July 17, 2013

Kids pick up pointers from the Rampage

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— Georgia Rampage defensive back Lee Hilt offered lots of advice at the Dalton indoor football team’s one-day youth camp Tuesday evening.

The best piece may have been something that didn’t have anything to do with intercepting passes, making tackles or any other traditional on-field skill.

“The most important part of football is the touchdown dance,” he told campers. “You have to have a good touchdown dance.”

Practicing their own celebration after scoring make-believe touchdowns was just part of the experience for the kids who attended the event at the John Davis Recreation Center in Dalton. The three-hour camp included offensive and defensive drills for ages 6-12.

Bryce Stanley, a 12-year-old Christian Heritage School student, said he knew a lot of what was taught but learned new routes as a wide receiver.

“I learned the square route, where you go like a post and then cut in,” Stanley said.

Hilt, who played indoor football season for the first time this year, called interacting with kids his “favorite part” about playing at the professional level. However, his touchdown dance bit was offered somewhat tongue in cheek. He was just giving the same advice he received.

“I’m not that kind of a flashy player,” Hilt said. “Last season someone was joking and said, ‘A big part of indoor football is getting the crowd into it.’ The more I saw, it kind of is. The fans are right there in the game so it’s about getting the crowd into it.”

After every touchdown, the campers did their own unique reaction.

“You can tell they’ve seen a lot of stuff on TV,” Hilt said.

For Ethan Abrams, a 6-year-old Westside Elementary student, his celebration came after taking a handoff and lowering his head into Rampage player J.P. Duncan. Abrams then spiked the ball.

“That was the best part,” Abrams said.

All campers received a free T-shirt and a ticket to a Rampage game for the upcoming 2014 season, when the team begins competition in the newly created Xtreme Indoor Football League.

Co-owner Kacee Smith said he wasn’t sure if the camp would be a recurring event or just a one-time experience for local kids. He said his expectations were for 10 to sign up, and he exceeded that goal by one

“I think everyone enjoys this type of stuff, where we can do instructional stuff with kids,” Smith said. “I love it.”