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Trinity hosts camp for defensive backs

NATCHEZ — It might be only May, but the action at Trinity Episcopal on Saturday had much more of a fall feel to it.

Trinity hosted a football camp for defensive backs instructed by Sam Petitto. More than 30 athletes from several area schools participants.

“I didn’t think it was going to be this big,” Trinity football coach David King said. “We basically did this by word of mouth and had very little advertising for it. We had participants from Trinity, Cathedral, Natchez High, Ferriday, Wilkinson County, Silliman and McDonough 35 out of New Orleans.”

Participiants spent several hours in the morning and a few more in the evening doing drills and learning techniques from Petitto, who has coached at several different colleges, including North Carolina and Alabama.

“Sam and I have been friends for a long time, and he does a lot of these skill camps,” King said. “I got a hold of him and invited him to do one here. It’s something we would like to do on a yearly basis.”

Petitto was assisted by several college and professional players, including Antinio Baker, who was a member of the All-WAC team for Louisiana Tech, and Greg Fossett, who played some for the New Orleans Saints last season.

Petitto said he was pleased with the turnout and the coaches with whom he worked.

“I’m impressed with the turnout and the fact that they all came to work today,” Petitto said. “Everyone was full of energy, upbeat and energetic. We had great facilities to work with here, and I’d like to make this a yearly camp. We did really well for year one.”

Summer camps like the one Trinity hosted have become a recent phenomenon, as coaches try to keep their players sharp throughout the summer.

“I think (summer camps) are critical to a team’s success,” Petitto said. “It gives the players a chance to see some live action. There is a lot of competition out there and (camps) give players not only the opportunity to compete against some really good players but also receive some great coaching.”

Natchez High coach Lance Reed said in addition to the defensive back camp at Trinity, his quarterbacks will attend the Manning Passing Camp hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning, the linemen will attend a lineman camp at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the team will attend a seven-on-seven camp.

Reed said summer camps help keep his players’ focus on the game.

“It’s a lot of repetition kind of thing,” Reed said. “They are able to work on the things in the summer that we work on at school as well. They get some more reps in and are able to compete against some of the better players around the area.”

The abundance of summer camps prove football is no longer a season sport, King said.

“If you are going to be good, it is a year-round commitment,” King said. “Things like (summer camps) are good for the programs. Kids get individual attention they need and they enjoy seeing the college players and coaches.”

Cathedral coach Ron Rushing echoed those sentiments.

“High school football is very competitive,” Rushing said. “Each day you have got to do something to improve. These individual position camps are a great way to do that.”

There is a cost to each of the camps, and Reed said the school does what it can to keep players from having to pay the fee themselves.

“We have to find some creative ways to pay for at least a portion of these camps,” Reed said. “We will do fundraisers to help with the cost. We have to watch our dollars and do the best we can so the kids don’t have to pay out of pocket too much.”

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