First Piney Woods Football Clinic Crushes Anticipated Attendance Numbers
LONGVIEW -- A drive around the Hilton Garden Inn parking lot in Longview today will tell you all you need to know about how the first Piney Woods Football Clinic is performing.
You name a school within East Texas, odds are it has a district-owned car in the lot and at least one coach in the hotel ballroom. Then there are outliers like Class 4A Division II state champion West Orange-Stark and Class 6A Division II state champion Lake Travis with coaches in the region.
The Peters dealerships have cars on display and more than a few high-end sporting goods businesses have set up booths on a makeshift trade floor.
Longview head coach John King and newly-minted Texarkana (Ark.) Arkansas High head coach Barry Norton's five-year correspondence has life. More life than they anticipated in year one.
"This is a grand slam," King said after learning the event had drawn more than 300 coaches. "We were expecting maybe half of that. This has gone above and beyond. Great speaking lineup. Great vendors. The way it has been promoted not only through the state of Texas but also Louisiana and Arkansas was great."
A heavy-hitting lineup of speakers, headlined by SMU head coach Chad Morris, will continue today before ceremonies conclude this evening.
Carthage's Scott Surratt, a five-time state champion as a head coach after last month's Class 4A Division I title win, will have the floor this morning to show other coaches how the Bulldogs operate their play-action passing game.
Tyler Lee coach Clayton George hosts a quarterback training seminar as the final act of the clinic. He worked with Chase Daniel and Kenny Hill as offensive coordinator at Southlake Carroll and is in the process of developing Division I prospect Chance Amie at Lee.
Between the two locals will be representatives from Cedar Hill, Crosby and West Orange-Stark to reveal a few of their own operations.
Lake Travis coach Hank Carter spoke Friday as did Allen coach Terry Gambill and representatives from the Louisiana powers of Monroe Neville and Evangel Christian.
College participation has been high as well.
Aside from Morris, Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson visited the clinic Friday. Sam Houston State tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Kyle Segler will reveal how a few of the dominant FCS program's plays work in a seminar today.
"Barry Norton and I discussed this for four or five years," King said. "Really, we've talked about this since 2008 when we started playing each other. We thought it'd be a good draw because there's nothing in the East Texas area like this. We've got to go to other metropolitan areas in the state of Texas, which is a financial burden and a time crunch.
"We felt like the quality of football we play in East Texas and the schools that recruit the area, we could get some great college speakers as well as tremendous high school speakers from the area."