Future Wolves training, too

Early preparation for football doesn’t begin at the high school level anymore.

Even though regular-season practices don’t begin for more than a month for the three junior high schools — Cedar Heights, John Sedgwick and Marcus Whitman — that feed into South Kitsap High School, many future Wolves were busy last week from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday for the annual “Junior High Football Camp.”

“This is a chance for the junior high coaches to get together with the kids they’re going to be coaching in the fall along with myself and any coach that is available from the high school staff,” said South coach D.J. Sigurdson said, adding that 75 youngsters from fourth through ninth grade participated. “It’s really good for them to get a week of coaching their kids and they’re able to ask us questions.”

The camp, which cost participants $50 for the week, also allowed coaches to collaborate for an hour each before and after practice to watch game tapes and share ideas, Sigurdson said.

Several South players also volunteered to assist the coaches with the practices.

“It’s very good,” Sigurdson said. “The junior high kids would rather listen to the high school kids than the old man.”

He said the majority of practices were focused “on fundamentals by the position. There’s very little team stuff, maybe 10 minutes per day.”

A pair of ninth graders at Marcus Whitman — 5-11 quarterback/cornerback Kerry Burden and 6-2 wide receiver/safety Mike Shea — both offered several reasons why the practices have been beneficial.

“It’s just great to be out here,” Burden said. “You get to have fun with other schools and other people you don’t know. You get to prepare yourself for the season mentally and physically.”

Both players also were able to watch one another in practice and gave their assessments of what they need to improve upon before the season begins.

“It’s more of a catch-up to me to remember everything, so when I go into the season I’ll be prepared and won’t be re-learning everything,” Shea said. “It kind of teaches you some of the new plays.”

Shea also said, “It’s good to see who you’re up against.”

For Burden, it beats the temptations of summer days at home.

“Sitting at home, you get chips and add weight,” he said. “Coming to this camp, you’re learning fundamental skills, meeting new people and having fun.”

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