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Volunteers prep players
Volunteer football coach William Roberts guides a participant through a running drill Tuesday at Long Bell Stadium. - photo by Patty Leon

“Pick those feet up. Come on, now knees up,” William Roberts yelled as he led a group of kids through a football drill Tuesday evening.
There are probably a hundred other things someone like Roberts could do on a weeknight during the summer, but Roberts said he is exactly where he wants to be.

“I feel this is very important. … It is a way of giving back to the community, and also there is so much stuff going on. This gives the kids something to do and keeps them off the streets and out of trouble,” he said.

Roberts, along with friends Demetrius Williams and Frank Troupe meet up Tuesday and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday mornings at Long Bell Stadium at the Liberty County Recreation Department. They give free lessons on football to kids who might not be able to afford to pay for other camps and classes.

“We’ve been out here since about the end of May,” Roberts said. “A lot of these kids love football, and this gives this something to do.”
Roberts coaches football at Lewis Frasier Middle School, has been an assistant at Liberty County High School for five years and coaches the LCRD Raiders (ages 11-12) and the Jaguars (ages 9-10).

“We don’t have a specific age group,” he said about his informal get-togethers. “Right now, we have kids from 7 on up. We are conditioning these young men and teaching them the basic fundamentals of football.”

This evening, the kids were running cone drills, learning how to cut on the run. They jumped 6-inch hurdles, spun around cones, learned to run for acceleration and sustained speed, and learned to hold on to the football.
“These are the things we do,” Roberts said. “We go over techniques. … I love to do it, and we will be out here until just before school starts.”

Tuesdays and Thursdays Roberts, said they get started at 6 p.m. Saturdays, they meet in the mornings.

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