CLARKS SUMMIT – The lettering on the backs of each of 70 T-shirts declared “I Am a Future Comet.”
One of the most important parts about Sunday’s Future Comets Football Camp for Abington Heights head coach Joe Repshis, however, was the way it mixed past, current and future players from the program on the fields together for a day of fun learning.
“The whole concept is sort of bridging the gaps of the future potential Abington Heights Comets, the current players and the past players,” Repshis said. “It’s something we really try to tie into this day.“
Repshis and his assistant coaches were on the field, too, but much of the instructing was done by almost 20 current Comets and another 10 former players in the successful program.
“The staff is out there, but we really emphasize and encourage the high school players and the alumni to get involved,” he said. “A lot of the current players or past players came through the Junior Comets program, so it’s like a full cycle for them as well.”
The 70 youngsters, ages 6-14, including two girls, went through a series of non-contact football drills.
The group was heavier in players at the younger ages, many of which have not yet played junior football, making the camp an introduction to the sport. While not all will ultimately end up being high school players, even those who will not be future Comets had a chance to learn the sport while enjoying a day of activity together.
“We want the campers to really feel comfortable interacting and engaging with the players,” Repshis said. “We want to make it a real fun and enjoyable experience.”
The camp has been held for the last 11 years under Repshis’ guidance and also had been held at times prior to his arrival as head coach.
The nearly three hours of activity were split into an offensive and defensive half.
In each case, players were able to choose a position group, such as identifying themselves as quarterbacks, running backs, linemen or receivers on offense. Although they started at their selected position with specific instruction there, they eventually rotated to various stations to learn more.
“We just try to give them a general idea of the different positions,” Repshis said.
The non-contact setting allowed for learning about the sport and the drills are done in a safe scenario.
“We’re promoting exercise, socializing and being active,” Repshis said. “It gave an opportunity for some of the participants who had never played the sport to feel what it’s like and see what the game of football has to offer.”