JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
COLLEGE STATION — High school football teams might not start fall training camps until Aug. 4, but two Marble Falls High School athletes have already donned full pads and uniforms days before their teammates.
Senior center Sam Kohutek and junior linebacker Chris Carter participated in the National Team Development Games hosted by USA Football on July 14-19.
They said about 200 players from 25 different states were at the camp. Athletes were divided into four teams and participated in two practices each day. The camp ended with two football games.
Carter was a member of the silver squad that beat the red team 33-30, while Kohutek played for the white squad that lost to the blue team 17-16.
At the first camp Carter attended, the linebacker lined up at defensive end. But last week, he returned to his main position.
“Honestly, I like them both,” he said.
Carter said he arrived without any expectations but left a better understanding of each position and more knowledge including how to move more quickly and reading the pre-snap.
“It turned out to be a lot more fun,” he said. “I met a lot of people, learned a lot and had a great time.”
Kohutek said the offensive linemen concentrated on run blocking and pass protection before getting drafted for their teams.
“I liked it,” he said. “I think it definitely helped me become more confident. At USA Football, I wasn’t just blocking against (District 25-5A players), I was blocking the better players in the country. It helped me with confidence.”
He said most of the material presented to him was a review of what he already knew. But a technique he will implement is staying low and exploding into a defensive player. He also learned more shapes and shifts, which is important when it comes to handling different blitzes.
One of the fun activities in which the players participated was watching the movie “When the Game Stands Tall,” the story of the De La Salle High School football program in Concord, Calif., that had a 151-game winning streak during a 12-year period.
“It was probably one of the better football movies I’ve seen in a long time,” the center said. “It was a very cleverly done movie. It inspired me to do better in the season.”
Both said the development games made them look forward to training camp with their high school teammates even more.
“I feel very confident with two-a-days coming,” Kohutek said. “The two-a-day practices (with USA Football) were tough.”
“It’s exciting to put the pads back on again,” Carter said. “The first time it got me excited.”