Youth football kicks off with preseason camp
Living in Hartselle is living in a city of tradition, and there is no bigger tradition than sports.
In recent years, the big focus has turned to football. When the Tigers reached the top of the mountain by winning the state championship in Bryant Denny Stadium in 2011, they immediately began planning how to get to the next one.
In Hartselle, those plans begin with the youth. Youth Football Camp kicked off Thur., July 30, and the excitement of football season was in the air.
Coaches Mickey Wallace and Tim Whitt were not at a loss for words to describe their eagerness.
“It’s exciting,” Whitt said. “We have all the varsity coaches out here teaching them, and they really bring the intensity and make it feel important.”
Parents looked on as 115 young athletes split into four different age divisions and took the field. The age groups divided up offense and defense and then into positions. They were taught by the varsity position coaches and worked through the same drills the varsity players go through in practice that are designed to improve what Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey calls “the little things.”
The drills focused on footwork, technique and work ethic.
Varsity offensive line coach Chad Gladden put it in the best perspective.
“Your not always going to be the biggest or the strongest,” Gladden said, “but when you work hard and use the correct technique, you don’t have to be to win the battle.”
The coaches were not the only ones helping on the field. Current varsity seniors showed up to aide the youngsters in working the drills. Three-year starting defensive back/wide receiver Zeth Malcolm was excited to get out on the field and help teach the kids all he has learned over his career at Hartselle. “Hartselle football is just a great program, and it is going to continue for years and years,” Malcolm said. “Its just great to get out here and help, and then when you come back later you know that you had a hand in helping this program.”
The heat didn’t seem to affect the spirits of the players or the coaches as everyone was flying around with smiles on their faces. Chris Hughes, the president of the Hartselle youth football league, was very pleased with the turnout and the work ethic of the kids.
“We’re loving it,” Hughes said. “These kids are the future of the program, and having the varsity coaches out here teaching them is just a great feeling. This is what Hartselle football is all about.”
Times are changing and the only way to keep up is to plan. The future definitely looks bright for the hungry Tigers. The league wrapped up youth football camp Fri., July 31.