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Summertime on the gridiron

August 22, 2002

Suzie Harrison

Deep in their scrimmage the young athletes worked toward the

common goal of making a touchdown. The only thing that can keep a

wide receiver or one of the running backs from making gains is the

tearing off of one of the flags to either side of their hips.

It's just like a tackle, but less painful.

The camp teaches the fundamentals of flag football to kids ages 7

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to 14 five days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Since the players are different ages they practice throwing the

ball first and partner to see who can catch and who can throw and get

an idea of their skill level.

"We throw the ball and then we start some routes and have them run

and see who can catch under pressure," said coach Ramsey Marcus.

At the end of the day, after practicing their plays, routes,

throwing and catching, the kids get to play a scrimmage.

"What we try and do is teach the receiving routes and fundamentals

of throwing and catching," explained director and coach Ryan

Crawford.

It's time for the scrimmage and the last afternoon of the camp.

The boys have been told that they'll be able to play with water

balloons after the game and their enthusiasm is riding high.

"The older kids like to take care of the younger kids. It's a cool

thing," said Marcus.

Coach Crawford designates new captains for the two teams, making

sure the boys have had a chance to lead.

It's yellow flags against the red with a coach on each side

playing quarterback.

Breaking to their respective side of the field, it was time for

kickoff. Time for the boys to utilize the skills that they have been

improving all week.

"I've learned how to play because I haven't played football

before. I got a lot better," said Nick Aguila, 8.

The teams have their huddle and strategize the next play. Yards

are gained and it's time to regroup before the next play.

It's red's ball and the player is running, then doing a nice spin

move to gain more ground. The next play yellow got a fumble recovery

near the end zone on third down.

Parents watched their children scrimmage.

"It's awesome for Jake," said Lorrie Barton of her 7-year-old son.

"It was his first time playing football. The coaches are really good.

The kids have really bonded with them."

The game is tied at 14 and both teams are ready.

Scrambling, running and deflecting -- another touchdown is scored.

Game over. The players came charging off the field and grabbed the

water balloons -- it was war now.

* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter with Times Community News. She may

be reached at (949)494-4231 or by e-mail at

suzie.Harrison@latimes.com.

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