The Del Norte football team returned from its annual trip to the Gold Beach Team Football Camp this week, and once again the Warriors had a strong showing.
“We were one of the most together units and one of the most wellbehaved teams up there,” said Del Norte head coach Ray Rook.
The Warriors were also one of the strongest teams at the camp as they proved on Saturday night in the team weightlifting and agilities competition.
“Every year since I have been the head coach we usually compete very strongly in that,” Rook said. “We had a lot of kids looking forward to that. It is a good time for them to measure themselves against what other programs are doing.”
Del Norte seemed to stack up well with Landon McAlexander winning the heavyweight bench press lifting 255 pounds, Steve Maready winning the lightweight squat with 350 pounds, Chad Bell winning the skill position 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds and Colton Davis winning the lineman 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds.
Rook said Del Norte had a player finish in the top three in every single category.
Although the Warriors enjoyed showing off their strength, the main focus of the camp is to come together as a team.
“The No. 1 aspect is team-building,” Rook said. “The No. 2 thing is giving every kid a chance to compete for possessions, to get an early look at them and start moving the team to what we hope it is going to be come fall.”
The Warriors took 61 players to camp, along with the entire coaching staff. Six of the players were incoming freshmen and the rest were sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“I am really big on the team-building and bonding,” Rook said. “We have different events like a campfire every night, a T-shirt swap, there are 500 kids in this thing and it is pretty cool.”
The Gold Beach camp also features lots of skills competitions, including lineman competitions such as tug-of-war, tire flips and an agility course. There are also 7-on-7 passing drills for the skill players. Rook said Del Norte had an impressive showing in both competitions, with the Warriors going 4-1 in the passing drills.
Del Norte also got a chance to compete in a 25-minute running clock scrimmage. The junior varsity scrimmaged Bend High School and the varsity took on Modesto Christian.
“The scrimmage provided a real-game scenario to allow the coaching staff and players to get an idea or a preview of this year’s team,” Rook said. “We were able to get some players on film at game speed to evaluate for the upcoming season.”
The Warriors had three players named to the All-Camp teams. Quarterback and defensive back Steven Maready and linebacker and running back Matthew Coopman both made the All-Varsity team. Running back and linebacker Corey Osborne was selected to the All-JV team.
Every year, Rook says, this camp is one of the most memorable experiences of the year for the kids.
“I have ex players that will call me to find out about camp or they will show up to see what we are doing,” Rook said. “That tells me that this camp has really impacted these young men’s lives.”
Although Rook was encouraged by the team’s camp performance, he cautioned that a good summer camp doesn’t always translate to a fast start to the season, or even a good preseason. Rook said the team still has plenty of work to do before the season starts at home against Piner on Aug. 30.
“Hopefully it will springboard them into the summer, get them in the weight room and get them excited about the season,” Rook said.