Just days before reporting to Latrobe for training camp, several Pittsburgh Steelers players and staff members hosted two youth football camps for hundreds of young athletes.
One camp was July 19-20 at West Alleghney High School and the other was at the organization’s South Side Complex on July 21.
Mike Marchinsky, Youth Football/Marketing Manager for the organization headed up both camps.
Current and former Steelers who participated in the two day camp were Charlie Batch, Isaac Redman, Baron Batch, rookie Terry Carter, John Malecki, Mike Schneck, Craig Wolfley and Cortez Allen.
“Isaac Redman was great,” Bryce Mayak said. “He took time to talk to us and he picked on us. Charlie Batch was funny.”
Jaden Witosky added, “My group did a drill wrong at Craig Wolfley’s station and I had to do up-downs. He was always making us growl.”
Bryce said his favorite part of the workouts was doing special teams and getting to kick the ball back to the players. Jaden, who was participating for the second year, said he liked running a deep route and having to catch the ball over his shoulder best, because he looked over the wrong shoulder first but still was able to catch the ball.
The 9-year-old friends, who enter fourth grade in the fall, participated in eight stations. They had coaches at each station. They were able to catch passes, take hand-offs like running backs, do a bear crawl through bags, a relay, a fumble drill and defensive drill where they had to yell bingo for interception to let teammates know to block.
“The players also taught us a life lesson at each station,” Bryce, who likes both the Steelers and Redskins (because of dad Kevin) said.
Jaden, an avid Steelers fan, added, “School work is very important. You can’t even get close to the field if you don’t study and do well in school.”
Alan Witosky, Jaden’s dad, said, “I was very impressed with the players. They walked around and talked with all of the people. They took photos with us. It was great.”
Both boys said Mike Wallace is their favorite player and that they received the chance to attend the camp for their birthdays.
After the camp concluded, the boys got autographs from every player except Carter, magnets, T-shirts, stickers, two tickets to a preseason game — where they will get to go on the field before the game, a Kid’s Club membership and the chance to participate in two training camp events on Tuesday and Friday.
Kim Mayak, mother of Bryce, said, “The camp was so much more than I thought it would be. The boys were taught like they were real players.”
Geni Witosky, mother of Jaden, added, “They are very well organized. Both years I was very impressed with how much the boys learned — they were told when they did good and when they did bad. I liked how the players were the coaches and taught the kids about being football players.”
Both Bryce and Jaden said their new skills will pay off this year when participate in Somerset Little Eagle tackle football.
Brothers Seth and Michael Rosey of Hooversville play youth football for Conemaugh Township. Seth is a linebacker and running back. Michael plays on the offensive and defensive lines.
They attended the morning Gatorade youth camp with about 130 other kids, and were a bit disappointed they didn’t get to meet or be coached by any of the players.
“We did four stations,” Seth, 9, said. “We ran through cones, jumped over bags, ran routes and did a fumble drill. I did a front flip on a catch when I ran a route.”
Michael, 8, added, “I liked tackling the dummies. That was my favorite part.”
Seth said his favorite player is Troy Polamalu because he is always tackling people. Michael is a Ben Roethlisberger fan.
The boys received stickers and magnets after the camp. They are the sons of Mike and Kerry Rosey.