PCHS football holds first Future War Eagle camp

Putnam County head football coach Shaun Pope (center) takes a group picture with the campers who attended the Future War Eagles camp last Friday.  

By Brandon Bush

brandon@msgr.com

 

Burgeoning War Eagle football stars saw the field for the first time last week.

Putnam County held its first-ever “Future War Eagle” football camp on Friday, June 1, at Al Reaves Field at Putnam County Middle School. The camp allowed children ages 7-12 to learn about football and take their first steps in the sport with the help of Putnam County High School players and coaches.

Drawing in over 40 participants, the camp held individual drills depending on which position each camper played. There was an offensive and defensive portion of the camp before the campers were divided into teams to play several games with each other.

“We’ve had a really good turnout,” War Eagles head coach Shaun Pope said. “We’re glad to be able to work with so many young people.”

Putnam County plans on holding more Future War Eagle camps in the coming years in order to further prepare young people to be a part of the Putnam County football program. With the kind of turnout the Eagles had for last Friday’s camp, future camps are sure to yield a similar number of participants.

Aside from the camp, Putnam County has been preparing for its 2018 varsity season. Joining Pope in his first year are several new members of the coaching staff, including the addition of defensive coordinator Derrick Arrington and offensive coordinator Nick Hayes, who were also present for the camp.

“My family and I are very excited,” Arrington said about joining the coaching staff at Putnam and living in Eatonton. “We’re very excited to come here. Right now, we want to get involved in the community and become a part of Putnam County.”

Arrington replaces Pope, who formerly served as defensive coordinator under previous Putnam head coach Kyle Gourley, while Hayes replaces Matt Riden as offensive coordinator. Coming from Toombs County, Hayes previously coached several players who rushed for over 1,600 yards and went on to play college ball.

“We’re really excited to be here,” Hayes said about becoming the new offensive coordinator. “I’ll tell you what I see at Putnam: I see a ton of athletes. I think you’ll see a more spread out look from us this year. We’re doing a lot more inside zone and trying to get the ball to athletes in space early and often.”

According to the coaches, the campers who attended the camp have been showing a lot of promise and were very responsive to the camp.

“We’re just trying to get kids excited about being War Eagles,” Hayes said about the camp. “Coach Pope is doing a phenomenal job of uniting the community, from the elementary age all the way to the varsity level.”

Arrington also called the camp “amazing” and said he enjoyed working with the campers because “four or five years from now, they’ll be standing in front of us as our players.” Hayes added that the varsity staff will also be coaching the middle school team this year, saying that it will pay “huge dividends” for the future if he can coach a quarterback from sixth grade all the way to senior year.

While the Future War Eagles may have some time before they take the field with the varsity team, Pope and his staff have laid the foundation for a bright future for Putnam County football as the team will look to improve on its 5-5 record from 2017. Summer workouts for the varsity team will be beginning over the next few weeks.

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