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Ryan Roy, 6, rips away a pad from a Park football player at Park’s youth football camp last week at Park High School. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick)

Wolfpack football connects with youth

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sports Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Park head coach Darin Glazier gave local youth players the choice to play whatever position they wanted to Thursday at Park football’s annual youth camp at Park High School.

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And when the huddle broke, of the approximately 75 kids entering grades 1-4 on hand, about a third of them sprinted over to the quarterback station.

“There’s going to be a lot of competition [in about 10 years],” Glazier said. “We’ve got about 30 quarterbacks here.”

Park offered two camps this week, one for kids entering grades 1-4, the other for kids entering grades 5-9. Between the two camps, Park had about 150 kids out at the field last week.

Glazier said he and his staff are focused on trying to keep numbers up throughout the program.

“So first and foremost we try to make this fun for the kids,” Glazier said. “Secondly, we try to just teach them some of the basic fundamentals and carry that over even with the youth coaches.”

Glazier had some youth coaches out to the field Sunday to demonstrate drills and fundamentals.

“We want to make it fun,” Glazier said. “But also make sure we’re doing things the right way.”

Glazier and Co. had some help running the week’s camps. A handful of the varsity players were on hand to demonstrate and run many of the drills.

“When I talk to the youth coaches, they always bring up the fact that they love it when [the varsity players] are out here, because the little kids really look up to them,” Glazier said. “You try to really enforce that with the high school kids so they understand how important it is. They’ve got to understand that they’re role models and that these kids just love it when they seem them out here in jerseys.”

That was obvious Thursday. Wolfpack quarterback Brandon Alt couldn’t walk around with a football for more than 30 seconds without a camper pleading with him to throw the ball -- to which he often obliged.

“We try to do it as much as we can to get the kids out here and get them interacting,” Glazier said. “They’ve been doing a great job this week.”

For the high school athletes, the camp is just another signal that they’ll soon tee it up for real. Varsity practice kicks off Aug. 11.

Glazier said the team ran its last informal practice Wednesday. For now, he wants his guys to take a little break from the game. The Wolfpack will kick off their fall practices with a Midnight Madness that will feature a pep rally at around 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10, followed by a short on-field practice beginning 12:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 11.

“I just want them to get away from football altogether for a week and a half and enjoy summer for a little bit,” Glazier said. “Because when we come in on Aug. 10 on Midnight Madness, from there it’s a grind.”

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