The annual trip to Camp Shiloh has always been a memorable weekend for the Patriots varsity football players. The 3-day, 2-night camp August 3-5, 2018 followed a week of two-a-day practices and set the tone for a focused season ahead.
Camp Shiloh 2018 was graciously hosted by Tom and Diane Hund at their family property in St. Joseph, MO. This year all the food at the camp was donated by team parents and organized by Cathy Dereskiewicz. Shane Stamatis, who expedited and served all the meals at camp, said the food was the best it’s ever been and the easiest it’s ever been for him to prepare. This was the first year the food was taken care of by parents and it was estimated that effort saved the team more than a thousand dollars. Huge thanks to all who contributed to feeding this team!
About 35 players were able to attend Camp Shiloh this season and not long after the players arrived, coaches confiscated their cell phones. “Our goal is for them to connect and get to know each other,” Head Coach Tom Hurley said. Players are encouraged to reach out beyond just the two or three guys they already know and to bond as a team.
Most of the practice time at the camp was dedicated to working on offense. Grant Stamatis, senior, said he was pleased with how quickly the team seemed to be learning the new system of play-calling. He said the players handled the new system well, especially the quarterbacks.
In addition to the football drills and conditioning, the team usually takes part in a service project during the camp. This year the players painted a section of fence for the Hund’s dairy farm. “We want the kids to realize it’s about more than just them and more than just football,” Coach Hurley said.
There were quite a few injuries that sidelined players at camp. Connor Hurley, senior, said he was impressed with the new players and freshmen stepping in to fill those positions. “We weren’t really expecting the new guys to step into the positions the way they did,” Hurley said. “This camp has been really special.”
On the final night of camp, the team hiked to the top of a mountain and talked through season goals around a fire pit. The coaches led the team prayer they say in unison before every game. For some players, it was their first experience of this tradition and it was a powerful moment to rally as a team, according to Coach Hurley.
After the team prayer the coaches left the seniors to talk to their teammates about goals for the season. As for the content of that talk, only the players know. “We don’t give them any direction,” Coach Hurley said. “Only to let them know that a true leader is a servant. And we teach them to serve the players who are coming up behind them on the team.”
Connor Hurley said the seniors laid down some expectations. “The seniors are not going to let up at all,” Hurley said. “This is our last challenge to ourselves and we are going to give it everything we have this season.”