Baldwin football players improve skills at Grayling camp

BALDWIN — Six Baldwin football players received the opportunity to enhance their skills by attending a high school development camp at Camp Grayling recently.

Athletic director Shawn Williams said the attendees from Baldwin included Brandon Beane, Clay Bowens, Braeden and Brenton Childress, Demetrius Kane and Damon Nichols. It was a three-day camp and about 206 players overall attended.

“They did excellent and had some standouts,” Williams said. “A couple of them got elected to the all-combine team. That means they had good stats on their combine drills.”

It was an NFL and Right Guard-sponsored event.

“I worked with these guys down at Indianapolis,” Williams said. “They do a real good job on skill development and 7-on-7. The NFL selects different sites and locations. They have the camps and the 7-on-7 tournaments. (These six) got selected to go to the camp.”

The players basically expressed their satisfaction on what they learned at the event and agree it was worth attending. Bowens usually plays wide receiver for Baldwin.

“We did wide receiver drills, linebacker drills, corner drills,” Bowens said. “You’re working on footwork, routes, and running them crisper. I learned some new things.”

Kane, a senior, is usually a running back and cornerback. “We worked on our legs,” he said. “It was more of a powerful running back drill and stuff that we did. It was new moves and all that. It was a pretty good experience. It was a good camp overall.

“It was actually my first football camp. I met a whole bunch of kids.”

It’s been a busier summer for these players, considering they’re also in basketball.

Williams is also sending the players to a Detroit Lions camp Aug. 1 in Evart.

Braeden Childress will be a freshman quarterback.

“It was a nice camp,” he said. “It helped us on our individual skills. It really exposed us to a lot, and better competition.”

Traverse City and Cheboygan teams were among the other programs that were represented at the camp.

Childress attended the quarterback sessions.

“We did a lot of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning drills, a lot of footwork and reading the defenses,” he said. “I learned a lot on footwork and reading the defense, cover two and cover three, and where the holes are on the defenses.”

Childress considers himself a pocket quarterback, but said he also can be of the rollout variety. The camp, he said, gave him things to keep in mind with both styles.

His brother Brenton Childress, a junior, has been a running back and wide receiver in the past. Footwork and how to run routes were among the items he learned at the camps.

“It was real beneficial,” he said. “They gave me a lot of pointers that I think will make my game a lot better. It was all right competition.”

He’s also in basketball but hopes to use a lot of things from the Grayling camp this football season.

Beane, a junior, will be a receiver and defensive back, and said he’d like to attend again next season.

“The coaches took the time to show us the little things,” he said, adding that on defense, the emphasis was on “pass coverage, ball movement, where to turn, move your feet and stuff.”

Damon Nichols, a senior, is also a wide receiver and safety.

“We learned new techniques and releases, getting off the ball,” he said. “It was a little bit of everything.”

Various techniques such as new ways of tackling also were provided on defense.

Nichols said players learned some new things at the camp that they can use during the season.

“I’m trying to send our kids out to new experiences,” Williams said. “We’re providing those opportunities so we can be successful. During the summer, that’s when you get better. You don’t get better during the season. That’s when you maintain your skills. I’ll look forward to hosting and sending our kids to many more camps in the future.”