Mesa County Junior FB Association teams get some tips from Mavericks
After much discussion, two Grand Valley football programs finally got together on the field.
Saturday’s Mavericks Kickoff Classic brought together the Mesa County Junior Football Association and the Mesa State College football team at the Mavericks’ practice facility.
The football camp run by Mesa State featured all 37 of the MCJFA’s teams — grades 2-6 in the morning and seventh and eighth grade in the afternoon.
“We’ve been trying to get it going with the (junior football organization),” Mesa State head football coach Joe Ramunno said. “We went to them and said we’d love to do this because we want to reach that group.”
Jim Bratcher, the president of the organization, said the camp is a step in the right direction for what he always envisioned the league’s preseason camp would look like.
“We’ve tried to do it ourselves but we aren’t in the camp business,” Bratcher said. “This is a really good camp and you can see it’s a success.”
With the Mavericks heading into training camp next week, many of the Mesa State players ran the drills.
“We have so many of our players here that it’s good for them to work with the kids,” Ramunno said. “It’s a good football atmosphere that’s a good kickoff for this entire valley.”
Many of the youth players are transitioning from their summer sports to football. Brandon Lovato plays for the sixth-grade Chargers, and said it’s good to get back on football field.
“It’s been a good camp,” said Lovato, who plays defensive back and wide receiver. “I wanted to get used to the ball again.”
The goal of the camp was to have the Mesa State players run the position-oriented drills — ranging from the offensive linemen working on the player’s first step to linebackers putting the youth players through agility drills.
“The kids came in here with an empty slate and didn’t know what to expect,” Bratcher said. “But they’ve been busy every minute and that’s the key to a good camp.
“I’m hoping the kids realize they got to spend the day with successful football players.”
Mesa State’s goal is to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title, and the youth players are also chasing a crown.
“We want to win the (junior football) Super Bowl this year,” said Trey Morrioo, 11, of the sixth-grade Chargers. “At this point of the season, it’s about having fun.”
Mesa State has its own youth football camp Monday and Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m.