The new Mattke Field at Southwest Minnesota State University was filled with young girls and boys Saturday hoping they can pass, kick and tackle just like the "real players."
Kids had the chance to play football with SMSU Mustang football players during a football clinic for those in kindergarten through sixth grade Saturday as a part of the 2010 SMSU?Homecoming celebration.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
enson Meyer gets ready to tackle a blocking dummy held up by Southwest Minnesota State University football player Miles McLaughlin during a football clinic the Mustangs put on Saturday during SMSU Homecoming.
For an hour, the children rotated through about eight different stations where Mustang players taught them about tackling, recovering fumbles and even having the kids play a short scrimmage.
A group of boys and girls looked anxiously at the blockling dummy for one of the stations.
"Here's the deal everyone, get in one line,"?said Mustang player Miles McLaughlin. "You guys are linebackers." The kids had to run and hit the blocking dummy and then recover a fumble. Then, McLaughlin said, they can do their best "touchdown dance."
The kids put on their best game face as they hurtled themselves toward the blocking dummy held up by McLaughlin. Several did a touchdown dance, while Nick Macchio did a "Heisman"?pose.
"Tackle it with your shoulder and wrap it up," SMSU Mustang A.J. Paige said to one of the kids.
At another station, football players Riley Johnson and Leon Perry were showing kids some defensive linemen moves. Johnson demonstrated the three-point stance. Then the kids took turns.
"Put your hand down and hit the bag,"?Johnson said.
Cayden Werner slammed hard into the tackling dummy.
"You alright?"?one of the players asked Werner.
"Yeah," said Werner as he stepped back in line.
"When you tackle it, you tackle it hard,"?Johnson told the kids.
"I like to tackle,"?said Ethan Brannen of Waterford, Wis. Brannen's older brother, Danny, plays on the Mustang football team.
"I've been having fun already," said Tessa Gannott, one of the few girls on the field.
Charlie Jacobson said he got an interception during one of the games with the Mustangs.
At the end of the clinic, the players tossed footballs toward the participants for them to keep. The kids also got Mustangs T-shirts.
The kids said the clinic was a blast, especially interacting with the SMSU Mustangs.
"I think it's because it's with the Mustang players,"?said Jackson Vierstraete. "You get to go on the Mustang field and be with real players."
"(The cool part is) where we got to play a football game against the real players," Macchio said. "We won." Macchio said he got to score a touchdown during that game.
"It's awesome because I got a T-shirt and a football,"?Brannen said.