Pelham hosts youth football camp

By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter 

PELHAM – Fall camp will begin as soon as next week for many football programs across the county, and as Tom Causey heads into his sixth season as the Pelham High School head coach, the time has come to focus, but first it’s time to give back.

Causey and the varsity football team hosted their annual Panther Football Camp from Monday, July 22, through Wednesday, July 24, exactly one month from the kickoff of the regular season.

The camp was free to all who attended as kids from kindergarten through sixth grade covered Bobby Hayes Field for drills and instruction from active players and coaches.

“We’ve partnered up with our city league that does a great job of keeping our guys connected to their players and their players to our guys,” Causey said. “Since I’ve been here they’ve shown that’s something they really want to do, and we want to be involved in the youth league down there.”

Causey has a big interest in keeping his players involved in the lives of the youth and it’s an approach he’s taken everywhere his coaching career has taken him.

“We do a couple of different programs throughout the year,” he said. “My wife and I have used the ‘Adopt A Player’ program everywhere we’ve been, and each classroom in the elementary schools will have at least one of our players assigned to it. So it puts a little pressure on our kids to behave in the right way, and when the kids come out here, we’re showing them what being a high school player and young man looks like.”

Being a good player is important, but being a good example as a person, to Causey, is much more important when it comes to the influence his kids can have on the children who look up to them.

“We try to teach them the fundamentals of this thing and let them have a little fun, but it’s important for them to be around our kids and it’s my hope they see something in our players,” he said.

It goes back to Causey’s own upbringing and the indelible mark some of his childhood heroes made on him as a young player.

“When I was a kid, the high school players were my heroes,” Causey said. “Some of them went on to the NFL, but you don’t know that in the third or fourth grade. I didn’t watch TV growing up, I said I wanted to be those guys.”

As the regular season draws nearer, the importance of the moment isn’t lost on Causey. He knows his team will soon be tested in what he believes can be a big season for his program.

“It’s been interesting, we’ve lost 25 seniors so we’re pushing our young guys to step up,” Causey said. “I think it’s a critical year for us because we need to prove to our community that this is real.”