Lil Pup football camp a hit at Natchez High

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2006

Tim Cottrell

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ &8212; As the end of another day of the Camp Lil&8217; Pups football camp is fast approaching, Natchez High head football coach Lance Reed decides it&8217;s time for a little fun.

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&8220;Let&8217;s get in groups of twos,&8221; he tells the assembled campers. &8220;It&8217;s time for a competition.&8221;

After each camper finds a buddy, Reed allows one to go out for a deep pass from another Natchez assistant while the other covers him.

Laughter, cheers and plenty of other noises reverberate through the walls of the Steckler Multi-purpose Center on the Natchez High campus as players catch &8212; or fail to catch &8212; each pass.

While walking through the line, Reed asks two young men if they are together.

&8220;Are you two in a group?&8221; he asks.

&8220;Yes sir,&8221; the campers respond.

&8220;Do you think you can cover him,&8221; Reed asks one of the campers.

&8220;I don&8217;t think he can catch it,&8221; he responds.

Reed said he felt it was important to close out the day with something fun for each camper.

&8220;We finish each day with some kind of competition,&8221; he said. &8220;We&8217;ve had cone drills and all kinds of stuff. We just want to have a little fun.&8221;

Camp finally closed up shop for the day at noon, when Reed sent the campers scrambling for Powerade bottles. A mad dash ensued to be the first to grab one.

Any football coach attempting to rebuild a program will often do so with camps aimed at getting youngsters excited about the sport again, and Reed is no exception.

Reed said that after two years on the job he felt comfortable enough with his team to begin working on the community.

&8220;We&8217;ve talked about (putting on a football camp) for a while,&8221; Reed said. &8220;At the time we came in here, we felt we needed to focus on our team first. I feel like now we&8217;ve found a window where we can start to do things like this. We had about 20 campers and we&8217;ve had a good time.&8221;

The camp opened Monday morning and closed out Friday.

Reed said the campers went through virtually every drill a football player can go through.

&8220;We&8217;ve kind of gone through drills at every position,&8221; he said. &8220;We wanted to show them each one and let them pick the one they&8217;re most interested in. We just want them to gain some knowledge in the things we teach them about.&8221;

With this camp wrapped up, Reed said he was working on plenty of other ideas to reinvigorate the Natchez football world.

&8220;We have a lot of ideas of things we can do,&8221; he said. &8220;Hopefully this camp keeps getting bigger. We&8217;ll have other things, but right now we plan on continuing this camp. This is our first year, and it went great. We had a lot of fun around these kids.&8221;