Passing on lessons learned

PARKERSBURG-The opening of the 2013 football season may still be weeks away for most area athletes. However, footballs were in the air and drills were being taught on the front campus of Parkersburg High School Friday morning at the Josh Jenkins and Shawne Alston Football Camp.

“It’s been great,” camp organizer Nathan Conley said. “Being able to go into this slowly has really helped this morning.”

More than a dozen athletes in grades four through seven showed up for the morning session, which began at 9 a.m. and was to run until noon, while more than 50 football players in grades eight through 12 were expected to show up for the evening session starting at 7 p.m. and going until 9.

“We’re doing a lot of competition stuff,” continued the recent graduate of The Citadel. “But we aren’t forgetting the fundamentals. Josh (Jenkins) and Shawne (Alston) learned a lof of stuff during their time at WVU and they want to share it with kids in the area.”

The two former-Mountaineers, who both signed free agent contracts following their tenure at Mountaineer Field, aren’t the only ones doing the teaching during the two-day event. Former-Big Reds Jeremy Bell, Chance Litton, Billy Johnson, Matt Lauer and Andy Thomas make up the remainder of the staff.

“We were fortunate to get a lot of local sponsors, but the real sell to area kids was the knowledge that Josh and Shawne were going to be here and that they were going to show them what they learned during their time at WVU.”

Alston played in 37 games during his time with the old gold and blue, starting five, with a career-best 130 yards in WVU’s victory over Iowa State. The Hampton (Va.) native finished with 1,068 yards for his career and scored at least two rushing touchdowns in seven career games and 19 touchdowns in his last 19 games.

Jenkins remains the only Mountain State player to have won the Hunt Award, which is given to the state’s top lineman. Injuries forced him to miss the 2011 season, but during his stay in Morgantown the 300-pounder played in 47 career games and started in 37. He was a three-year starter at left guard and finished third on the team in knockdowns with 52.5.

“We never really had anything like this in Parkersburg when I was growing up,” said Jenkins. “That, and the fact that I haven’t been back in the area for five years, are the reasons I teammed up with Shawne to put on this camp.

“Fundamentals have always been a big part of my game and I was fortunate to have several outstanding line coaches at WVU and each of them taught me techniques I thought athletes in the area could benefit from.”

Action resumes today at 9 a.m. at PHS for the younger players while the final session of the two-day camp will begin at 7 p.m.

“Right now, it’s kind of hard to say exactly how many kids we will have,” Conley said. “We have some kids, who are participating in basketball or baseball camps, that have asked if they could just show up for one of the two days.”