Hard-working young gridders of all ages and abilities came out for Dr. Mark Watson's clinic this year

Marking its 14th year, the annual Lakeside Football Camp attracted young men and women from first grader age to junior high for four days of skill building and team dynamic development.

Youngsters from around the area took to the turf under the tutelage of current Buckhorns coaches and players as well as recent alumni and graduates from years further back.

Off & Running

Campers are divided into four groups.

Green were the youngest gridders (6-7), Blue the next oldest (8-9), then Red (10-11), and the Purple group made up of the junior high kids (12-13) rounded things out.

Each group worked with the same coaches throughout the week learning everything from how to throw a better pass to facts about football history to rules and regulations of the game.

Each day at lunch there would be a Quiz Bowl where the campers would be tested on the things they learned up to that day.

Football skills aren’t the only thing on the Lakeside Camp agenda. Varsity head coach Dr. Mark Watson and his band of gridiron greats impart on the campers the values and traditions that make not just for good players, but good people.

“F.A.M.I.L.Y.” is an acronym Coach Watson has borrowed from another program and adopted as a Wallenpaupack theme.

“Forget About Me, I Love You,” Watson says it means. “We have to help each other out both on and off the field.

“We teach more than just a sport. We emphasize good grades; eating right; and respecting others. We want kids to take these core values into the world when they graduate and head into the world.”

Top Performers

Quiz Bowl winners were rewarded with ticket packages to Costa's Family Fun Park.

Those who took home Quiz Bowl awards were Lexy Sprague, Liam Smith, Kevin Fairley and JT Tirjan from Purple; TJ Kapschull, Dane Watson, Jake Carrubba, and Luke Kiesendahl of Red; John Kauffman, Kyle Carrubba, Vincent Desanti, and Eli Peifer from Blue; and Ron Guyer, Drew Kiesendahl, Jackson Bowers, and Xaiden Schock of Green.

Taking home awards for speed were Drew Kiesendahl, Justin Hocker, Jake Carrubba, and JT Tirjan.

Agility prizes went to Jillian Tait, Grady Hearn, Justin Stella, and Rachael Tirjan. Strength challenges were won by Ron Guyer, Jaden Colwell, Jack Smith, and Makenna Peet.

Those who clinched the skills prizes were Xaden Schock, Vincent Desanti, Michael Kromko, and Joe Ingulli.

All things lead up to the Pass, Punt & Kick contest, in which campers combine their total distance for one throw, one kick and one punt to get a yardage score.

Taking the prize for the Green was Drew Keisendahl with 50 yards.

John Kauffman won for the Blue with 59 yards.

Mike Peifer combined for 80 yards to take the Red group award.

Top honors in the Purple group went to Joe Ingulli and Tim Holzapfel tying with 94 yards each. The two had to square off in a tie breaker in order to decide on a winner, which proved to be Ingulli.

Wrapping things up, The Coaches Awards were presented to Ron Guyer of the Blue/Green groups, Luke Kiesendahl of the Red group, and Abby Young of the Purple group.

Dr. Watson noted these campers showed a lot of leadership and tended to be the source of inspiration for many of their peers throughout the program.

Summing Up

As in years past, Watson noted, it was a great time.

After 14 years, once campers are now the coaches, and he fully expects that in due time, some of the current crop of attendees will be out on the field helping to develop future talent as well.

Alumnus Will Hindle and current Buckhorn TJ Root, both part of the camp’s coaching staff recounted that the week was a lot of fun and spoke highly about how the kids in their respective groups all worked hard and helped each other out.

The camp being the unofficial start to football season, Dr. Watson is looking forward to seeing many of the participants on the grid within a few weeks.

Hopefully, they'll be showing off some of their new skills and having a great football season.