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Teams take different approach to camp

Lovejoy coach Al Hughes says that going away to camp the last 17 years has created many memories for both players and coaches. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Lovejoy coach Al Hughes says that going away to camp the last 17 years has created many memories for both players and coaches. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Some prefer to leave campus while others hold their preseason football camps at schools.

At least in Clayton County they have that luxury.

The opportunity for camp in Henry County appears to be a thing of the past.

Because Henry County schools start classes on Monday, teams will not have the opportunity to hold camp. Coaches in the county are involved in pre-planning for the school year.

“It would be nice to be able to have those extra practices,” Luella coach Nic Vasilchek said. “We just have to maximize our practices.”

Lovejoy is in Mount Vernon at Brewton-Parker College for its annual camp, which runs through Sunday.

“It is the best thing in getting the kiddies away from home, the mall, their girlfriends and the mommies,” said Lovejoy coach Al Hughes, who has been taken teams away for camp the last 17 seasons. “You get the chance to control their daily schedule. It is the opportunity for the team to form some camaraderie. Our camps serve a twofold purpose.”

Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior used different formats for camps, including an all-day camp at school, going away and sleeping over at the school. Manior said the best results occurs when he takes his team away from campus.

The Tigers leave today for a four-day camp in Hampton at Camp Fortson, which is about 30 minutes from its campus.

“When I was a player, my best experience was at camp,” Manior said. “When you leave campus, it gives you a lot of time together. I think you get more out of it. The kids concentrate on football, and we also have a lot of fun.”

With the technology of the Internet, Manior said the players are not totally isolated from the outside world. He said during their down time at night, players are allowed cellphone use.

“I’ve had coaches suggest that we take their phones, but I wasn’t in total agreement with it,” Manior said. “You just have to keep with the times.”

Although the Georgia High School Association rules doesn’t allow consecutive days of two-a-day practices, coaches say they still can get a lot of work done.

“You just have to stick tight with your schedule,” Hughes said. “We are all about the safety of the kiddies. We have made some modifications to our schedules to make this work.”

Henry County coaches said that because they go back to school earlier than their Clayton County counterparts, they have to get the most out of summer workouts.

“The months of June and July are really important for us,” Locust Grove coach Clint Satterfield said. “Luckily, we have had full participation in our volunteer workouts this summer.”

While camp is about football, coaches say its not all work.

“Over the years, we have built a lot of memories,” Hughes said. “I’ve been on Facebook the last two weeks, and a lot of our former players are sharing a lot of war stories.”