At Cass High's football camp Wednesday, the goal was having fun, and head coach Rick Casko said about 80 youngsters were scoring left and right.
"We wanted it to be fun so football is a fun experience for them," Casko said. "We wanted them to learn some football but have fun ... so they'll be interested in getting involved in this great game."
The 80 or so youngsters -- including an additional number of underprivileged youngsters as well as coaches' kids -- spent three days learning about the game, everything from how to evade tacklers, crash through blocking schemes to working with teammates during the various scrimmage games sprinkled heavily into the coursework.
Casko said the camp brought a lot of elements together, from his coaches working with youngsters, the kids playing, their parents watching to members of the Cass High team participating.
"Our football players helped and got to see these young kids looking up to them," he said. "They were leaders of groups. They were involved as coaches. They didn't have to come here. In fact, they came here after their morning workouts [because] they love the game of football and they want to be around this, too."
The camp also featured former Cass High great Richard Samuel, who now attends the University of Georgia, where he was recently switched to running back.
"Richard is having a ball," Casko said. "The nice thing is they understand his roots."
He said Samuel is proof that hard work does work, noting the former Colonel is playing for a Division 1 school but has not lost sight of what got him there.
"He talked about [how important] school and grades are to the campers," Casko said.
The coach said football is just part of the reason Samuel is getting an education and has an opportunity to help Georgia on the football field this season.
"He told them how hard work pays off," he said. "That's the thing we are trying to teach all these kids and what he's talked about. Just work and good things will happen. That's our motto."
Fun and friends
Macland Shay, 11-year-old son of Devon and Brenda Shay, liked the fun, the friends and the lessons.
"I liked playing with my friends, and the things they teach about football," he said. "It's also good to learn about leadership and good sportsmanship."
Chance Hatcher, the 11-year-old son of Shay and Crissy Hatcher, said the camp has helped him learn how to play the game better. "I have learned about new positions on the line, how to get into stances and how to play offense."
He said it's also fun.
Adam Jernigan was at the camp as a sort of shuttle service for four young boys -- two of whom were his sons, one a nephew and a fourth the son of a friend.
Jernigan said he enjoyed carrying them to the camp and the sleepovers.
"I love it. Football is a big part of our lives," he said.
The 1997 Cass graduate, who lives in White, said his sons -- Eli, 8, and Asher, 6 -- have been getting an education about football.
So is their dad, who also coaches 8U football through the Bartow County Parks and Recreation Authority.
"It helps me to see how they run their drills and then to apply what I learn with our players," Adam Jernigan said. "It teaches the youngsters a lot about execution in football and the work ethic it takes to be a better player."
Jernigan said the camp says a lot about the people who put it on.
"I think it's good for my children to see someone like Richard Samuel take time off to come here and help out. Having him here helps show how someone can come out of Cass and Bartow County and make it to the next level, if that's the path they choose."
He also said the camp also shows how interested Coach Casko, his staff and football players at the camp are in their community and reaching out to help youths who won't be playing high school ball for several years.
"It shows they are community-minded," he said. "They are coaching forward."
Drake Eddy, a Cass sophomore who plays left tackle, said while the camp is a lot of fun for all those involved, it also gave him a new perspective.
"I remember when I was little at these camps, how I used to look up to some of the high school players who assisted and think how they were adults. They seemed like teachers.
"Now I'm one of them and have youngsters looking up at us."
He said it changes how he sees adulthood.
He said he feels like he's doing something important by participating. "It makes you feel like you're a better person for doing this."