MADISON, Fla. — Whenever he takes a team to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp, Richard Vester has three goals he wants to accomplish.
Those goals were met for the Hamilton County Trojans last week after traveling to Lanier Field in Madison for a five-team camp on July 10 followed by another camp with Branford in Lake City on July 11.
Those goals include getting reps on the field for the players, an opportunity to spend time together as a team and bond and absorbing the message from the speaker at the camp.
“It was two great days,” Vester said. “We certainly accomplished our goals from camp. I was very pleased. Thought we came back a better team than when we left.”
In Madison, the Trojans faced off against some of the premier teams in the state, notably two-time defending Class A champion Madison County. Also attending were Baker County, which played for the Class 5A state title in 2017, Chiles and Trinity Catholic.
“We got better football wise,” Vester said. “Respected statewide, all four of them.
“It was a great confidence builder for our kids, and not that you keep score or anything but they competed every down.”
Against that top competition Vester was proud with how his Trojans battled and competed. Hamilton County had only 14 players attend the camp, which featured three teams lined up on offense at a time, each getting a turn right after each other against one defensive team while the fifth team got a break. The rest of the teams had closer to 50 players each.
“Our kids went both ways and they went hard every snap,” Vester said. “There was no fear, no backing down. They competed just like they belonged there. So I think that was a big confidence booster for them to know they can line up and compete with anybody.”
The July 11 camp in Lake City featured just Hamilton County and Branford. That allowed for a slower pace and more teaching, Vester said.
But again the camp allowed for the Trojans to improve.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” he said. “(Madison) was super high-paced, high level of football. Then to turn right around the next morning … we worked on some situational stuff and worked on things we needed to work on. Slow things down and teach and correct some things.
“Our goal every day is just to get a little better. I certainly felt like we did that.”