Youth football players from around the area gathered at the Ratliff Stadium turf field Saturday to attend the first Camp 432 put together by Odessa High graduate Bradley Marquez and Permian graduate Roy Williams.
Marquez and Williams both played collegiate football and spent time in the NFL after leaving the Permian Basin.
Marquez hosted football camps in the area in 2016 and 2017, but had to pause briefly when he was playing baseball in the New York Mets organization.
He wanted to get Camp 432 started last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold until this year.
The former Broncho has built a strong relationship with Williams over the years, so both former receivers came together to host players ranging from the third grade to seniors in high school.
“We just kind of wanted to give back to the community, be around all these young athletes and just give them some tidbits and have a great afternoon,” said Marquez, remembering the times he would attend football camps growing up in Odessa.
Drills at the camp were conducted by Marquez and Williams, with help from athletes representing UTPB and the West Texas Warbirds.
Among those teaching defensive line drills was Warbirds defensive lineman Deveon Ball.
He said he saw himself in the young campers he would teach.
“I was in their shoes as a little kid,” Ball said. “Just seeing myself in them, where I used to be to where I am now.”
Ball was encouraged to teach drills at the camp after Warbirds defensive coordinator Jermaine Blakely told him it would be a good opportunity.
UTPB freshman offensive lineman Heston Edwards was also coaching at the camp, helping with offensive line drills.
Edwards, a Haslet Eaton graduate, arrived in Odessa on June 1 and has been participating in summer workouts with the Falcons.
Although he hasn’t been in Odessa too long, Edwards said he wanted to get involved in the community.
He believes helping at camps will be beneficial to him in the future when it comes to working with young football players.
“I want to be a coach when I get older, so I thought this was a great opportunity when the coaches told us,” Edwards said. “I immediately signed up for it.”
The offensive lineman noticed that every camper knew their way around the football in every drill that would take place.
Bill Baty, sports director for the Boys and Girls Club of Odessa, helped Marquez and Williams put the camp together by focusing on athlete registration.
Camp 432 was originally supposed to have a morning session for younger athletes, with high school players taking the field in the evening.
The sessions were later combined to the morning for better accommodation.
Baty has seen a fair share of football camps in his time with the Boys and Girls Club and he thinks it helps young football players to work with the athletes they look up to in the area.
“They’re experiencing guys that played pro ball or college ball,” Baty said. “They’re learning from guys that have been where they have and are going to where they want to be.
“It actually helps them out quite a bit.”
Athletes from Midland, Odessa and surrounding communities were in attendance when they broke a huddle with Williams to start activities in the morning.
Going forward with plans for the camp was important to Baty because it shows the community that people can come together through tough situations.
“We’re still here, we’re here to help and we want to help,” Baty said. “We want to get the kids involved, we want to get the community involved, so I think it’s a big thing to do.”
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