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Coaches help players
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Around 122 youth signed up for the second annual Ceres Cowboys Football Skills Camp.

Just 86, including 15 walk-ons, attended the non-contact camp at Mae Hensley Junior High on Saturday.

"That's still a good turnout for a little city like this," said Cowboys President Reg Evans. "I'm pleased. The kids had a lot of fun."

Many players showed up but had to leave early because they had other commitments.

"A lot of the kids are playing baseball in tournaments," said Mo Walker, head coach of the Cowboys novice team.

Added Evans: "It's also Father's Day weekend."

The camp, which was open to boys and girls ages 7-14, started at 8 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

More than a dozen coaches from the Cowboys organization, including Evans, Walker, Tom Vasquez and Gerardo Fernandez, provided instruction in tackling, blocking, passing, catching, kicking and basic football terminology and fundamentals.

There were two featured speakers at the camp.

Former professional football players Nick Eddy and Harry Johnson delivered similar speeches. They both talked about the importance of obtaining an education.

Eddy, who starred at Notre Dame and played for the Detroit Lions for seven years, asked and answered a host of questions during his 20-minute speech. He also flashed his national championship ring and signed autographs.

Parents and coaches chuckled when one player asked him, "Did you wear a leather helmet when you played?"

Another child wanted to know what kind of car Eddy drove.

"A Ford Explorer," Nick replied.

Johnson spoke at the camp for the second year in a row. He played defensive end in the NFL for five years.

At the end of the day, players participated in a punt, pass and kick competition.

"We gave away two trophies in each age bracket," Evans said.

Alex Lopez and Alex Fernandez placed first and second, respectively, in the 7-8 division.

Jeremy Cruise and Brandon Lee placed first and second in the 9-10 division.

Dominick Walker and Josh Miranda placed first and second in the 11-12 division.

Joseph Davis and Brendon Verdugo placed first and second in the 13-14 division.

If Evans gets permission, he'll hold next year's camp at Modesto Junior College. He wants to work with coaches and players from the Delta Youth and Trans Valley Youth football leagues.

"I'll keep trying to make it better," he said.- By DALE BUTLER

Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier