East Georgia Pop Warner is approaching the start of the 2014 season at full throttle.
After a free football clinic at Greenbrier on Monday, July 14, former Westside High School Patriot, University of Georgia Bulldog and current Kansas City Chief Sanders Commings headlined the second annual East Georgia Pop Warner Local Heroes Football Camp at Grovetown High School on Friday and Saturday.
Commings flew into Augusta for the Pop Warner camp while preparing to enter his second training camp with the Chiefs on Thursday.
“I wanted to come back to the Augusta area,” said Commings. “When I was a kid I didn’t get to do anything like this, so I wanted to give the kids something positive.”
Those attending the camp were put through their paces for two days by Ryan Bowers and his ATHELITE team. They warmed up, went through drills and had a game at the end of it all.
“He does so much for the kids,” said EGPW CEO Jimmy Cronan, who said that Bowers was the one who got Commings to participate. “Realistically, whether you’ve got 10 kids or 100 kids, he’s going to make the kids work, he’s going to make sure they come out and sweat and he’s an integral part of what we’ve done this year.”
Brett Hammett, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Lakeside MIddle School was enjoying the camp.
“They work you real hard and explain how to do the drill and how to improve in your work,” said Hammett, who liked Commings. “He’s a really good guy and he played for Georgia and I’m a Georgia fan, too.”
Bowers also brought in locals to help with the camp, including former Lakeside Panther Tony Perella, who is entering his junior season at Mercer University.
“I still work out with Ryan every day,” said Perella. “I love working with kids. We do it at Mercer, too, and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. It’s great to give back to the community here too in Augusta.”
The final on-site sign up for East Georgia Pop Warner is at Dicks Sporting Goods on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Cronan expects close to 1,200 players in the league this year. Practice starts on Aug. 1 and the first game is in the beginning of September.