Lots of local kids grow up dreaming about scoring touchdowns in Neyland Stadium. Seven Warren County High School Pioneers got their chance to stand in the orange and white endzone last month during a football camp at the University of Tennessee.
Ethan Mikkola, Blake Dugan, Hunter Hawkins, Bryson Cope, Hunter Coppinger, Evan Reynolds and Jordan Bonner made the trip to Knoxville June 10-12 for a high school camp held by the University of Tennessee camp held by the new coaching staff, including first-year head coach Butch Jones.
The seven Pioneers stayed three days on campus with hundred of other high school players from across the Southeast. Cope, an upcoming sophomore for the Pioneers, was camping for his second straight year in Knoxville and would love to wear the Big Orange in a few years.
“This is my second year attending and I will keep attending the next two years,” said Cope. “My dream is to play here one day.”
The players were put through a gauntlet of drills at their respective positions. Cope, Coppinger and Hawkins worked on the offensive line with coach Doug Mahoney. Mikkola, Dugan, Bonner and Reynolds were split into separate groups as each play different skill positions for the Pioneers.
Getting to work with coach Mahoney was the highlight of the trip for Cope.
“The best part was getting to learn from the UT staff, especially coach Mo,” said Cope.
For Mikkola, a second-year player for the Pioneers, the ability to improve his individual skills was the reason to attend camp at the University of Tennessee.
“The UT camp experience was great,” said Mikkola. “During the camp, we were taught many things to improve our skills at our position. Overall, I enjoyed the camp and learned so much about my position.”
The UT camp is one of many Pioneer players have attended this summer in an attempt to improve their skills. A group of Pioneers went to Vanderbilt in June as well while WR Lee Carden and QB Hunter Mullican attended a passing camp in Atlanta recently.
Warren County will get to hit the field as a team Monday, July 29 when fall practice begins. The first football game is Friday, Aug. 23 at home against DeKalb County.