PLANO – Running low to the ground, Hudson Lyle only had one guy to beat, but it was his dad.
The two-year-old did a good job of keeping Doug Lyle on his toes, but he could only elude his old man for so long before being snatched up with an assist from 10-year-old sister, Grace.
At the annual Plano Reaper Up football camp on July 18-19, everyone was making plays and having a good time, including Lyle – who spent most of the day chasing down his young Barry Sanders impersonator.
“Quinn did the camp last year,” Lyle said, catching his breath. “He’s enjoying it.”
He was far from the only one having a great experience as Plano football coach Rick Ponx acknowledged that it was easily the most widely attended camp during his tenure.
“We had 75 kids, which is the biggest we’ve ever had, so this was phenomenal,” Ponx said. “And the reason it works is because of (our players). We talk about service and leadership and that’s the best thing about leadership, you can serve others and that’s what these guys do and why I’m so proud of them.”
Ponx said the most attendees they had previously was around 50, so Plano youngsters are showing a great deal of interest in football. The return of a playoff-qualifying Reapers (6-4) squad in the post-pandemic likely helped ignite a spark.
“You’re going to see a team that’s more improved and that’s hungry to win,” Plano senior quarterback/defensive back Samuel Sifuentes said. ”To come back from making the playoffs last season, that drives us this year, so hopefully we get another chance this season and make it further.”
As one of the many current Reapers assisting at the camp, Sifuentes said he really enjoys helping others in the community. His efforts and those of his teammates were not only on display for the kids but for the dozens of moms, dads, grandparents and siblings who came out to watch and support their little loved ones.
“We love our community and we love when the fans come out and cheer us on, so I love doing this,” Sifuentes said. “The fans tell us we’re doing good things and they push us and that helps us to get better as a team.”
As a linebacker, Plano senior Gio Diaz is itching to get out and smash opponents. That time is coming soon for the camp veteran, who remembers when he was just a young attendee learning many of the things he now was teaching the newest kids.
“I can remember the awards and the games, and tire flips and some lineman stuff like the three-point stance,” Diaz said. “I like working with the linebackers and getting ready to tackle.”
A big meal is what 11-year-old Liam Snow said he was hoping to tackle after camp ended on Tuesday.
He certainly was ready for some post-workout food after a couple hours of football.
“I’m really good at running and I like to catch and throw,” Snow said. “This will help me get ready for the start of my football season.”
Plano’s Maria Estrada was video recording her four-year-old Julian Estrada as he scrimmaged while her 11-year-old, Mason Barajas, was running through a fun drill nearby.
“It’s nice that they have something for the kids, especially the little ones,” she said. “Mason likes coming here because he can see his friends and meet new kids and Julian is now getting his chance.”
The young kids often look up to high school players and it comes naturally for Estrada’s kids since Gio Diaz and his twin Alex Diaz are her younger brothers.
“They look up to them,” she said. “They’re my brothers, their uncles, their role models.”
They’re Reaper Up.
Source: The Daily Chronicle