June 17, 2017 6:10:12 PM
Anthony Colom takes youth football very seriously.
When you have been around the sport as long as Colom, you understand the importance of opportunities for players and the roles coaches can play in helping boys and girls find something to connect to.
That's why Colom, the public relations and education officer for the city of Columbus Fire Department, is so excited about his chance to be a part of the adidas Dak Prescott Football ProCamp.
"Even though (Prescott) is not from Mississippi (he is from Louisiana), he is considered a Mississippian because he played at Mississippi State," Colom said. "Some of these kids grew up watching him play. To have him come back and put on something like this and for them to be a part of it is a big deal."
The Tuesday camp, which is sold out, is for students in grades 1-8 and will have two sessions. The first will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The second will run from 2-5:30 p.m. More than 700 students are expected to attend the event.
The coaches will provide instruction on all facets of the game, offer lectures, and organize contests and non-contact games. The campers will be placed in small groups by age to ensure each participant receives maximum instruction.
Miller and Colom coach with the Columbus Cowboys travel football team. The organization is one of three travel football groups in Columbus.
Miller has been with the Columbus fire department since 1994. He lives with Columbus and has coached youth football since 2004.
Miller, who played football at Louisville High School, coached against Colom in the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority league before joining him with the Cowboys.
Colom, who played football for one year at Lee High in Columbus, has been with the Columbus fire department since 1995. He, too, lives in Columbus. He is originally from Ripley. He has been coaching youth football since 2004.
Miller's 13-year-old son, Chauncey Thames, and Colom's son, Dallas, play football at Victory Christian Academy.
The Cowboys feature three age groups (6- to 8-year-olds, 9- to 10-year-olds, and 11- to 12-year-olds). They have won four "Super Bowls" in the three age groups.
Colom said he was contacted by a representative from ProCamps, a company based out of Ohio that helps NFL players organize events. He said he was asked to help at the camp and asked if he knew any other coaches who would be able to assist. Colom said a friend of his from Bay St. Louis also will work as a coach. In all, six coaches from the Columbus Cowboys will attend Prescott's camp.
"We pride ourselves on being one of the best run youth organizations in the area," Colom said. "We get a lot of compliments on some of the things we do, particularly the marketing we do on Facebook and some other sites. I like to treat kids as if they were professional players as for the attention they get."
Colom and Miller hope to use the experience as a learning experience, just as he hopes the campers take things back to their teams. He believes Prescott, who was a All-America quarterback at MSU and went on to start for the Dallas Cowboys in his first season in the NFL, is an ideal player for the coaches to support to help younger players grow into the sport of football.
"I remember a camp we had at Joe Cook in 2009 and 2010," Colom said. "Some of the little faces at that camp earned college scholarships. They were 9- and 10-year-old kids back then. Maybe they will reach back and do the same thing for somebody else once they make it.
"Maybe just meeting Dak Prescott will do a whole lot for the players and inspire them and motivate them to push on."
Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his passes and threw for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns (four interceptions) last season to earn The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Prescott edged teammate Ezekiel Elliott for the honor after he started all 16 games and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the NFC's top playoff seed.
Prescott tied an NFL record for most regular-season wins by a rookie. He also set NFL rookie records for completion percentage, passer rating (104.9), and touchdown/interception differential (+19).
Prescott was a two-time winner of the MSU M-Club Leo W. Seal Jr. Athlete of the Year Award. He shattered 38 school records, and is one of four players in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history to throw for at least 70 touchdowns and rush for at least 40. He finished fourth in Southeastern Conference history with 114 touchdowns accounted for.
Each camp attendee will receive a souvenir autograph from Prescott, a camp team photo with Prescott, and a limited edition camp T-shirt.
"I think this is a great thing," said Colom, who has coached former Columbus High School standout Kylin Hill and West Point High senior Marcus Murphy. "I would like to see it done here in town, maybe with the high school coaches putting it on for the kids."
Sponsors include adidas, Citi, Welch's Fruit Snacks, Fan Mug, Hatton Foundation, The Little Dooey, Hungry Howie's, Gillette, DICK's Sporting Goods, and La Quinta Inns and Suites.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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