Team Toothman Touchdown camp success

GRAFTON—Grafton High School’s McKinney Field played host to over 85 area youth, along with current and former collegiate and NFL stars, as the annual Team Toothman Touchdown Camp got underway this past weekend. 

The camp assembled stars from every corner of the United States and brought them to Grafton, West Virginia to teach, coach and to set an example of giving back for our area youth.

They were joined in attendance by former Fairmont Senior and West Virginia University (WVU) standout Defensive Tackle Dante Stills who is suiting up for his last season as a Mountaineer and entering the draft. Dante’s older brother, Darius, is currently playing with the Kanas City Chiefs in the NFL. 

Current WVU standout wide receivers Sam James, Bryce Wheaton and Kaden Prather were also on hand to provide one on one coaching, along with current WVU running back Tony Mathis and current Offensive Lineman for the Mountaineers Brandon Yates. 

Frank Gore was the lone NFL star on hand to impart their wisdom and talents to this eager generation. 

Gore, who really needs no introduction is a future hall of famer and elder statesman running back who last played with the New York Jets and who three years ago surpassed Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list with 16,000 rushing yards. He now sits atop that list with Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton. 

J.R. Toothman and his team did a fantastic job of bringing in first class talent to enlighten and encourage our youth. 

When asked what it means to be able to put on an event like this for the area youth Toothman had this to say, “It’s just great to get the kids involved in a community that has been so good to us. We find it a privilege to just be able to pay it forward. The kids get to meet people they see on TV and get to interact with them on a personal level, and I think the players enjoy it as much as the kids do. The last couple years of covid had put a damper on things as we had to cancel a lot of our outreach, but we will soon be starting up our basketball camps and continuing to grow this football camp. We look forward to serving the people of Grafton for many years to come”.

I also got to catch up to Gore, the legend himself, who had his children in attendance with him this year. I asked him what it was like to be able to give his knowledge back to the youth. 

“You know it’s a blessing man, anytime God blesses you with ability to give back you should always take it. Also, I wanted my kids to see how beautiful the state of WV is. This is my second time in West Virginia and my man J.R. made it happen, also I wouldn’t have gotten to see all these wonderful kids and experience these mountains. I would love to come back and continue to work with these kids” Gore voiced as he ended the conversation. 

The Toothman Ford Touchdown Camp was an insane success and everyone from the invited guests to the youth in attendance had fun and learned a lot more about the game of football.


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