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The City Journals

The 2016 Skyline Youth Football Camp: Teaching Little Eagles to Soar

Jul 29, 2016 10:29AM ● By Sarah Almond

Head coach for the Skyline Eagles Zac Erekson welcomes the 40 participants of this year’s Skyline Eagles Youth Football Camp. Several of members of the high school football team look on as they prepare for their first day as volunteer coaches for the four-day camp.

By Sarah Almond

Holladay, Utah - On Tuesday, July 12, more than 40 boys from around the Holladay area ascended on the Skyline High football field to take part in the annual Skyline Little Eagles Youth Football Camp.

Though the camp has been a summer tradition for the Eagles for more than a decade, this year was a little different. In Feb. 2016, the Eagles hired Springville, UT native Zac Erekson as the new head coach.

For Erekson and the 10 Skyline High players who helped staff the camp, leading the youth camp was a new experience.

“This is my first year doing the camp,” Andrew Hockman, a rising senior and the Eagles’ starting quarterback, said. “I’m excited about teaching the little kids what we do at the high school level.”

Having representatives of the Skyline football program help with coaching was important to Erekson.

“We wanted the kids to be able to interact with some of the high school players so they can start picking out some of the guys they’ll be watching on Friday nights and build some relationships with them,” Erekson said.

The four-day camp, which is open to all first- through eighth-graders, runs for two-and-a-half hours, giving Erekson and his staff plenty of time to get to connect with each player and spend time practicing the fundamentals of Skyline football. And Erekson wasted no time introducing the football campers to Skyline protocol.

“I’m Coach Erekson and I’m the new head coach at Skyline,” Erekson said, as he welcomed the 40 young, excited faces to their first day of camp. “One rule in high school is that you never sit behind the coach. When I’m talking and you’re taking a knee, I want to be able to see all of your faces.”

Geared toward kids who play or are interested in playing little league, the camp is designed to teach young players in the area basic proper playing techniques and to inspire an early passion for football.

“We start them young; this is where we generate the interest,” Erekson said. “When these kids want to come to our high school games, then their parents come to the games, and their siblings come to the games and it helps fuel community interest in the program.”

 The first day of camp started with a group tour of the Skyline facility and weight room. Erekson and his coaches then jumped right into getting each kid placed into an offensive position and defensive position.

“Our number one goal is obviously to get these kids out here and have fun,” Erekson said. “But we want them to be able to learn some football and we want them to get comfortable with some of the things they will do in the future when they get to high school.”

One of the biggest aspects of high school football is practicing skill development. And with an extensive coaching background, Erekson dedicated much of the camp to position work. “We really want to focus on the fundamentals of each position,” Erekson said. “After that, we’ll also spend some time working on what the kids learned the day before.”

Andrew and other volunteering players agree that helping coach the camp has undoubtedly gotten them more excited about their own season and playing their first game against Hurricane on August 19.