SPRINGVILLE—About 40 beginning youth football participants from the Springville Little League Football program got an introduction to skills and drills on both offense and defense for a couple hours last Sunday morning, under Springville varsity football coach Rob Valenti and a half-dozen Griffin alumni aides.
The collaboration was the idea of one of those alumni members – Ian Baker. The former Connolly Cup finalist worked out the details with Valenti and it resulted in the first-ever youth clinic that combined some of Springville’s past greats with those just starting out.
“It was just a great group effort. We had talked about doing this for a number of years and we finally got it going with six young men that are high character guys who handle themselves in the right way and make such great role models for young people,” Valenti said.
Aside from Baker the group of instructors were Bryce Szudzik, Pat O’Brien, Connor O’Brien, Pat Hannon and Mike Hannon. All will either attend, or have recently attended a college football program.
With the age of the participants ranging from 6-11-years-old, four groups were formed by age with four stations of instruction. The first hour each group rotated stations to learn aspects of offense and then in the second hour repeated the process learning defense.
The alumni who participated in the instruction came from six different colleges. The Hannon brothers will both be competing for Alfred University this upcoming season. Baker will attend Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, Ohio), Connor O’Brien is on the Springfield College (Springfield, Mass.) roster, Pat O’Brien played for Utica College and Szudzik is at Brockport.
Initially, Valenti had anticipated attendance in the low-to-mid 20’s, but that expectation nearly doubled with last minute walk-up registrants to the coach’s delight, despite temperatures hovering around 90 degrees.
“It was great and I was excited to be a part of it. Hopefully it will be a great memory for many and forge future relationships,” Valenti said.