Archive for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Youth camp a hit

Youngsters flock to FSHS

June 30, 2004

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Something was drastically wrong Tuesday at the youth football camp run by Lawrence and Free State high schools.

While FSHS coach Bob Lisher was away for a minute, many of the 130 players from third through ninth grades were working on their passing game -- while being supervised by LHS coach Dirk Wedd.

Wedd, of course, is famous for continuing the Lawrence High tradition of a run-dominated offense. If he knows anything about passing, he certainly hasn't shown it.

"As you can tell, we're throwing the heck out of the ball," Wedd said Tuesday at Free State. "It must be the water on this side of town that's causing me to let them throw it a little bit."

A lot of harmless ribbing went back and forth between representatives of the two schools, which combined to give youth football players a place to have fun and work on their basic skills. The week-long camp is run by Wedd and Lisher, with stations being supervised by assistant coaches and recent graduates, including Lawrence's Brandon McAnderson, John Davis and Taylor Parker, and Free State's Jeremy Bustamante and Caleb Harvey.

A lot of the camp is teaching football the Lawrence way, which, judging by the historic success of the sport in this city, must be somewhat effective.

Of course, with any youth camp, the main goal is entertainment, and it seemed the youngsters were having plenty of that.

Matt Carmody, 8, makes contact with a tackle pad held by 2004
Lawrence High graduate Taylor Parker.

Matt Carmody, 8, makes contact with a tackle pad held by 2004 Lawrence High graduate Taylor Parker.

"If I didn't come here," eighth-grader Jack Caywood said, "I'd probably just sit on the couch and watch SportsCenter eight times in a row."

As a future linebacker at Free State, Caywood learned the tricks for reading the quarterback and being able to detect what he's about to do during the camps.

So did Boomer Mays, a sixth-grader who plans to be a linebacker and running back in high school.

"I also work on trying to get faster," Mays said.

Lynn Robinson, 10, center, puts her shoulder into a pad to provide
a block for Joseph Odrowski, 10, during a handoff and running drill
at the Lawrence and Free State high school youth football camp. The
camp was Tuesday at FSHS.

Lynn Robinson, 10, center, puts her shoulder into a pad to provide a block for Joseph Odrowski, 10, during a handoff and running drill at the Lawrence and Free State high school youth football camp. The camp was Tuesday at FSHS.

Both Caywood and Mays are veterans at the annual camp, and they're not alone. Though the skills stay basic, some of the same faces sprout up year to year, proof that the camp doesn't lack in the fun-factor department.

"It's a very encouraging turnout," Lisher said. "It's always a plus when you have a chance to work with kids on football and give them a week out of the summer to work on football instead of soccer, wrestling, baseball, basketball and all those other sports."

The consensus among participants was that Lisher was the more strict coach, while Wedd was the laid-back, let's-have-some-fun instructor.

FSHS coach Bob Lisher directs traffic at the youth camp.

FSHS coach Bob Lisher directs traffic at the youth camp.

It's a fact Lisher won't dispute.

"I toe the line around here," Lisher said with a grin. "If it wasn't for me, coach Wedd would let them do whatever they wanted to do."

Apparently. Like pass the ball.

John Davis, a 2004 Lawrence High graduate, works with youth
football campers on carrying the football. LHS and Free State held
a joint youth camp Tuesday at FSHS.

John Davis, a 2004 Lawrence High graduate, works with youth football campers on carrying the football. LHS and Free State held a joint youth camp Tuesday at FSHS.

Lawrence High School footgball coach Dirk Wedd talks to
participants in the LHS and Free State High School youth football
camp at FSHS.

Lawrence High School footgball coach Dirk Wedd talks to participants in the LHS and Free State High School youth football camp at FSHS.

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