River Parishes Football Camp focuses on education first

Peter Silas Pasqua
Former Donaldsonville quarterback Roy Sam teaches defensive back fundamentals during a drill at the River Parishes Football Camp at DHS Saturday midday.

Former Donaldsonville quarterback Roy Sam spent Saturday at the track teaching kids defensive back drills.

The McNeese State signee wanted to give back to what had been taught to him through the years.

"This is where we started and we are trying to show them the opportunity," Sam said.

Preston Davis, 10, spent the day participating in drills focusing on the wide receiver, quarterback and running back position.

"You have to work as a team with one another," Davis said.

Davis' brother, De'Andre Davis, 8, also learned something in the First Annual River Parishes Football Camp.

"You have to work hard to earn something," Davis said.

Focusing on the tri-parish area of Ascension, St. James and Assumption, the camp drew 80 participants, according to coordinator Ricky Semien.

"I just think between these three parishes, they have so much talent and there is really nothing for these kids to do in the summertime," Semien said.

It was never more evident than this year's Super Bowl, which included 11 players from Louisiana and three from the area, Jarvis Green of Donaldsonville, Corey Webster of St. James and Brandon Jacobs of Assumption. 

Semien came up with the concept upon taking a position to teach World Geography and Free Enterprise in November at Donaldsonville.

"When I first presented the idea, I kind of got discouraged but once we got on the same page everything fell into place," Semien said. "This is great for the community. I can't wait to do it again next year. Every year."

Semien got plenty of help from former players and even current NFL performers.

Coordinator Spencer Harvey said the camp focused on giving kids in the area and opportunity by demonstrating drills.

"Basic fundamentals of football," Harvey said. "Getting in the proper stance. We want them to be better football players but better people first."

The day began early with agility drills and shifted to offense and defense before focusing on the importance of education.

Southeastern Louisiana thrower, Tremaine White, volunteered after just missing out on qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trails.

"This is home to me," White said. "I enjoy sports and helping young people by setting an example for them to go to college."

Donaldsonville coach Brian Richardson, an American History teacher, volunteered to give back.

"When you look at how many football players who have gone on from these three parishes, it is astounding," Richardson said. "You have to give something back. We have to build on what we started. We have to create some excitement and keep it going. The next NFL player is here today. The next college graduate is in this group."

Aaron Green, a police officer and vice president of Elias Sports Management, spoke to the children about seizing their opportunity. Green is Jarvis Green's older brother. 

"You are student athletes first," Green said. "A lot of you won't have the opportunity to play beyond high school. Once you get the next level it is more difficult. The selection process is limited. Whatever you start, you have to try and finish. Follow the thin line to give yourself an opportunity. Without education, you can't do anything."

Howard Green, a defensive tackle with the Seattle Seahawks spoke about the rigors to the NFL.

"This is my roots," Green said. "Why not come back and give back."

McNeese State signee and former Donaldsonville running back Champlain Babin also got a chance to give a few pointers to his brother Shaqueel.

"I just like being with the kids," Babin said. "I like doing it for them."

Quinton Foster, a Southeastern Louisiana signee said he looked up to Jarvis Green growing up and wanted to give back to the kids growing up today.

Harvey hopes the camp can move to Assumption next year before heading to St. James and then back to Donaldsonville.

"Every three years switch it up," Harvey said.

Semien thanked Donaldsonville principal Gwen Boudreaux and the faculty and staff for use of the facility and Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Graugnard's Inc. and Robyn Delaney for sponsoring the event.

"This is great for the first year," Semien said. "Thanks to all the kids that came out."

Donaldsonville's Shaqueel Babin bursts through a tackling dummy held by his brother and former Donaldsonville running back Champlain Babin.