PDT Sports Writer
Near record-breaking temperatures did not prevent former Portsmouth High School football standout Gerald Cadogan from hosting his first-ever football camp Friday at Portsmouth’s Trojan Coliseum.
“I was a little discouraged at first just because we didn’t have the numbers that I expected that we would have (in pre-registration),” Cadogan said. “(But) today the kids just kept coming and coming and coming.”
An estimated 110-plus kids from grades 3-12 coming from as far East as Gallia Academy and West as the Cincinnati-area participated in drills offered by the former Penn State offensive lineman.
“It was just a true blessing that they were able to hear about it and sign up,” Cadogan said.
Cadogan was joined by former Nittany Lion teammates and current NFL players Tim Shaw of the Tennessee Titans and Stephen Wisniewski of the Oakland Raiders. Locally, Darren Crabtree (Valley), Rob Woodward (Wheelersburg), Merrill Triplett (West) and Curt Clifford (Portsmouth) all gave instruction at the camp.
Cadogan said some of the trainers reported turf temperatures as high as 115 degrees during the second session of the day. Fortunately, both the coaching and medical staffs were able to keep weather-related illnesses and injuries to a minimum.
Not only did Friday’s camp offer football training tips to area athletes, Cadogan also wanted to spread the message of setting personal goals.
“I hear a lot of people always say (they’re) from Portsmouth, we’re a small town and make excuses,” Cadogan said. “I wanted to encourage them to set dreams and to dream big.”
After a warm-up session conducted by members of the SOMC Life Center, the campers went through a series of agility drills. Instructors then gave offensive and defensive positional training before finishing the session a passing period and with a question-and-answer segment in the Trojan locker room.
Once the camp ended, Cadogan’s former teammates gave positive reviews about the city from an outsider’s perspective.
“They said, ‘Wow Portsmouth, it’s a nice, little place,” Cadogan said. “It’s a small town but it’s nice that you’ve got the river, you guys have the hills,’ and it’s refreshing to hear those things about your city because normally we get so caught up on the negative about Portsmouth.”
Cadogan gave much of the credit of the camp’s success to the organizational and promotional committee that included Shaw, his mother Maureen, brother Anthony, Scott Gampp and Chris Lowery. He said the process from idea to event started in February.
“I couldn’t have done it without those people,” Cadogan said.
Cadogan also thanked Clifford, Portsmouth Athletic Director Joe Albrecht and Ralph Applegate for allowing him to conduct the camp at the school’s football facilities. Major financial sponsors for the event included the SOMC Life Center, Dr. Trinidad, Gatti’s Pizza, Dakota’s Restaurant and Scott Schmidt, who helped provide small gifts to campers after the event was completed.
As for future camps, Cadogan—who is currently a free agent after a stint with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders expired—is up to the idea. The most memorable part according to Cadogan was when the campers asked him when it would take place next year.
“In my mind, that’s when you know the kids were excited and the kids enjoyed it,” Cadogan said.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.