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SELMA - Local youngsters had the chance to learn from Selma High coaches and varsity players at the Second Annual Selma Bears Youth Football Camp on July 1-2.

The Bears football program hosted approximately 70 kids each day during the two-day event, which was free for participants. The camp was intended for aspiring football players in grades fourth through eighth.

“We worked on a lot of the fundamentals and just getting them used to the terminology,” Selma coach Matt Logue said. “Some of our lower level coaches are already starting to implement [the terminology] and getting involved with the high school and do some of the things that we’re doing.”

With the event occurring a few days before the Fourth of July weekend, camp organizer Rhoda Martinez-Renovato was impressed with this year’s turnout.

“I know last year we had maybe 50 athletes showed up and this year we had over 70. It was a great turnout,” Martinez-Rennovato said. “It was free. We’re able to do it free this year and we were very impressed. At the end of the day, we know that parents were asking about it and we fulfilled their request .”

Martinez-Renovato has a son on the varsity team, who is senior Michael Renovato. Watching her son play his final high school football season will be a bittersweet feeling for Martinez-Renovato this upcoming season.

“This is my last year to enjoy the program and be a part as much as I can,” Martinez-Renovato said. “These kids are a part of me. I got to see them grow and this is very heartwarming to see them to know that they’re the future.”

Each day of the camp had a different emphasis including an offensive focus on the first day and teaching the basics of defense on the second.

On the second day, the defensive session included a five-drill circuit that focused on pursuit angles and learning the form of tackling.

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One of the varsity players involved in the camp was running back/linebacker Adam Rodriguez, who was coaching the participants one of the circuit’s five drills.

“These guys are the future of Selma High football,” Rodriguez said. “They’re going to be in the stands hopefully watching us and it’s always good to just be a bigger role model to them.”

Logue was hands-on throughout the camp including a drill that taught the fundamentals of tackling. He was instructing five different groups of kids on forming and finishing a tackle.

“The most important thing I think the kids like the most is getting to come out here and see the varsity football players,” Logue said. “On the first day when I introduced them all, they knew most of their names already, which is awesome. That means they’re coming to our games and watching football and that’s what it’s all about.”

Logue said the kids’ enthusiasm for learning to play football is one of the reasons he enjoys teaching the fundamentals of football to a younger generation

“There’s a difference in teaching at the age,” Logue said. “You could just put a bag out there and let them tackle it over and over again and they’ll enjoy it.”

With the youth camp completed, the Bears focus will shift its focus to the 2019 season, which begins with a home game against the Kerman Lions on Aug. 23. The opening season contest is tentatively scheduled to be Selma’s first game in it’s new stadium.

“We’re pumped,” Rodriguez said.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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