Bowser’s NFL Youth Football camp scores a touchdown|Campers learn from Duper, Moore

Published 4:35 am Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sports Editor

PLYMOUTH — Whether they got into the end zone or not, every kid at this weekend’s 2009 Charles Bowser NFL Youth Football/Cheerleading Camp was a winner.
The former Plymouth High School great, and a former star with the Miami Dolphins, returned home to put on his third annual camp. Bowser, who was joined by a pair of former Dolphins teammates, Mark “Super” Duper and Nat Moore, is pleased to see progress each year.
“It’s important to get these kids exposed to these former NFL players,” Bowser said. “They’re really enjoying themselves. We’re emphasizing the fundamentals of football and they’re starting to learn.
“As they progress each year, they’re learning more and more. By the time high school comes around, they have a good idea about fundamentals.”
There was more than just football being taught at the camp. Campers also received a session called “Character Development,” which is a part of the NFL Youth Football Camp program. The session gives campers a better understanding about how to be a great player, along with lessons on how to be a better student.
“It’s a blessing that we’re able to be here and show the kids what life’s all about,” Bowser said.
Bowser, an all-state and All-American during his senior season at Plymouth, went on to have a successful career at Duke. After being a three-year starter in college, where he recorded the most sacks in a season and in a career, Bowser was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Dolphins. He was a three-year starter for the Killer Bees, and he played in the 1985 Super Bowl.
Two of his former Dolphins teammates joined him at the camp, including a return by Duper, a three-time All-Pro wide receiver. Duper, who played 11 seasons and finished his career with 511 receptions for 8,869 yards and 59 touchdowns, was happy to be back in Plymouth.
“It’s a great feeling,” Duper said. “This is great for the kids. If they keep this up, they’re going to have a lot of great championships.
“I just wish we could do this every weekend. Just look around, all (the kids) are really enjoying themselves. That’s the bottom line.”
Moore, another former Miami receiving great, also appeared at this weekend’s camp to help out his friend. Moore, who played 13 years with the Dolphins, had 510 catches for 7,547 yards and 74 touchdowns in his career.
“I think a lot of it is technique, but more of it is motivation,” said Moore during a quick break from having youngsters run drills around pylons. “It’s about encouraging kids to play football and to give their best, and then to take whatever that work ethic that allows them to be successful out here (on the football field) into the classroom and everything that they do in their lives.
“Success is all about hard work, dedication, perseverance, the willingness to work at something and the belief that you can do it.”
Moore’s hard work certainly paid off for him. The All-Pro enjoyed individual success along with team success.
“The thing that I was proudest of was that we were one of the winningest organizations,” Moore said. “When you look at the Miami Dolphins, everybody remembers the perfect season team (1972), but what’s so gratifying is that from 1972 to 2000, we were the winningest franchise in any sport. That says a lot about the ability of our coaching staff and our team — putting the team first and individual talent second.”
For young campers and aspiring football stars, getting to learn from some former NFL greats was a dream come true.
“This has been great,” said Adrian Moore, 13. “I’m learning something new about football, and I learned about how they came up to play football in the NFL.”
Demarkius Price, 12, would like to follow in the footsteps of Bowser, Duper and Moore.
“This has been really exciting,” said Price, who said the highlight of the camp was doing the running back drills. “I’d like to play in the NFL.”
Plymouth High School coach Robert Cody, who was joined by fellow camp coaches Randy Fulford, Louis Rodgers, Marvin Davenport, Arlander Cherry and Danny James, was excited to see another successful camp.
“This has been super,” Cody said. “This is our third year and I really appreciate the NFL and Charles Bowser for coming here.
“This has gotten better every year. We’ve had 130 kids out this year.”
Besides leaving with shirts and new skills, each camper seemed to walk off with a smile.
And that’s a touchdown in itself.