U.P. Football Camp a Hit
Vikes Pigskin Camp
The Union Pines football program hosted a football camp June 27-30 at Wilhoit Stadium on the Union Pines HS Campus. Head coach Ryan Riggan, defensive coordinator Terry Gittens and offensive coordinator Drew Anker instructed players ages 8-14 with fundamentals and skills for all position groups in hopes of preparing players for the coming Optimist tackle football season.
Union Pines recently hosted the U.P. Vikings Football Camp at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium.
Intended to prepare kids ages 8 through 14 for the upcoming Optimist tackle football season, the camp ran from June 27-30.
Featuring full-on contact, the camp was directed by Viking head football coach Ryan Riggan with help from defensive coordinator Terry Gittens and offensive coordinator Drew Anker.
“This is the first time anything like this has been done at Union Pines,” Riggan said. “We have never had a full contact camp here before and the kids are really enjoying it. I look forward to doing this for years to come.”
According to Riggan, each camp day lasted for three hours. After starting with a large amount of skill work, next the campers broke off into groups for more specific position skill-based sessions. To close out each daily session, the players split up for half-line scrimmages.
Being a first-year full contact youth camp, Riggan was excited about the number of kids he saw out on the field.
“The turnout was great,” he said. “Last year was our first summer ever having football camp and we had 12 kids. This summer we switched up to full contact and spent a lot of time getting the word out and we got up to 45-plus kids.
“It’s incredible the turnout and support the camp has had. We really are just trying to generate excitement about football and it seems to be working out here.”
The camp did not issue daily individual awards because Riggan wanted its focus to center on encouraging all kids in attendance to “get better and hone their skills.”
“We want to instill some basic knowledge of skills,” he said, “and also an understanding that they need to be aggressive to play this game and really get after it every chance they get.
“Practice is a chance to develop their current skills and make their teammates better as they get better, while learning how to be good team players and work really hard.”
Riggan’s hope is for all the kids who attended the camp to find a love for football and a desire to play it in the future.
“We tried to do a lot of things that the kids enjoy — incorporate fun into the skill work that they did on a daily basis,” said Riggan. “It is really important to me that kids like football and tell their friends about it, so they will want to play in the future, too.
“A camp like this is also huge for the community, because no one has ever done anything like this here. We have youth tackle football out in Cameron now and we need people to know that. Football is a great sport, and in the past, our area has not had tackle football.
‘This is something new to us and we look forward to moving tackle football forward.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at frankwm2@ gmail.com.
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