Callaway High Head Football Coach Pete Wiggins continued his annual youth football camp Tuesday, July 10th at the Callaway High practice field. Open to children and teens, boys and girls, the camp built on the event’s tradition and boasted a large turnout.
Wiggins, who has turned the Callaway High football program into a state and county powerhouse, holds the one-day camp as a way of helping aspiring athletes.
And the program has a record of doing just that.
“[Our seniors] are working the camp, and a lot of them actually participated in the camp when they were younger. That’s the neat thing—to see kids grow up. We’ve had a lot of guys that went through our camp as elementary and middle school kids and went on to play for us.”
The camp, taught by Callaway coaches and a select group of seniors, provides an experience that kids and parents can’t get enough of.
“We do have a lot of repeat kids. A lot of these young people I recognize, and they’ve been in our camps before,” Wiggins said. “I think that makes it very special that kids enjoy the day and keep coming back. I think that’s part of what makes it successful, and I think the parents appreciate it and enjoy it.”
For Wiggins, the camp is another way of growing the Callaway family.
“There’s a lot of excitement, a lot of fun,” he said. “We want the kids to come out and learn a skill and enjoy the day and just build on the Callaway family.”
The head ball coach’s comment is as literal as it is figurative. Wiggins’ youth football camp has proven to continuously highlight the importance of family in football in multiple ways.
“It’s a big family. To see the familiar faces and the younger brothers and sisters of former players is really special,” Wiggins said, recognizing the various families that have participated in the camp.
And it doesn’t stop there. Callaway’s coaches also help make the annual program a family event.
“Our coaches enjoy this day. A lot of the coaches’ kids are here participating in the camp, and it’s just a special day for Callaway. We like seeing all the young people come out and building relationships and camaraderie.”
The three-hour camp incorporates elements of real Callaway High practices. Athletes perform some of the same stretching and training routines as Callaway High players and get a first-hand taste of what playing football at a higher level is like from one of the most successful coaches in the state.
The camp concludes with a special 7×7 tournament that includes both players and coaches.
Affectionately termed “Callaway Ball,” the game caps off the morning with a oneof- a-kind twist.
“It’s a seven-on-seven tournament, and we break them up into several teams. One of our coaches will be the quarterback of each team, and they have a good time,” Wiggins said. “I think that might be one of the most fun points of the camp for them. We use the entire field and have games going across the field. I noticed a couple of our coaches warming up in here this morning and talking about winning Callaway Ball.”
Callaway’s seniors, fresh from helping with the camp, will return to the field next month as Callaway kicks off its regular football season. Coming off a convincing summer scrimmage, the Cavaliers look to continue their dominance.
The author of this article can be reached via email at jboggs@troupcountynews. net.