Bucks take to the air during camp
LEROY — It’s a busy week of football at Pine River.
Coach Chad Phillips and his Pine River coaching staff is leading a camp this week that include youngsters going in the second grade and all the way through their senior year in high school.
The camp started on Monday morning with the high school and middle school players taking part. In the afternoon the high school players stayed around to work with the youth.
“With the seventh and eighth graders, we went through the normal type of camp and they did all the offensive and defensive skills,” Phillips said, adding that while the middle school football program was the victim of budget cuts, it’s being run on a club basis. “We have volunteer coaches.”
The high school players went through drills in the morning and have been lifting weights. In the afternoon this week, they’ve been working with the second through eighth graders. The emphasis on Monday was the offense and was the defense on Tuesday. They went through 15 minutes of instruction on various positions such as quarterback, running back, receiver and blockers.
The camp continued through Wednesday.
“It’s a camp, and when you’re doing a camp, you can work with a full group of kids,” said Phillips, noting that Michigan High School Athletic Association regulations would restrict the number of youngsters a coach could work with during the summer if it wasn’t in an open type of camp situation. In this situation, the camp is technically open to all school districts. While Pine River youngsters dominated the numbers, Phillips recalled having had players from McBain come in the past.
There were around 60 players, grades second through 12, on Monday.
“It’s a good turnout, I’m happy with it,” he said.
On working with the younger players, “we make sure they understand and are listening good. They’re catching on well,” said senior Quinton Mitchell, a senior wide receiver and cornerback.
This Saturday, Pine River will be hosting a 7-on-7 pass camp tournament, with action starting at 9 a.m and ending around 3 p.m. One pool of teams will consist of Baldwin, Crossroads, Mason County Central and White Cloud. In the other pool will be Alpena, Lake City, Manton and Pine River.
After pool play, the top teams from each pool will play single elimination. Each team will play at least three games. Contests will be at both the regular field and practice facility.
“You start at the 45-yard line and have three downs to get 15 yards, three downs to get the next 15 and four downs for the last 15,” Phillips said.