Thompson football gives back to community with annual football camp

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

ALABASTER ­– The Thompson Warriors welcomed over 250 kids to Warrior Stadium for their annual Thompson Football Camp on Monday, July 10.

The players and coaches took time out of their offseason preparation to defend their four straight 7A state championships to spend a night with the next generation and teach them how to be better football players.

For all of the Warriors involved, it was well worth it to have a chance to meet the people who support and look up to them.

“It’s just a way to give back to the community as far as knowing the kids, talking to and shaking hands with parents and community stakeholders as well,” Thompson secondary coach Durrell Fuqua said. “It is a pretty cool experience as a coach.”

The younger kids took part in a fun night of learning fundamentals with bag drills and the basics of football. The older group of campers got more specific training for the positions that they play.

Fuqua and the coaching staff agreed that separating the groups was a great approach because the kids go the most out of it.

“We all feel like that went really, really well because kids got a lot of reps,” Fuqua said. “The kids had a lot of fun as well with them so it was a great experience for not only for the kids but also for our staff.”

Thompson players ran the drills and activities at each station, which allowed the kids to meet their favorite players and play football with them. The players took advantage of the opportunity they had to have fun with the kids and make Monday a special night for everyone who came out.

Coach Fuqua said it was rewarding to see the interactions between the kids and the players since the players went all out for the entire night.

“We really loved to get the kids involved with our players,” Fuqua said. “Our players just took ownership of each group that they were working with. And they just had a really good time with the young kids and made it a great experience for the young ones.”

The Thompson Football Camp has been a summer staple for years. Even some of the current Thompson players had a chance to meet the players that they came out to watch every week and looked up to as heroes. Now they were able to do the same for kids around the community in hopes they too will suit up for the Warriors one day.

Even though the Warriors have become a national powerhouse and run a very busy offseason program, head coach Mark Freeman and his players and coaches made it a priority to keep this tradition alive so they can give back to the community and give kids around the Alabaster area the same chance to learn from their heroes that today’s players did when they were younger.

“Coach Freeman always says most of our kids went through the youth camp when they were young as well,” Fuqua said. “So just seeing those kids coming through the camp, going through the drills and everything is really a joy because we not only do we just see those kids at the camp, but we see them coming to the games, we’ll see them at our homecoming parade. Some of our players, they’ll work with the youth programs, so our players are used to seeing the kids.

“It’s just a great experience for them to be looked at as role models because they once looked at the older guys before them as their heroes.”