Teams from West, Kimball, Lathrop and Manteca high schools showed up for four days of scrimmages, with coaches critiquing every move and even officials-in-training learning how to spot penalties.
After a few weeks of lifting weights, followed by workouts and drills in the hot sun, West head coach Matt Loggins said it’s the best chance he will get to see what kind of team he will have when practice gets into full swing in August.
“Some positions require a little more physicality than others,” Loggins said, adding that full contact in pads quickly sorts out which players are suitable for the hard-hitting positions.
He added that players also get a chance to show how much they want to get those starting positions.
“The whole thing is about respect and earning each other’s respect. This is a big part of it,” he said. “Guys are getting dinged up, guys are getting hurt. It shows who guys are we can rely on and who the other guys will look up to.”
West senior Jonny Cabral-Ramsey, who will play outside linebacker and tight end, said the team’s juniors look like they’re ready, but they’ll still learn a lot about the game during the week.
“I learned that junior year, you take your bumps, but you always have to get back up and play,” he said. “They’re taking their bumps. They get discouraged, but I tell them that it’s just part of coming up.”
Varsity football is a new level of play for Kimball High’s team, which will play in the Division IV Valley Oak League.
“We’re an all-sophomore-and-junior team playing senior teams, so we just need to step up our blocking. Everything will come together once we get all of that,” sophomore William Snell said, adding that the camp lets his teammates find out whether that varsity level will be intimidating for those moving up from junior varsity teams.
“It was at first,” he said, “but once you get the first hit, it’s nothing.”
Kimball quarterback Zack Johnson said he values a chance just to see how the varsity players will work together.
“We know all of our assignments but weren’t performing as well as we should be,” he said. “I’m trying to do my best to get the intensity level up.”
In two weeks, teams won’t be allowed to use pads or practice with footballs. California Interscholastic Federation rules will allow only conditioning workouts for the last bit of the summer, with practice to begin officially Aug. 9.
Loggins started the local camp as an alternative to team camps that college football programs host each year. West used to go to Fresno State, until the per-player fee got too high.
“Fresno was getting up to $300, and you’d have to rent a bus to go down and to stay there,” he said.
“We’ve got to fundraise just for our own budget. It doesn’t make sense that we fundraise a lot more just to go to Fresno.”
Tracy High coach Matt Shrout said his team already had its team camp last month at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. He still prefers to go out of town for the camp, where his players see teams they wouldn’t ordinarily play against, and other coaches and scouts are more likely to see what kind of talent the team will have this season.
“I think the kids enjoy going away. They like getting out of the valley, and they do some team-building,” he said, adding that being on the road keeps the players more focused on the purpose of the camp.
“We want all of our guys there, and we want them thinking about only football.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.