High School Sports

Escalon, Loureiro host National Wing-T Football Camp

DEBBIE NODA/dnoda@modbee.com, Mark Loureiro, Escalon High School football coach works with his team, the Cougars, during late afternoon practice, Nov. 13, 2012.
DEBBIE NODA/dnoda@modbee.com, Mark Loureiro, Escalon High School football coach works with his team, the Cougars, during late afternoon practice, Nov. 13, 2012. Modesto Bee

The Wing-T is as much a part of the Escalon High School football tradition as the Cougar bust.

And each summer for the last quarter-century, the principles of the run-based offense have been reinforced by some of the country’s brightest minds.

They come from all corners of the map, including New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, to descend on Escalon for a West Coast stop on the National Wing-T Football Camp tour.

Longtime coach Mark Loureiro rolled out the welcome mat again last weekend, turning over his fields and classroom to Princeton associate head coach Steve Verbit and coaches from Delaware and West Chester (Pa.) universities.

Loureiro has built a kingdom on the Wing-T. He’s the Sac-Joaquin Section’s all-time winningest coach with 265 victories, a mark he achieved last fall. In 2010, he led the Cougars to the pinnacle of California high school football – the CIF Division III state championship in a downpour at Carson’s Home Depot Center. The Wing-T, as it has done to so many for so many years, humbled Madison of San Diego 30-14 that afternoon.

Last weekend, though, in the presence of Verbit and others, Loureiro ceased being the foremost authority on the Wing-T. Instead, he relished the opportunity to become a student again.

Just like his players, Loureiro paid close attention to every nuance.

Wing Stop The National Wing-T Football Camp, hosted by Escalon High School from June 19-21, featured 250 players from Escalon, Maria Carrillo of Santa Rosa and first-timers Gilroy and Wheatland. Princeton associate head coach Steve Verbit ran the camp.

“It does help the kids being taught. If somebody is teaching the same thing in a different manner, it might stick a little better with the kids,” Loureiro said. “Also as a coach, it’s good to see and hear because it reinforces what you’re teaching. You’re never too old to pick up something new.”

Loureiro has partnered with the National Wing-T Football Camp for 25 years. He left Wednesday to help coach at camps in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

This year, the Escalon camp featured four teams: the Cougars, Maria Carrillo of Santa Rosa and first-timers Gilroy and Wheatland.

265Career victories by Escalon coach Mark Loureiro, the most in Sac-Joaquin Section history.

The three-day clinic built in intensity. The 250 players who participated were separated by position and drilled on their responsibilities. Eventually, the college coaches assembled the offenses and evaluated their efficiency.

“We’re teaching the Wing-T offense, breaking up into individual positions and then bringing the pieces back together as a whole,” Loureiro said. “We start with individual fundamentals, and then the full backfield comes together. You get the quarterbacks working with the backs, and then you add in the split ends and tight ends and work on the pass game.”

Loureiro has enjoyed the partnership with Verbit and the National Wing-T Football Camp. He’s traveled the world with the Wing-T and come to realize this: After more than a quarter-century, the old-school offense is still relevant.

And in some places, like those close to home, the Wing-T still presents a winning formula.

“It’s fun. I really enjoy it. You’re making great friends and talking a lot of football,” Loureiro said. “With these college coaches, you’re sharing ideas and philosophies about everything – strength training, special teams, all phases of football.”

James Burns: (209) 578-2150, @jburns1980

  Comments