The next generation

Moffat County Bulldog football players inspire youngest fans

Levi Ogden has a new sports hero.

In the 10-year-old's opinion, Moffat County junior Justin Kawcak is the next Randy Moss.

"He's really, really, really fast," Ogden said. "He's a good wide receiver."

Those are the kinds of statements football coach Kip Hafey imagined when he put the Big Blue Football Camp together three years ago.

"We want to inspire young kids," he said. "We also want to teach them life skills like sportsmanship and goal-setting."

More than 40 campers from age 5 to 14 attended the three-day camp this week. It brought many future Bulldogs in touch with the current crop of Big Blue players.

"It's the best when you see the big kids grab an arm of a camper and say, 'Wow, feel that muscle,'" Hafey said. "Then the camper gets a big grin, and you look up at the player, and he has just as much of a grin."

The campers were separated into groups according to their ages, and each group had at least two high school "coaches" with them.

"(Sophomore Nick Navratil) was my favorite coach," said Wyatt Decker, 11. "He taught me a lot of different things about football."

The camp included drills, inspiring talks, Moffat County football history and a lesson about the weight room.

Hafey used the time in the weight room Wednesday night to speak about the past three years of Bulldog football. He reached freshman-to-be Eric Fleming.

"We learned that to succeed you have to be in good shape and lift weights," Fleming said. "I can't wait."

The younger campers also couldn't wait to put on a Bulldog uniform.

"I've always wanted to be a Bulldog football player," said Ogden, who attended as many games as he could last fall. "Now I want to be one even more."

Decker said he was excited to get a chance to play on defense.

"I really like to tackle," he said.

Decker added that he learned tackling was a lot different than what it looked like on TV.

"On TV, it looks like you just run and jump," he said. "I learned that you need to make sure you have your head up and that you wrap up."

After the camp finished, Hafey said he hoped that the high schoolers learned just as much in those three days as the campers did.

"It's important to give back to the community," he said. "They also see the importance they have to the younger ones of our community."

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