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Pop Warner goes camping with a Falcon

Posted: June 5, 2013 - 12:13am
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Mark Smock (left), of the Greenbrier Wolfpack, and William Campbell, of the Grovetown Grizzlies, work on a blocking drill at the camp.  Scott Rouch
Scott Rouch
Mark Smock (left), of the Greenbrier Wolfpack, and William Campbell, of the Grovetown Grizzlies, work on a blocking drill at the camp.

Heading into its second year, East Georgia Pop Warner Football held a showcase event June 1-2 at Grovetown High School.

Headlined by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the league’s camp was run by local Ryan Bowers and his ATHELITE staff.

Weatherspoon, who is entering his fourth season with the Falcons, contacted EGPW officials to set up the camp.

“I just wanted to give back to the community,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s kind of cool to come out here and see a little different scenery and get out here with the kids and just have a good time and try to bring ’em some hope, have a little fun, talk about being coachable, making good decisions, school, taking care of things at home. Just positive messages today.”

The 93 players who attended the camp, representing all of the league’s associations, ran through two days worth of drills followed by games of two-hand touch at the end of each session. Weatherspoon’s attendance was the highlight for many.

“The most fun part is that Sean Weatherspoon came,” said 10-year-old Dorian Peric. “It’s awesome and really fun to be able to act close to him.”

Along with former professional football player Bowers, those running the camp included college players like Grovetown alum DJ Tyson, who plays for Howard University, or those about to head to college like University of Georgia-bound Brendan Douglas of Aquinas.

Hinson Fowler, who will be an eighth-grader at Augusta Prep, was pleased to be able to learn from such an experienced group.

“It gives us a lot of excitement about learning a lot about football,” Fowler said.

Bowers was glad that someone with the NFL stamp was willing to come out and share his expertise.

“To have him come and spend time with these kids, that’s priceless for them,” Bowers said.

“It says that somebody’s who’s in a great place makes me feel like I matter and that’s really what it does for them.“

While the camp was about football, like Weatherspoon, Bowers stressed that it was about more.

“These young kids, they face a lot more today then we ever faced,” he said. “So these camps are an opportunity to teach them things like discipline, integrity and character, about choices.”

League CEO Jimmy Cronan, who praised his volunteers and the overall efforts of Grovetown High School head coach Rodney Holder for the league, was pleased at the camp’s conclusion.

“With this many kids and and I think with Sean being here, he drew the kids in and Ryan drew them in himself,” said Cronan, who anticipates the camp getting bigger next year. “Ryan actually set this thing up perfect. He had the stations perfect, he did everything he was supposed to do, so no complaints on my end.”

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