Holtville Middle hosts youngsters jamboreePublished 9:45am Wednesday, August 14, 2013
When Holtville High football coach Hunter Adams was looking for a fundraiser for his Bulldogs, Lee Arant had an idea in mind.
“We’re going to host a middle-school football jamboree,” said Arant, who helped organize and run the event hosted by Wetumpka for the past three seasons. “This is a pretty stout fundraiser. And its relatively easy. It takes a little legwork to put it together, but once you get everybody where they need to be and it gets going, it takes care of itself.”
This year, the Holtville Kickoff Classic is scheduled for Aug. 24 at Boykin Field beginning that morning at 8:30.
“I pulled some of my old contacts and made a few phone calls,” said Arant, an assistant coach at Holtville Middle with Robbie Broom and Cortes Mitchell (head coach).
“The older coaches that have done it before, they like the format of it. And you try to take care of those coaches. The coaches that I had talked to began to tell other coaches about it. And to me, that’s a great compliment.”
This year’s iteration of middle-school preseason action features a mixture of familiar faces and newcomers.
Locally, the day features the host Bulldogs, Eclectic Middle and Millbrook Middle/Junior along with Catholic, Trinity and St. James.
“I was really excited to get the teams want to come in this year. It’s great to see they’ve taken an interest in it,” said Arant. “I was surpirsed though by Demopolis, Irondale and Central-Baldwin wanting to come up.”
Demopolis, Irondale (feeds Shades Valley High) and Central-Baldwin (feeds Robertsdale High) join a cast of characters that include Beauregard, Montevallo, Briarwood Christian, Prattville Christian and Goodwyn (feeds Montgomery’s R.E. Lee).
“If we could get 20 total teams to come next year,” said Arant, “that would give us a full day of football.”
The jamboree is set up in a style similar to the 7-on-7 events varsities (and some junior highs) play during the summer.
Boykin Field will be divided into an East and a West end using the 40 as a starting point.
“It’s a preseason game for these teams,” said Arant. “They get to see their teams in action before the season starts. From a coaching standpoint, it gives them a chance to see what they need to work on and go back and fix it. And with three games, you can play some of the kids that normally wouldn’t get a chance to play during the season.”
The jamboree is designed to be a learning experience as coaches are allowed on the field and in some cases the officials will call a penalty and then show the youngster on the receiving end of the call what they did wrong.
“The coaches get to see how their kids are going to react,” said Arant.