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St. Francis football starts another class of hopefuls

Football: Second annual Golden Knights Youth Football Camp looks to introduce youngsters to 'St. Francis way.'

June 28, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • St. Francis High School football coach Jim Bonds talks to Knights Youth Football Camp attendees at the beginning of the three-day camp at St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The camp is for youths in 6th to 8th grades.
St. Francis High School football coach Jim Bonds talks… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

LA CAÑADA — When the St. Francis High freshman football team's practice concluded Wednesday evening, the sixth to eighth graders lined up for the second annual Golden Knights Youth Football Camp were waiting in the wings.

After its debut year in 2012, St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds has seen the camp's impact on his program. He estimates there were seven or eight players from St. Francis' inaugural camp at freshman football practice, which started Monday, less than an hour earlier.

"Who knows, they might have been legacies, families and this was the only place they ever wanted to come," Bonds said, "but if there was one kid that was trying to decide between here and another place and decided to come here then it was worth it."

Brevin White is one player that's still on the fence for where he'll be going to high school. The 5-foot-8 13 year old was motivated to come to the St. Francis camp for the second year in a row for two reasons.

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"I just really want to get to be a better player, get the high school experience, get ready and prepared," White said. "I don't know where I'm going to go to high school yet, so I wanted to get to meet the coaching staff.

"There is [a lot of options] and there's a lot of things that play into [choosing a high school], football programs. I really like St. Francis, they've got a good football program and the coaches are good."

The incoming eighth grader hopes to play quarterback one day like his brother, Brady White, does at Hart High. One big draw to the St. Francis camp was the chance to learn under Bonds, who was a renowned signal caller at Hart before going on to play at UCLA and taking the coaching reins for the Golden Knights.

"It's really cool to get to know someone like that," White said of Bonds. "We've kind of developed a relationship where we can joke with each other. While improving my game, we know how to have a great time together, it's really fun."

When Bonds started the camp in 2012, he hoped it would help introduce junior highers to the sport and the program at St. Francis.

"We're always competing to get kids to come to our school, with other private schools and other public schools in the area, it's a business in that regard," said Bonds, who recognized seven or eight returning campers Wednesday. "We just try to show them this beautiful facility and get us to meet them and them to meet us. Hopefully we find some diamonds in the rough and they end up coming to school here."

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