. “Then we played Air Force football, which is their favorite.”
Air Force football is a version of the game played without tackling, as runners have to be touched with two hands to be considered down.
That type of game was a good way to lead into the second day of the camp, which focused on agility training. Speed ladder, bag drills and L-cone drills helped the players get used to starting and stopping under control, according to Burke. The campers finished day two with position-specific drills, led by New Richmond assistant coaches and players.
The third day was a special one for campers. After the completion of the offensive and defensive drills for the day, the campers were taken to the New Richmond locker room, where they were able to try on Lions’ football jerseys and take photos.
“The kids loved it,” Burke said. “We have a lot of future Lions who were wearing our jerseys and were proud to wear it.”
Burke added that the event was a successful one, in that not only did it help the campers progress on the field, it bonded the community off the gridiron.
“I think it was a big success for us,” Burke said. “ I think the community got involved and enjoyed it, the kids got a lot out of it and it helped our youth program and coaches see what we do as far as drills and teaching fundamentals and how to use them and take them to their practices. Numbers were up, my kids were taking ownership in drills. It was good.”
The entire 55-man roster for New Richmond participated in the event, though some had to miss time due to work schedules. Those players will take to the field to begin preparation for the 2017 season once practice officially begins on Monday, July 31.
“We’re really excited,” Burke said.“We’ve been working hard all summer. We have a motto, ‘Unleashed.’ We are relentlessly persuing excellence every day, and we can’t wait for the 31st to get here so we can start preparing for Indian Hill and the rest of our schedule.”
New Richmond hosts Indian Hill on Friday, August 25 at 7 p.m. to kick off the regular season. The Lions also host Taylor, Wilmington, Western Brown and Goshen this season.