With a chance to get a good look at his incoming football prospects, new The Dalles varsity coach Andy Codding dressed down 48 athletes, up from 28 last season, at the Wildcat Football Team Camp from June 22-25 on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville.
Five players claimed camp awards, and the Hawks outscored McMinnville, River Ridge, Wash., and Hudson’s Bay, Wash., 49-14, in a scrimmage jamboree held on Tuesday.
“I just want to emphasize how impressed I was with the commitment from the 48 boys who went to camp and the hard work they put in,” Codding said.
In addition to the Linfield football staff, several former Linfield coaches and players, who are now coaching in the high school ranks, along with other guest high school coaches, provided instruction and aided with camp leadership.
A few of the focal points revolved around continuing to emphasize team development, whereas individual skills were worked on at the individual skills clinic, giving the players a multi-faceted aspect to everything in the sport.
“We are trying to build by getting kids to camps, and we are exposing them to a camp environment with college coaching and just an intensive football experience,” Codding said.
Daily, the teams got up for breakfast, listened to announcements and then broke off into groups for running back, linemen and quarterback individual drills.
After individual drills, the teams went at it in full pads for eight plays of offense and defense for multiple sessions against different teams.
Once those scrimmages were completed, the teams went to lunch, and then repeated the same schedule until dinner.
The teams had scrimmages again after dinner and engaged in a ‘Wildcat’ challenge.
In six scrimmages, The Dalles played against Olympia, Wash., Century, Corvallis, McMinnville, River Ridge, Wash., and Hudson’s Bay, Wash., and played to an even final versus Olympia on their first day wearing pads, then came out on top against every other team.
“We’d have coach’s meetings every night to go over the next day’s schedule,” Coding said. “On the first night, I had teams that didn’t want to scrimmage us because they wanted tougher competition. By the end of camp, I had the same teams not wanting to scrimmage us unless we held out our starters.”
Last summer, Seufalemua (offensive line), Chris Charpentier (defensive line), Gabe Helseth (quarterback) and TJ Green (wide receiver and defensive back) were given all-camp honors for their stellar play on offense and defense.
Five TD players earned awards for their solid camp performances, led by Mac Abbas, who was selected as a defensive lineman and tight end.
Dalles Seufalemua, an all-state winner last season, notched top votes as a defensive lineman, Jess Larson scored a camp award at defensive back, and incoming senior Xavier Orion Olaez claimed a spot as an offensive lineman.
While those five were given awards, Codding was sure not to overlook the skill sets displayed by Steven Preston, Zach Anderson, Green, and his two quarterbacks, Gabe Helseth and Skyler Leeson.
No positions are set in stone, as Codding said that every spot is open for the taking.
“We are just trying to give kids an opportunity to compete under pressure and see who rises,” Codding said. “The goal is not to determine a starting lineup at our camp, the goal was to make them continue to work hard over the summer and compete for those spots in the fall.”
Codding said that several of his younger players rose up to the challenge, including linebacker and running back Dusty Dodge, and two sophomores, Shane Floyd and Jaxon Pullen, who played every defensive snap across the four camp days.
“My two sophomore corners were lights out,” Codding said. “They shut down our opponents’ passing game in every scrimmage. They were amazing the way they just stepped in and owned those spots.”
Over the rest of the summer, TD is scheduling weight room sessions from 5-7 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
There are three 7-on-7 passing camps planned for July 11, July 18 and July 25 at times and locations to be determined.
Daily double practice sessions begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19, the official start of fall sports practices.