First Washington AA camp exceeds expectations

With roughly 125 high school skill athletes and 25 linemen, the Beaverton, Oregon-based Air Attack camp went back to it's roots Saturday, doing things 'old school' and doing things the right way at Lake Washington High School. Kudos go to Kang head coach Tim Tramp, who played host to the camp.

"Coach Tramp was great, it was like arriving at a college when we got there," camp organizer Greg Barton said Monday. "To come up for the first time and to be treated so well was unbelievable."

Headlining the skill group were two local QB products, former Kentwood signal-caller Carl Bonnell and Kamiak slinger Gary Rogers. Bonnell, who is headed to Washington in the fall, and Rogers, slated to attend Washington State in the fall of 2004, both worked out in the morning under the tutelage of Barton and his son Taylor.

Taylor, set to graduate from Washington this year, brought along some teammates, including Paul Arnold, who made the trip to Kirkland to coach, as well as former PLU receiver Kevin Giboney. Giboney played on the last Pacific Lutheran team to win a national championship. Also sporting a championship ring was Nick Colasurdo.

"Nick is a great story," Greg recalled. "He grew up in the Air Attack system and then went to school in Montana at Carroll College. Well, they just won the Division 3 National Championship, so he was showing off his ring Saturday. Not a lot of people get a chance to wear a National Championship ring.

He didn't show it off for long, though. That's the hallmark of Air Attack. It's not about the coaches.

It's about the kids.

"None of the coaches we bring here are out for self-glory," Taylor said. "We're out here to work for the kids. In fact, when I talked to my guys afterward, all they could say was, 'Why wasn't there something like this for us when we were coming out of high school?' This is a way we can give something back."

And give back they did. "I think we really exceeded expectations the first time around," Taylor added. "Everyone got plenty of reps, rotated from station to station and didn't take any time off. We took them from 3-step drops to 5-step to 7-step to roll-outs to sprint-outs to everything else. It was what we like to call a 'carnival atmosphere'.

"Most of the them were amazed at the amount of things we were able to introduce to them as far as techniques, new drills and vocabulary. We had a lot of players tell us that they are going to bring their receivers with them next time, and their high school coaches too. And that's what it's all about. That's why we don't advertise. Word of mouth is the best advertising we could ever have."

Greg mentioned last summer that every single Washington high schooler he's ever coached has had two things - a tremendous work ethic and great attitude toward getting taught. After Saturday, that hasn't changed. "All I can say is that it was a great day coaching great kids with great attitudes," he said. "All the coaches that came were awesome and we'll have more surprises for the kids next week."

Because of all of the positive feeback, Air Attack is opening up the skill camp for late signups. There will be two more sessions, on May 17th and May 24th, both Saturdays, from 9:30 to 12:30. New quarterback signups that want to attend these last two sessions can so at a reduced rate - $75, while new receiver signups can do so for $50.

Any high school coach or parent that wants more information on Air Attack or wants to sign up a player, Gregg Ireland is the contact. He can be reached at (503) 227-7888 or by email (

"Kids need to realize that even just by attending one session they can get a whole lot better," Taylor emphasized for those skill players reticent about signing up because they missed the first session. "That doesn't matter. For us, coming up here it was 'old school', like the old days in Portland when we were first starting out. It's just one session and we just go for it."

We shouldn't forget about the big boys either. Even though there was a smaller turnout, that didn't dampen the enthusiasm for the afternoon lineman session. "Coach (Ron) Simonson and (Ray) Baker thought their session was fantastic," Greg said. "There were lots of high school coaches watching and we've already received some positive feedback about the lineman camp. It's going to do really well.

"In fact, I know some players from Longview, Vancouver and Ridgefield that are planning to hit all three sessions next weekend (one @ Lake Washington, two @ Lewis and Clark in Portland). That's outstanding."

"Bottom line, we're going to have the best coaches from the best schools around coaching these kids, and it doesn't matter if you're a superstar or just learning the game," Taylor added.

"We have the best camp in the country." Top Stories