UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Every year high school football players wait for the unofficial start to their season, and every year that season is kicked off with the Utica High School Football Camp, a developmental camp hosted by Utica University where players and coaches alike can improve before their season begins in September.

Area teams are invited to get coaching from the Utica University players and staff and are then able to practice with themselves before scrimmaging the other teams in attendance. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Central Valley Academy, Oneida, Camden, Holland Patent, Norwich, Westmoreland/Oriskany, Syracuse ITC, New Hartford, and a combined team of players from Frankfort-Schuyler, Unadilla Valley, and Sauquoit Valley make up the camp for the 2022 year.

Each day of camp begins with the players stretching and then splitting into position groups to work on individual skills with the Utica University coaches. Teams then come back together and can run plays against themselves to prepare for what comes next, scrimmages. Each team scrimmages another for half an hour, alternating offense and defense depending on which team is successful on the drive prior. After the scrimmages, the teams reconvene at the Charles A. Gaetano Stadium turf for call-outs, where one team’s offense plays another’s defense in front of the rest of the attendees.

At the conclusion of call-outs, Utica University Football head coach Blaise Faggiano calls all the teams together and a member of the Utica coaching staff speaks on a value learned through football, offensive coordinator Joe Gerbino talking about the importance of leadership on Monday night.

The camp runs Monday through Wednesday, but the high school football season does not start until the beginning of September, Week 0 matchups involving participating teams including New Hartford at RFA, VVS at Oneida, Clinton at Westmoreland/Oriskany, Fonda-Fultonville at CVA, and Herkimer at Holland Patent.