On one corner of the BCHS football practice field, Assistant Coach Kelly Williams demonstrated proper blocking techniques to a group of middle schoolers. On another, younger kids ran pass routes and on still another, future Wildcats were dodging and weaving through running drills. In all, 175 kids were learning the fundamentals and skills at the Baker County junior football camp.
“I feel that our junior camp is going very well this week,” said Coach Ryan Sulkowski. “It really is great to see so many kids show up ready to work.”
The middle schoolers gathered around the water coolers, relaxing from the morning work but perked right up when new BCMS head coach Rock Rhoden rounded the corner. Rhoden joked with his players for a few moments before heading into the gym to supervise workouts.
Sulkowski was impressed with the middle school turnout and having Rhoden at the helm.
“We have had a 98 percent attendance rate for summer workouts at the middle school and those kids are really working hard. To watch them get after it at such a young age really is impressive to see, but also makes me look toward the future and where this program can be in a few years,” the Wildcats coach said.
The campers finish the day with games to sharpen what they learned in the workouts and also as a fun way of releasing their energy.
The kids were having fun and it was clear that the coaches were also enjoying themselves as they got fired up at the games. “I can honestly say, this week has re-energized our staff. These guys just enjoy being around the kids in our community,” said Sulkowski.
The Wildcat varsity and junior varsity are working side by side with the young players. They are in the final two weeks of tough summer workouts.
“We have begun turning the page in our attitude and conditioning,” commented Sulkowski. “I have made it very clear to these kids that our goal is very simple and that is to be the most well-conditioned team when the lights come on during Friday nights this fall.”
Sulkowski stressed that the team in better shape typically makes fewer mistakes and is less prone to injuries, especially early in the season. Injuries played a big role in the losses that kept the Wildcats out of the playoffs.
“We are less than three weeks away from starting fall camp. We harp on the fact that time flies very quickly and you cannot sit and wait to get in shape,” he said.