The first signs of life for the coming high school football season are evident this week at Hayden High.

More than a thousand players and coaches were gathered for the Wildcats’ annual summer camp, with 22 teams representing four states in attendance.

Schools such as Atlanta Centennial, plus Oxford and Benton out of Mississippi, joined Hazel Green, Tuscaloosa County, Lawrence County and squads from a bit closer to home for three days of instruction and 7-on-7 scrimmage games, spread out across every available inch of Reid Stadium and West Blount Park’s ball fields.

Larger schools were in session Sunday through Tuesday. Small schools and B-teams from larger programs will visit today through Friday.

It’s the second year for Hayden coach Steve Kerby’s camp, and the numbers are up considerably from the first year.

“All the coaches I’ve talked to love it, and say they’ll be back next year,” Kerby said. “We have 42 instructors this year, including Tony Bonds from Ole Miss.” (Bonds, who played center for the Rebels, came out of Russellville High.)

For Hayden, it’s the first chance to give their spread offense a test, and quarterback Corey Ward was in good form Monday. His team often scored within two or three plays on the 40-yard field.

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