Chance of a Lifetime for Madison HS Football

Chance of a Lifetime for Madison HS Football

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Story courtesy of Madison Courier

When the New York Times published an article last year that detailed Madison football head coach Patric Morrison’s efforts in making football an outlet to steer students away from drug abuse and other related issues in the community, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy took notice.

Last month, the “Strong Youth Strong Communities” Summit hosted by the PFHOF held a special event at Hanover College that included Hall Of Famers Anthony Munoz, Rod Woodson, Darrell Green and Aeneas Williams.

The PFHOF invited the football team to another special event — training at the Hall of Fame facility in Canton, Ohio.

On a bright, early Tuesday morning, 29 high school players and five middle school players rode the bus for an exciting three-day trip. Once they arrived, the team did a football IQ test and got to take a tour of the Hall of Fame.

Each day, before they started camp, the players went to a specific positions classroom session where each position coach talked about what activities and drills were planned for the day. Each position was taught by a former player, coach or general manager from the National Football League.

Also during their time at camp, which wrapped up on Thursday, they were given motivational speeches that talked about leadership and character.

One of the biggest moments shared by Morrison was on Wednesday when a young boy who was battled a tumor in his brain marched onto the field for the last session of camp. Both offenses and defenses lined up with former Ohio State quarterback and current Houston Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller under center. They ran a toss-play to the boy, who went on to score a touchdown.

It was one of many special moments that made the trip worth it and Morrison hopes that his team can take this experience with them to prepare them for the season.

“Our team motto this year is ‘Be the Positive Difference.’ The positivity that I saw from my players and all of the players at this camp was they were all picking each other up and giving each other compliments,” Morrison said. “There were kids from around the world at (the international) camp. Our guys played with guys from Canada, France, Hungary and some from China. It was a great experience and I think the level of competition there told our kids that we compete with anyone in the country or in the world.

“The 29 kids that were there, I hope they take back the experience and character building and hard work to share with all of the other kids that aren’t on our team and help inspire them. I was inspired through our kids and by all the hard work over the last three days.”

The academy paid for all of the expenses of each player that attended, excluding meals. Most of the players that went to the camp also attended the SYSC Foundation at Hanover College.

The Indianapolis Colts have also reached out to Morrison and the team is invited to come see the Colts play against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Aug. 25. Further details are still in the works.

Morrison hopes experiences like this will help drive in more kids that are still on the fence about playing football.

The first official practice begins at July 30 at 8 a.m. All students must have their physical forms completed in order to participate. There will be a team meeting at 8:30 a.m. and then go out onto the field for their first practice session. Morrison also said that lunch will be catered by Vinnie and Sarah’s Smokin’ Barbecue Joint and then head out on another practice early in the afternoon.

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