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Camp prepares kids for football draft
More that 115 future Oak Harbor High School Wildcats showed off their skills and learned some new ones at the Oak Harbor Youth Football League’s one-day camp Saturday at Fort Nugent Park.
Coaches divided the players into age groups and the players moved from station to station around the field working on different drills at each stop.
One of the drills involved a player returning the football as if it had been a punt or a kickoff, while two other players pursued him from opposite sides of the field. The focus of the drill was for the defenders not to run straight at the receiver but pursue from the outside and make sure he was unable to get around them.
Veteran player Michael Fisken made shambles of the first two players who tried to catch him during this drill, using his speed and footwork to elude both would-be tacklers.
Another important drill that all players worked hard on was the “mirror drill.”
This drill involves the defensive player putting one of his hands on the offensive player and the other behind his back while he mirrors the offensive player’s movements whether he goes forward or backward, or from side to side.
Taylor Kolste and Jarod Johnson, both OHYFL veterans, were doing a great job on this drill.
“I played wide receiver and defensive back last year,” Kolste said, and Johnson said he was a defensive end.
Roy Buck, who said he played a number of positions on the junior team last year including defensive back, put an NFL-type move on Brian Rayford to intercept a pass during a one-on-one passing drill.
Both players said they really enjoy playing football and are willing to play just about any position on the field, but both said their favorite position is running back.
Tackling the correct way is another important skill that needs to be learned right from the beginning, and fifth-year coach Nathan Bellamy was working with a group of first-year-players who were locking up against blocking dummies.
“The community is really good about football and it is great out here today,” Bellamy said.
The real test for all the players comes this week.
Beginning Tuesday and continuing through Friday, the OHYFL has a draft camp at Fort Nugent Park where all the kids go through the program of agility events so they can tryout and make a team.
“This is similar to an NFL tryout camp,” Bellamy said. “On Friday they get to hit each other in pads, then they get drafted and put on a team.”
Bellamy said all the league’s football events are now held at Fort Nugent Park.
“The city has done a wonderful job adding some new fields so now we have plenty of room for everyone to practice,” he said.
Building championship high school football teams begins at an early age, and the Oak Harbor Youth Football League is one of the major reasons for the success the Wildcat varsity has enjoyed in recent years on the gridiron.