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Arrowhead Football Camp is about more than just football

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Burroughs High football coach Rand Holdren watches several participants go through a drill during the Arrowhead Football Camp at Memorial Field.
(Miguel Vasconcellos)

BURBANK — Burroughs High second-year football coach Rand Holdren had a couple of points he wanted to get across while standing near the end zone at Memorial Field.

A contingent of about 15 participants sat in a huddle and listened carefully to Holdren, who told them what the week-long Arrowhead Football Camp would entail.

The camp, which began more than 20 years ago before taking a one-year break in 2018, had plenty to offer about football, exercising and discipline. Holdren and his assistants specifically explained how to do a variety of drills at the event, which began Monday and wrapped up Friday.

“There’s a rich involvement with football, but also in learning about other things such as proper exercising and learning how to be on time and organized,” Holdren said. “You take pride in doing all of those things the right way and you start to see results. It can be with football or anything else.

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“We go over the basic fundamentals, such as passing, catching the ball and learning how to tackle the right way. We give them a verbal evaluation, so they know what they can improve on. It’s like a life lesson that they can take from the camp. There’s definitely plenty to absorb here.”

Most of the participants, who ranged from 5 to 13 years old, resided in Burbank and neighboring towns.

Attending the event proved to be educational and fun for many of the attendees.

Former National Football League player Matthew Hatchette, an Ohio native who is the offensive coordinator at Loyola High, spoke at Monday’s session

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“When I was a kid, we didn’t have any small youth football camps and I grew up not that far from Cleveland,” said Hatchette, a receiver who caught 60 passes for 887 yards and six touchdowns in 65 contests while playing for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars from 1997-2003. “They had camps at Ohio State University in Columbus, but it was just something missing where I lived.

“I took a complete break from football for the first year or two after I retired. I wanted to give back and help out at youth camps because football is something I love. Some of the kids may or may not go on to play football, so I tell them to follow their dreams and passion in whatever they choose to do.”

Holdren and Hatchette, who are friends, observed the participants complete a series of agility ladder drills. The purpose of the exercise is to help athletes become more nimble. In the drill, the campers worked for about 15-20 minutes by hopping, bouncing and running forward and sideways.

“These are the kind of drills that are so important and you want to get down,” said Ryan Hernandez, 13, who attends Jordan Middle School in Burbank. “I’m trying to work on my speed and doing things quicker.

“I’ve come to this camp and some others. It’s just about the experiences of having fun and learning.”

Haven Vickers, 9, made her inaugural camp appearance.

Vickers, who attends Robert Lewis Stevenson Elementary School in Burbank, said she’s been involved with Jiu-Jitsu for about six years.

“I liked football and I want to play football,” Vickers said. “A lot of these drills are great. Some of them even help me in Jiu-Jitsu.”

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