Though the start of high school football season is right around the corner, Lackawanna Trail got a little bit of a head start with its ninth annual Lackawanna Trail Lion Club Football Camp, which kicked off Monday evening at Lions’ Pride Stadium.
The two-day, non-contact camp, led by varsity head coach Steve Jervis, focused on the basics of football, such as proper form and running technique, stretching and agility and how to incorporate that into several drills for both offense and defense.
“The best thing about our camp is that the whole Lackawanna Trail football family is working together on one field,” Jervis said. “Everyone is working on the same techniques and skills that we’ll all be using throughout the season. It’s definitely a fun time of the year and a great way to get the football juices flowing.”
Members of the Trail coaching staff and varsity players, many of whom attended the camp prior to high school served as counselors for the campers, who ranged from ages 6-14.
“We’re at 44 campers this year and have a healthy number of kids as junior Lions,” Jervis said. “There’s great people and coaches within that program and we’re very appreciate of those who donate their time. Just about 95 percent of the varsity team also came through this camp, so it’s definitely a nice continuity for our program.”
The message of the camp remained the same as in year’s past, with Jervis emphasizing to the young Lions just what it means to be a Lackawanna Trail football player.
“We talk a lot about that before getting into the basic skills that we want to teach,” he added. “We work on using the body properly and the importance of safety, such as keeping your head up while tackling and proper techniques. A lot of it involves things that they can learn at a young age and hopefully carry through into varsity and beyond.”
Also consistent to previous years was a guest speaker addressing the campers to close out the first night of the camp.
This year’s guest was a familiar face to the Lions’ program in Matt Lansiedel, who has served as the team’s offensive line coach for the past several seasons.
Lansiedel played under Jervis while he coached for Tunkhannock Area High School and went on to play collegiate football at Lycoming College.
He started on the offensive line for three years and was a key member of the Warriors’ 2008 Middle Atlantic Conference Championship.
After two years as the assistant offensive line coach at Lycoming, Landsiedel teamed back up with Jervis — this time at Trail and as a coach for the offensive line.
Lansiedel talked to the campers about the friendships they’ll create through playing football, adding that “the friends you make on the field will be friends you’ll have for the rest of your life.”
“The camaraderie you have as football players is something you won’t really get in other sports,” he said. “There’s no better friendships than the ones you form on Friday nights.”
Lansiedel went on to address the importance of doing well in school and hitting the weight room as a player, as well as the importance of time.
“A college coach once told us that if you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have the time to do it again?” Lansiedel said. “Put in the time and do it right, and you’ll be able to create more new avenues. And enjoy it, because your time as a football player will be over before you know it.”
He closed by telling the campers to thank their parents, who also spend a tremendous amount of time involved in the sport.
“I encourage you to give them a big thank you for everything they do,” Lansiedel said.
As for the varsity team, the Lions will continue learning new schemes and summer workouts before beginning to participate in some 7-on-7 scrimmages against other teams.