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FOOTBALL: Tigers see diverse opponents at passing camp

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Darlington kicked off its 10th Annual 7-on-7 Passing Camp on Thursday with quite a turnout.

While schools like Model, Pepperell, Calhoun and East Paulding made the short drive out, others such as South Gwinnett, Lambert and Walton followed suit to attend the highly-touted passing camp.

“The thing we like about it is that we’ve got everything from the biggest schools in the state down to small schools like us and everything in between,” said Darlington head coach Tommy Atha.

It didn’t start that way though.

Before bringing a passing camp to Darlington, the Tigers would trot out to attend one at Presbyterian College in South Carolina every summer.

“We started looking at what they were doing and we felt like we had the facilities and capacity to do it. We put it together and we were able to talk three or four teams into staying in our dorms the first year. It’s just grown from there,” Atha said.

“We’re at capacity every year. We don’t have to put out any literature about it. We pick up one or two teams who hear about us by word of mouth. The camp essentially sells itself, so we’ve been very fortunate in that regard.”

As for the camp, Atha noted that Thursday was Darlington’s first opportunity to throw as a team. While it’s still early on, Atha also mentioned that competition is key for the Tigers during their sessions.

Despite it being used primarily as a teaching camp, competition will likely be at its highest not only for the Tigers, but the other 15 teams in attendance as well when a single-elimination tournament closes the two-day event Friday evening.

“We have five throwing sessions with three games in each session. Four of the sessions, we don’t keep score,” Atha said.

“The last session, we do a single-elimination tournament and we’ll have referees out here.”