Leadership. Facing fear. Teamwork.
These are three of the major factors Dawson County Tigers Football Coach Jeff Lee stressed to his team during a four-day camp held at the YMCA Assembly Complex in Black Mountain, N.C. last week.
"We are trying to get our football players to embrace these three concepts," he said. "I think our players and staff have accomplished that this week."
The team traveled to Black Mountain Wednesday morning. After the team checked into their rooms it was straight to the practice on the same field that the original Atlanta Falcons used in the early 1960s.
"It is our second year attending the camp at Black Mountain and our kids love it. Some of our players have never been to a place this far away from home," Lee said.
Surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the team was able to distance itself from any distractions.
"It's a chance for our players to just get away. The camp is secluded which avoids any distractions for our kids," Lee said.
The more than 80 player team was divided into practice groups with two seniors in charge.
"This enables our seniors to help your younger kids into being responsible and it gives them a leadership role," Lee said.
Dawson County was able to get two practices in on Thursday and one on Friday. Saturday morning, under cool and overcast conditions, the team had a strenuous two and a half hour practice.
The practice consisted of a spirited goal line session which included several jarring tackles.
Saturday afternoon the team was split-up into underclassman and seniors to participate in a team building ropes course. Even some of the coaches took part in the activities.
"This teaches our players to look at fear head on and defeat it," Lee said.
The players were able to complete several different obstacles, which were several feet above the ground.
Each player must trust his teammates in his group to get them through each test, according to Lee.
On Sunday morning the team scrimmaged for two hours before loading up the buses and heading home.
"Our coaches and players are tired," Lee said. "I feel this was a great experience for us and we definitely got a lot of this camp."
The team will practice this week before holding a scrimmage on Saturday at noon. The scrimmage will be with officials and is open to the public.
The JV Tigers will also get a chance to show their skills with a scrimmage at 11 a.m.
Dawson County's football Booster Club will have a barbecue at the stadium during both games.
The Tigers will play in a preseason game on Aug. 15 against The Westminster School from Atlanta. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.