KINGSBURG - In a summer evening with brisk weather, the Kingsburg High football team hosted approximately 50 youngsters at it’s annual youth camp at Vikings Stadium on Thursday.
The camp’s youngsters were in the 6-13 age range and were split into five groups. The kids participated in a five-drill circuit, ending in obstacle course to conclude the night. The drills focused on the fundamentals of the game including blocking, forming a tackle, catching, and throwing.
Viking coach David Wilson described the night as a “kickoff to football season” and a way of serving the community.
“Giving back to the community is what it’s all about,” Wilson said. “This community does so much for us. They fill the bleachers up on Friday night. Whenever we have a fundraiser, they all participate with it and this is the least we could do.”
One of the camp’s notable faces was former Vikings standout Tyler Bray, who is currently a quarterback for the Chicago Bears. It was the fifth-straight year that Bray was involved with the camp.
“It’s getting back to where it started,” Bray said. “This is basically where my football career started.”
Bray and his younger brother Austin Bray, who joined the Kingsburg coaching staff this season, conducted a drill that focused on the basics of the quarterback position such as dropping back and throwing. Austin is another former Vikings quarterback.
The older Bray, who is entering his seventh season in the league, enjoys teaching the game to a younger generation.
“A lot of kids, all they ever see is Madden Football on their Xbox or PS4,” Tyler said. “So anytime that they could get some live interaction and try to play football, it’s good for them.”
As for the current Kingsburg quarterback, Jett Jackson, he was one of several varsity players involved in the camp, assisting players and coaches with drills. Jackson’s group of kids he helped led were known as the “mighty mites” of the bunch.
When reflecting on his childhood, Jackson remembered he used to be one of those kids participating in the youth camp.
“I remember as a little kid of just always dreaming of being a Viking and always coming to these camps looking up to the high schoolers,” Jackson said. “So now that I am a Viking and when I coach these little kids, I know how much it means to them and how much they look up to me. You want to coach them up to be a Viking and also have a lot of fun with them.”
Growing up, Jackson remembered getting his first glimpse of Tyler Bray when the current Kingsburg signal caller was on the other side of participating in the camp. Since joining the football program, being involved in the camp every summer is important to Jackson.
“Now that I’m a player, a player that kids probably look up to, I really look forward to this even to just promote Kingsburg football to youth,” Jackson said. “I look forward to coaching up little kids and getting them ready to be a Viking.”
The youth camp lasted for 90 minutes and each participant received a t-shirt at the conclusion of the event.
With the youth camp done, the Kingsburg football team will shift it’s focus to the 2019 season, which is scheduled to begin with a road matchup against defending Central Section Division III champion and state runner-up San Joaquin Memorial on Aug. 23.
Last season, the Vikings fell 42-28 to the Panthers at home.