By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
MONTGOMERY— Shoulder pads crunched together like two cars colliding head-on in an intersection. The violent tackles, trash talking, and loud screams from coaches meant only one thing — the start of preseason football.
Camp of Champions, a popular Section 9 football camp, lasted from Sunday to Thursday at Valley Central High School. Teams took part in full-contact scrimmages for three hours to conclude the camp.
Minisink Valley, Monroe-Woodbury, Valley Central, Pine Bush, Wallkill, Warwick and Burke Catholic all competed at Camp of Champions this summer.
Burke Catholic, the two time defending Section 9 Class C champs move up to Class B this season. Head coach Aaron Hasbrouck is using Camp of Champions for his team to practice against bigger schools and prepare them for better competition.
“You always leave this camp knowing some strengths and weaknesses about your team,” he said. “You’re not winning and losing championships today, but any time you get to play football in June, you’ll take it as an opportunity to get better.”
The Eagles defense came up big as they compiled multiple interceptions in their final day of camp. “Our defense was a huge upside today,” Hasbrouck mentioned. “We played great against Pine Bush, who has a really talented group of offensive lineman.”
Burke Catholic will continue to look for an offensive identity during summer practices. Heath Hoovler, David Ross and Matt Ehret all graduated. They led the Eagles in passing, rushing and receiving yards respectively last season.
One key returner for the Eagles is Solomon Hemingway; who can do a little bit of everything on the field. Last season, Hemingway lined up on the defensive line and also dropped back into coverage as a linebacker. Offensively, he was a second-string running back and sometimes lined up as a wide reciever. He also shared kick return responsibilities with senior Rashad Hames.
“The sky is the limit for him” (Hemingway), added Hasbrouck. “I look forward to seeing how much he can do for us this upcoming season.”
Hemingway never played a down at running back prior to last season but made his mark in the Section 9 Class C Championship game against Chester, rushing for 200 yards on 11 carries.
“I think my biggest asset is my vision when I get the handoff and also being a good teammate,” said the soft-spoken Hemingway.
“I’m going to be in the gym lifting weights a lot this summer.” “I want to be even more intimidating on the field this season,” he added with a slight chuckle.