Thursday, July 30, 2009

Buckeyes to begin practices

The 2009 edition of the Gilmer Buckeyes is getting ready to suit up for two-a-days.

The junior varsity and varsity will both report at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3, to the Field House at Buckeye Stadium.

Team meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and the first practice starts at 6.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the freshmen report at 8 a.m. to the Field House, with practice set to begin at 9.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kenny Pettway Football Camp draws about 80 youths


Kenny Pettway, Gilmer High Class of 2000 and National Football League defensive lineman, conducted his third annual Kenny Pettway Football Camp at Buckeye Stadium Friday.

He was joined by five other professional players, Gilmer Buckeye coaches and former players in coordinating drills for some 80 youngsters.

Among those helping Friday were also three former Gilmer quarterbacks, Bran Webb, Olan Johnson and Derek McKenzie.

After conducting drills for both offensive and defensive skills, the young people heard from some of the athletes attending the camp.

Buckeye coaches Max Low and Ryan Pate, who helped at the camp, well remember Stephan Hodge, the sixth-round draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys who came along with Jason Hatcher of the Cowboys.

Gilmer faced Hodge, who played for Tatum in the playoffs in both 2003 and 2004, and was happy to come away with wins over Tatum both years. After four years at Texas Christian University, Hodge goes to camp this month to seek a job on the Cowboy roster.

Alfred Malone, who played with Pettway for the Houston Texans, remarked about how he preferred to come to this camp over some of the others he had attended.

“The kids here listen to what you have to say,” Malone said over lunch with his peers. “They take it to heart and you feel like they will apply it. At some camps, the youth are talking among themselves, and we just feel like ‘get this over and let me out of here.’”

At 6’4”, 312 pounds, Malone has a weight advantage over his friend Pettway.

Earl Cochran, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, weighs in at 287 pounds on his 6’5” frame.

Jason Hatcher, a 3-year veteran of the Dallas Cowboys and a teammate of Pettway’s at Grambling State University, topped the scales at 304 pounds on his 6’6” frame.

At 6’4” and just over 234 pounds, Pettway is a lightweight among these players.

One, Richard Collier, was a teammate of Pettway’s at the Jacksonville Jaguars when he participated in last summer’s camp.

This year he told the youth how a night out cost him his career when he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. A shooting incident at a night club has left Collier without his left leg and his football career.

Last year, Pettway was traded to Green Bay, where he was a defensive end for the Packers, when in week 12 his anterior cruciate ligament was torn. Still in rehabilitation, Pettway hopes to rejoin the Packers once he is cleared from his physical therapy.

As long as Pettway can, the former Buckeye plans to continue to hold these annual camps, and some of the players he has invited to help plan to come with him.

GETTING INTO the swing of things, Casey Irons, one of the smallest players on the field, learns a spin move from Alfred Malone of the Green Bay Packers, a 6’4”, 312 pound defensive end Friday at the third annual Kenny Pettway Football Camp. The camp t-shirt logo includes an “untamed gorilla,” picking up on Kenny Pettway’s nickname.

EIGHTY PLAYERS and 18 coaches gather Friday on the “G” in the middle of Buckeye Stadium. Participating in the third annual Kenny Pettway Football Camp has become an annual treat in the days before two-a-day drills start for players, pro and amateur alike.

Mirror Photos / Mary Laschinger Kirby
KENNY PETTWAY, who gave his annual football clinic at Buckeye Stadium Friday, takes a break from instructing the participants. This golf cart was converted into a replica of a 1957 Chevrolet for Richard Collier to use. Collier, who helped coach last year’s camp, lost a leg in a shooting accident last fall. In the background, Alfred Malone teaches defensive drills, left, while five groups of offensive training take place, right.