The Madras football program took 50 athletes to a camp at George Fox University in Newberg June 21-24.
Seven teams participated in the camp, including Madras High School, which, besides being the only Oregon team, was the smallest school in attendance. Madras may have been the smallest school, but the program took more kids to the camp than several of the other programs attending.
This was the program's second year at the GFU football camp.
"The camp was fantastic," said head football coach Kurt Taylor. "Our first year there, we didn't really know what to expect and didn't know how we would compete with bigger schools, but this year we competed really well."
At the end of each day, the camp would hold competitions for the teams. The variety of competitions included everything from red zone attempts to team-building courses.
Madras was able to place second in every single competition the camp put on. "We played very well against big, good teams," said Taylor. "It was really worth it and gave us and the boys a lot of confidence. The biggest thing for us was team chemistry."
The Buffs scheduled a team-building activity in-between camp drills, with communication among teammates about the hardships they have been through and the things that make them who they are as individuals.
"The team chemistry activity was unbelievable," Taylor said. "It was probably one of the best things we have done in a long time. The football stuff is fantastic because we are a lot like Fox. We say the same things, teach the same things, our defense is similar and coach Casey (head George Fox football coach) is my mentor."
"Their staff says the same thing as a cultural standpoint, including our core values and stuff," he said. "They are getting a lot of great football knowledge, as well."
"The main reason why we go is to get our summer rolling and to create team chemistry, which has been our goal for the last three years," he continued. "It hasn't quite been where we have wanted it to be for the last three years and we are finally starting to see it because of camps like Fox and the things we are doing."
"What is a better way to do that than be immersed in football for four straight days, when your dog-tired, sore, sunburnt and your coaches are making you bond as a team," said Taylor. "They really responded and really enjoyed the fact that they became more of a team."
Three players from each team were picked to represent an all-camp football team. David Sumner won the offensive line award for Madras, while Seth Colton won the TAPE (togetherness, attitude, perseverance, effort) award, which are George Fox's core values. Robert Pacheco won the skill player award and the three athletes represented Madras for the all-camp selected players.
Now that the camp is over, the football program will be rolling into summer weightlifting.
"We lift four days a week until the second week of August," Taylor said. "Then it is go time. We will have our youth camp and team camp at that time. The rest of the summer is working out with a couple of seven-on-seven games with some Central Oregon teams."
"The best thing is, the kids are excited," he said. "It is amazing that when we end a four-day camp like that and come home, the kids are dog-tired, sore and they are shaking my hand saying they can't wait for the season. There is excitement brewing with our kids and I think they understand they can do something special if they keep doing what we tell them to do and buy in. It is going to be a fun season and I am really excited."
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