Hounds set camp for youth

Eastern New Mexico University senior quarterback Steven Hinson, shown last fall in a game against Angelo State, is one of several Greyhounds football players scheduled to take part in a free camp for area youth in Portales on Aug. 9. CNJ file photo

By Dave Wagner

With the start of football practice just around the corner, the Eastern New Mexico University football team is looking to involve area youth with its program.

ENMU running backs coach and special teams coordinator Mike Walton is in charge of a free youth football camp, scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 9 at the Greyhounds’ practice facility.

The camp is open to youngsters entering kindergarten through eighth grade, Walton said, with several ENMU coaches and about 30-40 players also participating.

This is the second year of the camp. Walton said the coaching staff came up with the idea as a way to give back to the community.

“We were just trying to think of things we could do that didn’t cost a whole lot, but would help the community,” said Walton, a an All-American linebacker for Hounds in 1998-99 from Earth, Texas. “It gives younger kids a chance to interact with a college football player they may look up to, in an environment that both the young kid and the player can enjoy.”

Most of the players who participate are either starters or top backups, Walton said, and selected by the coaching staff.

“It’s the players who are going to be running it, and it’s a chance for kids to interact with them,” he said.

Senior quarterback Steven Hinson participated in the camp last year, and said he enjoyed the experience.

“We want to help the younger kids out, and help them understand a little more about football,” Hinson said. “It’s fun to interact with the kids, and I think it helps our team come together too. It’s a fun time.”

For the younger kids, the camp is designed primarily as a fun outing, Walton said, adding that older participants “will work on some skills like running (pass) routes, taking handoffs, learning how to throw a ball and things like that.”

ENMU players are scheduled to report for camp on Tuesday, with practice beginning on Thursday. The Hounds open the season on Aug. 28 against Central Arkansas at Blackwater Draw.