Youth football camp to feature full contact

By: Matt Long
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Mark Watson and Chris Jones have held youth football camps for 15 years through West Coast Youth Football, but this year there’s a twist. This spring the kids will be donning helmets and pads and there will be hitting involved. That’s right, this will be a youth football camp featuring contact. “We’re really excited about it,” Watson said, the former head football coach at Oak Ridge and now assistant coach. “I don’t know of a contact camp for youth players in the area and we’re hoping to draw kids from all over.” Jones, the head football coach at Vista del Lago, added, “It’s a fun deal for us. We’ve been doing camps for a while and this is new territory for us. We think it’s a good thing and is the right thing to do.” The camp is for kids’ ages 6 to 14 as of Aug. 1, 2010. It will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. from June 21-23 at Oak Ridge High School. “I think (having pads) creates a whole different element,” Jones said. “Doing the T-shirt and shorts thing is fun, but padding up takes it to another level. I think it will be more enjoyable and I think it’s what people want. Everyone I’ve talked to says it will be great.” Cost of the camp is $149 if players pre-register or $170 at the door. The camp will stress football fundamentals and be broken down into two 1 hour, 45 minute sessions with a 30-minute break in between the two sessions. The camp is for both the experienced veteran, as well as the beginner. Players will be playing against others of similar age, weight and ability. “We will start off with non-contact drills and progress into contact drills and then finish with a live team scrimmage on the third day,” Watson said. Coaches and players from both Oak Ridge and Vista del Lago high schools will run the camp. While Watson is unsure of how many campers will sign up for the camp, he said that no matter what the number, a 10-to-1 ratio from players to staff will be maintained. The camp is possible thanks to the cooperation of the Oak Ridge Junior Trojans, who will provide equipment to the campers for a $45 fee, money that will go to their program. For more information on the camp and to register, visit