Zach Strief’s Dream Big Foundation Football Camp can only be described as successful. More than 200 young men took part in the camp that took place at Milford High School, July 6-8.
Strief is a graduate of Milford High School where he was a Greater Miami Conference (GMC) all-star lineman. He continued his stellar career at Northwestern University and today is a member of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL).
Fortunately for the prospective football stars of Clermont County, Strief wants to pay back his home community for all it has put in to his successful life and football career. He returned to his alma mater and brought along a group of friends who also are also talented NFL stars. Together they volunteered their time and knowledge and talent to teach these young men.
“I wanted everyone to have a good time while we focused on teaching fundamental football,” said Strief. “It was a lot of work, but from the responses I’ve heard and the general perception and other feedback, it was a very positive experience for everyone.
The NFL stars who were on hand to work with the young gridders were Brett Basanez, a quarterback of the Carolina Panthers; Barry Cofield, a defensive tackle of the New York Giants; Jahri Evans, an offensive guard of the New Orleans Saints; Troy Evans who played college ball at the University of Cincinnati and is now a linebacker for the Saints; Brian Hare, a wide receiver of the Indianapolis Colts; Rob Petitti, an offensive tackle of the Saints; Rob Sims, a former Ohio State Buckeye and now an offensive guard for the Seattle Seahawks; Jimmy Verdon, a defensive end of the Cincinnati Bengals; and Jason Wright, a running back of the Cleveland Browns.
Patrick Fagan is the new head football coach at Milford High School. He said, "This camp will build enthusiasm for the entire football program. This is absolutely a wonderful thing. It is well organized and a great opportunity for interaction. I think very highly of Zach and what he is doing. He is a good person and the players he brought to work the camp are all class people, too."
The campers were excited to have the opportunity to get photographs taken with the pros and to get autographs, but each one expressed happiness about learning more about football and meeting kids from other schools.
Cody Dunaway will be entering the seventh grade at Goshen for the 2007-08 school year. He plays offensive line, usually at center. He is the son of Paul Dunaway who is a member of the Clermont County Sports Hall of Fame and is only one of two Clermont County fullbacks (the other is Lynn Maloney of Amelia) to ever lead the county in yards per carry average for an entire season and is a national record-holder in high school wrestling (12 consecutive pins, each occurring in less than 30 seconds).
Cody said, "It was fun getting to learn what the pros learn. I learned an easier way to hold on to the football. I had a real good time."
Jacob Frederick will be entering the third grade at Meadowview Elementary of the Milford Exempted Village School District. He plays wide receiver, tight end, and running back. He is the son of Milford High School Wrestling Hall of Famer Brett Frederick who was also a Greater Miami Conference football all-star.
Jake said, "I liked all the hard work. It was really challenging. I learned a lot about footwork and how to move better."
Eric Johnston will be entering the seventh grade at Glen Este. He plays both safety and cornerback. He is the son of GEHS grid standout Eric Johnston.
Eric said, "It was neat. We got taught the same way the pros do. I learned a better way to run backwards and forwards."
Austin Reynolds will be entering the seventh grade at Milford. He plays fullback and defensive back. He is the son of Dale Reynolds, a member of the Bethel-Tate High School Sports Hall of Fame who was a Clermont County League football and track all-star.
Austin said, "It was fun. I got to meet some pro football players...I learned how to use my hands better."
Andrew Wahl is home schooled and will be a fourth grader for the next school year. He plays center, nose guard, and/or cornerback on the gridiron. He is the son of Tim Wahl who was an outstanding athlete at Amelia High School.
Andrew said, "I had a really good time. I really improved a lot like throwing the ball and handling it."
Jake Wahl, Andrew's brother, is also home schooled and will be entering the fifth grade. He is an offensive and defensive lineman.
"Everybody was nice," Jake said. "Everybody treated me with kindness. I learned how to move faster on defense and how to tackle better."
Strief said, "This was a real good thing for everybody. We appreciated all the support we got. I want people to come back next year who were here this year and I want more new people to come to the camp."