Youth football camp held at West Bladen

DUBIN —Despite a day better suited for swimming, about 40 youngsters came out to West Bladen’s football field for the second annual Richard Howell Youth Football Camp on Saturday.

The turnout represents nearly a doubling of participants from last year, which left Knights head coach Russell Dove encouraged.

“Increasing the numbers is always what you hope for, and we saw that happen,” he said. “And even though it was hot, things went great and we had a good group of kids. We managed to keep them well hydrated.”

Howell, the strength and conditioning coach for the Indianapolis Colts, is a Bladen County native who played football with Dove in high school. His joy in working with the youngsters was evident from start to finish.

“Richard was pretty happy with how things went,” Dove said. “He enjoys coming home and working with young players, as well as getting the chance to visit with family.”

The camp, along with Howell and Dove, also featured a number of former West Bladen players and its current coaching staff to run the drills. The camp was offered free of charge to area youngsters between the ages of 7 and 14, and each one received a free camp T-shirt.

Dove said some of Saturday’s drills had some adjustments made from last year to make them more useful.

“I think the kids got some things out of the camp,” Dove said. “They had a good time and seemed to enjoy being able to interact with the older players and our coached.”

The Richard Howell Youth Football Camp is part of the National Football League’s “Play 60” movement and is operated under USA Football.

Plans are already being put together for the camp next year.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.