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Darien football players enjoy five-day New York Giants youth camp at St. Luke's High School

Updated 10:52 pm, Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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  • Griffin Koch, 10, of New Canaan, shows his cousin, Ethan Kaufman, 7, of Rowayton, how to hold a football during the New York Giants Youth Football Camp at St. Lukes School in New Canaan on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Photo: Amy Mortensen / Connecticut Post Freelance
    Griffin Koch, 10, of New Canaan, shows his cousin, Ethan Kaufman, 7, of Rowayton, how to hold a football during the New York Giants Youth Football Camp at St. Lukes School in New Canaan on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Photo: Amy Mortensen

 

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NEW CANAAN -- Youth football players from New Canaan, Darien, Wilton, Norwalk, Fairfield, Greenwich, Ridgefield, Monroe and Easton have quite the week ahead of them at St. Luke's High School.

That's because they're receiving invaluable instruction from camp counselors and even some former New York Giants.

But how much can a five-day noncontact football camp truly help a player develop? According to director of the New Canaan New York Giants Camp Ron Luneau, a player's improvement can be astronomical.

"The kids from the New Canaan and Darien area -- I can see why they have good football teams because a lot of these kids have great hand-eye coordination and they made some unbelievable catches," said Luneau, who also suggested that the camps are instrumental in the success of the high school football teams. "Even without physical contact, we're doing technique work."

Luneau indicated on Tuesday that the lineup of New York Giants Heroes is as follows: Joey Smith (wide receiver, 1991-93) Tuesday afternoon; defensive lineman Curtiss McGriff (defensive tackle, 1980-1987, Super Bowl XXI champion) Thursday; and Billy Taylor (running back, Super Bowl XXI champion, leading rusher for Giants 1979-80) on Friday.

Several of the campers, who range in age from 6 to 14, are looking forward to meeting the pros.

"I learned about blocking, throwing and catching," said Darien's Miles Drake, a 9-year-old quarterback and running back. "I think (the former Giants coming to camp is) going to be exciting because people are going to get a chance to meet them. Probably playing scrimmages has been the best part."

Luneau said that the advice of the Heroes is quite beneficial, as he believes that the players give even better life advice than they do football advice.

"They're three guys who understand life lessons, and they always have some life good lesson to talk to the kids about," said Luneau, who estimated that roughly half of the campers come from New Canaan, Darien or Wilton. "After stretch, we go into a series of fundamental drills, like we are right now. We'll focus on either a tackling defensive-type drill or we'll do an offensive-type drill; we inter-disperse them during the day. Also, we're guaranteed every day to play at least two games every day."

Campers differed on their favorite activity, but the end-of-the-day scrimmages seemed to be the most popular. There will also be a Punt, Pass and Kick competition on Wednesday, and the winner gets an automatic bid to compete in the regionals.

"(The best part is) playing the scrimmages and learning new drills," said Norwalk's Kyle Shooshan, a 7-year-old wide receiver. "I like it a lot and it's wonderful."

"I'm learning a lot from this camp. It's really a good experience for everybody to get together and play football. It's a good thing to do over the summer to get yourself prepared for your fall season," said Wilton's Drew Peterson, a 13-year-old left tackle on offense and defense. "The best part, I think, has been the games. We've been playing with our friends and learning football in a fun way. I've already done this for two years and it's been fun."

If there was one common theme among the campers, it was that they would jump at the opportunity to participate in this camp -- or a similar camp -- in the future.

"On the first day, we learned a lot of drills, and then we got to play games, which I really liked. It's good because you can try new moves here, and then when you're on the field you'll be comfortable doing them," said Wilton's Robbie Hermann, a 13-year-old running back and outside linebacker. "Seeing these friends and going against them in high school will be a lot of fun."

jchik@bcnnew.com Twitter: @jchik17