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Football squads airing it out at summer camp

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If you think high school football is all about running the ball, you weren’t at Tec Voc High School on June 25 when the pigskins were flying during the WHSFL 8-on-8 Passing Camp.


Fourteen teams from 13 schools — Sisler sent a pair of squads — worked on executing and defending the passing game in a series of 30-minute games.


Camp co-ordinator Ken Gordon was pleased with the turnout, up from the 10 teams that took part in last year’s inaugural event. The field included Beaver Brae from Kenora and Vincent Massey from Brandon.


When Gordon was the offensive co-ordinator at Sisler in 2009, he took his team to a similar camp at the University of North Dakota and saw a marked improvement in his team’s execution the next season.


"It helped us establish a ball-control offence," he said. "Lots of high percentage passes."


Each team had a quarterback, a centre, and six receivers. The quarterback had four seconds from the snap to throw a pass.


When all was said and done, Murdoch MacKay beat St. Paul’s 20-14 in the final. Quarterback Drenin Busch made some tough throws despite gusting winds, and his cast of receivers didn’t let many balls hit the turf.


"At the start I was underthrowing my receivers a bit," said the 16-year-old, who will be in Grade 11 next season. "But we got it sorted out later on. I was hitting deep balls and everything. This will help with our timing and enhance our passing game."


Busch is expecting the Clansmen to unleash an aerial assault on the rest of the Potter Division in the fall. The team’s offence was already pass-happy last year, but Busch is hoping to add a running threat to open things up.


"My receiving corps is golden this year," he said, unable to contain a smile. "I can’t wait to see how things turn out."


Head coach Ron Bresch was just as enthusiastic about the depth the Clansmen have at the skill positions.


"I’ve never seen this kind of weaponry before," he said. "Ever."


On hand to present the trophy to the Clansmen was Blue Bombers quarterback Joey Elliott, who recalled playing in many similar tournaments throughout his high school years in Indiana.


"It allows you to do something in the summer besides lifting weights and running," he said.

"You can learn a lot from it."


Gordon said he thought there was an increase in passing in the WHSFL last season, possibly as a result of the tournament.

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

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