From August 9 to August 11, Cottage Grove High School (CGHS) Lions football coaches and players led a camp for prospective football players between third grade and eighth grade. The camp took place on CGHS turf and was an opportunity for the Lions to impact future generations. Most of the students who participated were part of either the South Lane Youth Football Association or will be part of Lincoln Middle School’s football program this fall.
Cottage Grove area resident, Erika Owen, placed her son in the camp and had this to say, “[My son] has been interested and wanting to learn more about football, so we signed him up for this camp to resume his training with Lincoln Middle School. He is a seventh grader, so he is just learning the fundamentals right now. I think [the Lions football camp] is a really good program that introduces kids to the game and encourages them to move forward… to learn more about it,” Owen said.
Gavin Grogan, who is a sophomore wide receiver for the Lions, was one of the high school students willing to volunteer to help with the camp. “I’ve always wanted to be the helpful type of player. I’ve been playing for two years, but I also played back in the fifth grade, then I stopped. Most of these kids [in the camp] haven’t learned a lot from their past experiences like I have, so me being able to teach them is better for them to be able to learn,” Grogan said.
After battling COVID-19 restrictions and coaching changes, this year was the first time since 2019 the camp was help by CGHS. Lions coach, Joe Polamalu, and several other local coaches helped lead and organize the event.
“[The camp is comprised of kids] from third grade through eighth grade, so there is a big range of kids. It can make it a little tough; we try to keep it fun with a lot of competitions and try to get a lesson in every once and a while,” Polamalu said. “It’s been great for our older kids [who are volunteering]; they’ve been getting a lot of responsibilities. We just sent the word [out], and \had a great turnout of older kids coming—probably 15 to 20. They’ve helped out with the little guys and understand what it means to give back. They’ve had fun doing it.”
CGHS begins their season on September 2 at home against Pleasant Hill. The Lions are looking to build off a difficult last couple seasons where the team missed the state playoffs. While leading the camp, the team also held morning workouts. On Monday, August 15, it began its mandatory practices for the season.
“It was a busy week, but it’s the only thing I know. Getting the [CGHS] kids in to lift, then turn the nob down and then turn it back on. This tells me we are getting really close,” Polamalu concluded.