IRON RIVER—With the Fourth of July now behind us, it’s getting to be football time. Some concrete proof of that comes early next week when the annual Iron County Football Camp takes place at West Iron County High School.
The camp runs Monday to Wednesday, July 15 to 17, featuring plenty of hard work. It’s a physical test and also a mental challenge, as players learn how to work harder and smarter to refine their talents.
The camp is about learning new techniques and skills and then doing them over and over so they become second nature. Yes, a lot like football practice, but that doesn’t start until Aug. 12.
If you are marking your calendars, the new high school season starts on Aug. 30, when West Iron visits Munising and Forest Park travels to Bark River-Harris.
From near and far, close to 200 young gridiron hopefuls make their way to Iron River each July for the Iron County Camp, organized by Wykons Coach Mike Berutti and a slew of coaches. “This camp,” says its brochure, “is for any player who is interested in improving his offensive and defensive skills.”
Among the big names on the coaching staff are Ken Klein, Lake Linden-Hubbell assistant coach and former Michigan Tech defensive line coach, and Joe Ballard, running backs coach at Northern Michigan.
They are backed by six high school head coaches: Berutti, Bill Santilli of Forest Park, Robin Martilla of Iron Mountain, Kevin Grundy of Wausau West, Tony Biolo of Wisconsin Rapids and Andy Crouch of Lake Linden.
The Wykons and Wausau West seem to be bringing all their assistants along: West Iron assistants Chris Thomson and Jim Kralovec and JV coaches Pete Kolbas and Kevin Leonoff will be working with the players. So will all the assistants from Wausau West: Brian Brandt, Josh Nowitzki, Tim Freiberg, Tim Wimmer and Jason Sinz.
Also taking part are former coach Glen Treado, Iron Mountain assistant Kevin Sullivan and Marion-Tigerton assistant Mark Fredy. Berutti also expects coaches from Northern Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to be taking part.
Yes, Coach Buck will be back, too. Carl “Buck” Nystrom is renowned as one of the best teachers of offensive line play anywhere, and he passes along his knowledge at every Iron County Football Camp.
The camp runs from about 9:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. each day, with 7-on-7 passing drills until 5 p.m. During their midday break, the players get a quick lunch and then hear motivational talks from coaches.