Football players don’t become great based on talent alone.
It takes a ton of hard work away from the gridiron to be successful, and it’s not always a concept that is easily understood by the athletes who aspire to be tremendous gridders.
Harker Heights put itself on the map last season with a 6-4 regular season that saw the Knights reach the Class 6A playoffs, and while their work on the field proved itself, it was their work off the field and in the offseason that translated to success.
And it didn’t just start when they got to high school.
An opportunity for youngsters to gain tutelage in the sport is around the corner. The annual Harker Heights football camp is set for July 31-Aug. 2 for incoming grades one through nine.
Knights head football coach Jerry Edwards felt it was not only an opportunity for kids to learn proper instruction of football, but it was an opportunity for the program to give back.
“During our football camp, we want to reach out to the community,” Edwards said. “To give back and for all the young people around here, get them excited about football. We have a great little league in the Junior Knights here, and we get them involved.
“But the younger kids in the area, we want to get them excited about football and what we’re about here at Harker Heights. We want them to eventually turn into future Knights one day.”
Campers will develop fundamental skills necessary for football, and the camp will be conducted by Harker Heights football coaches and former players.
The goal for the Knights coaching staff is to set a basis of fundamentals in the younger generation.
“We just want to build off everything we do here — our terminology, our basic stuff and base drills, things like that,” Edwards said. “Just stuff like that, so when they do eventually get to this level, they are ready and prepared.”
The camp costs $50 per participant and will be held from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day.
O’NEALE GETS NBA CONTRACT
Former Harker Heights basketball star Royce O’Neale keeps doing great things on the court, and he was rewarded for it on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-6-inch, 226-pound standout signed a three-year contract with the Utah Jazz.
O’Neale played this past season in Spain, where he averaged 8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for Gran Canaria.
O’Neale spent two years at Denver in 2011-13 before transferring to Baylor for his final two years of eligibility.
As a senior at Harker Heights in 2010-11, O’Neale led the Knights to the regional quarterfinals. He set a Knights record for rebounds in a season (364), and he also set a record for most points (39) and rebounds (21) in a single game.