Kids get a chance to practice football with pros

Kids get a chance to practice football with pros

For an image, video or link to go viral, it must spread rapidly through a population by being shared via email or on social media — like Ellen Degeneres’ tweet from the Oscars or music video “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi.

And while Jonathan Hough’s post didn’t garner billions of views, within two hours, a flyer he posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram had more than 100 kids registered for his event.

“I didn’t expect it to get as full that fast,” he said. “So I talked to Stephone (Anthony) like, ‘Hey man, this is growing like wildfire’ and he was like, ‘OK, just bump it up to 150.’”

And what were parents registering for? A chance to send their kid to a one-day football camp hosted by Stephone Anthony of the Miami Dolphins and friends including Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dannell Ellerbe of the Philadelphia Eagles, who grew up in neighboring Richmond County.

From 3 to 6 p.m. on July 13, kids aged seven to 14 will learn the fundamentals of football with four stations — wide receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, and defensive linebacker drills — to get a taste of each position. There will also be a warm-up line, meet-and-greet area, a DJ and catering.

“The meet and greet will wrap it up,” said Hough. “Everyone leaves with something signed and a picture taken. Stephone will be around, he isn’t going anywhere.”

Hough and Anthony grew up together in Anson County, played several sports with each other, and graduated from the same high school. He said it’s been a humbling experience working with a lifelong friend.

“There’s very few people who you grow up with that stay the same as they grow in their levels of success,” he said. “And that’s one thing I can say about him. He’s the same person when we were in honors English III junior year of high school.”

Hough and Anthony partnered with Anson County Schools and the HOLLA! center to make the event come together.

“They’ve been helping me any way they can to make this a great event for the youth,” he said. “This event is ultimately about inspiring (others) and giving back to those who inspired you. So it comes full circle.”

Leon Gatewood, founder and CEO of HOLLA!, said he can’t wait for the day to arrive and has been getting text messages from parents about signing their kids up.

“I got a text from someone this morning,” he said. “I just told him he’s through (registering people) … he’s done.”

Due to future construction on the track of the main football field at Anson High, Hough, along with Administrative Assistant Anne Hyatt and Superintendent Michael Freeman of Anson County Schools, made preparations to host the camp on the practice field. Hyatt said there are plans for the main field if the track is completed early.

But Hough said he also sees the nostalgia of having it on the alternative site.

“It’s where it all started,” he said. “If it’s on the practice field, he practiced there before he got on the game field, so it’s really where it started.”

And despite the closed registration, Hough said the event is free and open to the public to watch. He invites spectators to show their support by coming out and taking photos and getting signatures.

By Jasmine Hager

For the Record

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