A competitive game of “Sooner Ball” was the highlight of the eighth annual Chickasaw Nation Day of Champions Football Camp, conducted July 8-10 at the Ada High Football Complex.
Ninety-six Chickasaw student athletes turned out to learn more about football from the professionals. The camp was led by University of Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel and his father Ken Heupel, a 41-year coaching veteran and a host of outstanding coaches.
Josh Heupel said the camp improves each year camp staff returns to Ada.
“This camp stresses discipline, trust, respect and hard work, and now we have repeat kids and they know the expectation of the camp. We enjoy being here.”
The camp consists of two days of intense football drills at the Ada High Indoor Football facility, followed by a fun-filled day of “Sooner Ball” and an autograph session. A camper’s parent, older sibling or guardian gets to participate in the final games.
“We are also finding ways to teach students how to be a better citizen, and better in life by stressing hard work and the importance of determination and goal setting,” said Ken Heupel.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the camp coaches have always stressed “work ethic, teamwork and personal responsibility.”
“Football camp does more than help students develop football skills, it helps them develop leadership and life skill,” said Gov. Anoatubby.
Jimmy Tishomingo Wynne, from Blanchard, attended camp this year for the third time.
“Each time I attend I learn more about the game of football,” said the 13-year-old Bridge Creek Jr. High student.
Sooner Ball is Jimmy’s favorite part of camp. He is not alone. Most all other participants polled said Sooner Ball was also their favorite.
Pauls Valley (Okla.) High School defensive end Kelvin Blister said he has picked up new tips and techniques all three times he has attended camp.
When asked about his favorite part of camp the 16-year-old said, “I like playing Sooner Ball a lot, it is fun.”
“I didn’t know many proper techniques and now I do,” said Cale Crossley, a Newcastle third grader.
Cale’s grandfather, Lee Crossley, observed the camp from the sidelines.
“This camp is great, he has never played before and this gives him a chance to learn the game before school starts,” Mr. Crossley, of Del City, said.
Day of Champions coaches include Earle Mosley, Brian Miller, Matt Rice, John Norman, Matt Rice, Justin Iske, Waleed Gaines, Josh Brewer, Lee Blankenship, John Norman, Matt Brand, Dustin Perry, Mike Woods, Joey Halzle and JD Harris.
Each coach on the roster has coaching or playing credentials from major universities, including the University of Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Baylor and University of Arizona.
For more information about Chickasaw Youth Camps, visit www.chickasaw.net.