GREENVILLE – More than 200 kids attended the Matt Light All Conference Football Camp on Monday and Tuesday at Greenville High School.
The 24th annual two-day camp had 204 kids ranging in age from 8 to 14 attended.
“As always Coach (Larry) Masters and the preparation he puts into this and all the effort from all the coaches just makes for an incredible two days with a whole bunch of kids that are looking to have a good time and compete and learn a little bit of hopefully some new techniques and some skills that will serve them well in their upcoming season,” said Greenville native Matt Light, a three-time Super Bowl champion during his career with the New England Patriots.
During the camp the kids learned about positions on both offense and defense. They received instruction from almost 20 high school coaches and learned the same techniques and fundamentals the coaches teach to their teams.
“Except for a little surprise here at the end it went well,” Masters said, referencing a thunderstorm that forced the final 90 minutes of camp on Tuesday to be moved inside Greenville High School’s gymnasium. “Then it went well when we came indoors because of the lightning. But all in all pretty pleased. Went off well. Good turnout. Kids were good. Couldn’t be happier.”
Along with drills, the campers also competed in individual competitions and a touch football Light Bowl tournament.
“The kids were very respectful, they worked hard, did everything we asked them to do,” Light said.
The camp drew kids from Florida, Indiana and approximately 10 counties in Ohio.
“We definitely have kids that are working hard in these drills,” Light said. “It takes a little while getting used to what the coaches expect from them – each coach has their way of coaching and doing things – but these guys have done a great job of understanding what’s being asked of them. And it’s hot. They’re putting in a lot of effort out here.”
Light was encouraged to see so many young kids get out and get active when there are so many entertainment options available to them.
“In an age where you’re fighting the TV and social media and all these electronic devices it’s really nice when you can have a good group and a great turnout,” he said.
Masters hopes the kids left the camp with an increased interest in football.
“The thing that I hope that happens here is it sparks an interest in the game of football,” he said. “It’s a little bit under siege with all the injuries and big money and things like that, but it’s still an amateur sport throughout America, and we need kids to stay in the game and not drop out for whatever reason they might come up with. Hopefully they come here, have a good experience, hang around football coaches and former players and hopefully it’s something they want to become and do someday.”
The Matt Light All Conference Football Camp is a free camp that is paid for through donations from businesses.
“I’ve got a lot of them that have been with me for like 22 years or 15 years, and they’ve been really loyal, and I can’t tell them how much I appreciate their support,” Masters said. “Without them we couldn’t do this camp.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.Reach