Youth football camp features full contact

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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West Coast Youth Football has been hosting a youth football camp every summer for the last 17 years.

This summer, the 18th annual camp will be held June 17-19 at Oak Ridge High School and for the third straight year, it will be a full-contact camp, as players will be decked out in pads and helmets.

About 175 players between the ages of 6 and 14 years old as of June 17, 2013, will learn the game from an experienced coaching staff, which includes Mark Watson from Oak Ridge High and Chris Jones, formerly of Vista del Lago High, as well as several staff members from both schools, as well as some varsity players.

While the camp is made up of mostly players from Folsom and El Dorado Hills, every year the camp pulls players from around the area, as well as the Bay Area and Nevada.

Watson said this is a great camp for several reasons.

“In our 18th year, we’ve definitely got experience in running camps and we’ve got some great coaches helping out,” Watson said. “We’ve done a ton of working with youth over the years, so we believe we have the right formula for what we’re doing.”

Watson said the camp gets a lot of first-time players, who learn the game for the first time, while also pulling in several campers who have been playing football for years.

“This camp is a great opportunity for the first-timers to come learn the fundamentals of football, which is tackling and blocking,” Watson said. “We create teams by age and experience level, so this camp is also good for the experienced guys as they further their ability and get a jumpstart on the upcoming season.”

Jones’ son, Brent, 9, is a flag football player, but has participated in the camp the last two years.

“The camp has given my son a chance to put gear on and play for three days and see if he likes it,” Jones said. “It’s been great for him to learn the game with pads and then he’s moved from there right on to playing flag football.”

The camp runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. each day with the 30-minute break from 6:15 to 6:45. Players start with stretching and move to tackling and bag work before learning individual defensive and offensive positions. After the break, there’s a live tackling drill and more individual position instruction. The final day of the camp features a live team scrimmage.

Anyone interested in participating in the camp can sign up at