More than 30 aspiring gridders sweated their way through four days of the Maverick Football Camp in hopes of earning a roster spot on the Rim Country Middle School teams later this summer.
At the final session of the camp June, 30, eighth grade coaches Jon Gunzel and Jimmy Oestmann -- both former Longhorn football stars -- implored the campers to continue to work on their conditioning and gridiron skills throughout the summer.
"It will pay off next year when we go to play teams like Show Low, Snowflake and Blue Ridge," Oestmann said.
When Gunzel asked if the youngsters had fun and learned a lot about football, the enthusiastic campers replied with a resounding "Yeah!"
Just prior to the final camp meeting, the youngsters battled in a spirited passing league game that seemed to produce a few budding stars.
"We've got some kids that can play," camp coach Mike Loutzenheiser said. Last season, Loutzenheiser was the defensive coordinator for the PHS varsity and has been an RCMS coach.
During the four days of the camp, coaches -- which also included Kenny Hayes and Pat Stone -- taught the youngsters the basics of the Longhorn system the players will use both at RCMS and PHS.
Each morning during the one-half day camp sessions, coaches put the players through their paces learning offensive, defensive and special team techniques.
Another focus coaches say they had was to improve the agility, strength, flexibility, self confidence and physical condition of the campers.
Most of the youngsters who participated will turn out in August for RCMS seventh- and eighth-grade team try-outs.
The Mavericks compete in the White Mountain League along with several other Northern Arizona rural middle and junior high schools.