There were nearly 200 of the best football players from the region invited to take part in the Under Armour All-America Camp Series on Sunday, Feb. 23.
Athletes from Arizona and surrounding states flocked to Williams Field to take part in the invite-only camp, showcasing their skills on film to be sent out to college coaches across the country. Kevin Sawitzke, a tight end at Mountain Pointe, was among those invited to take part in the camp.
“It’s an honor to be invited out here,” Mountain Pointe tight end Kevin Sawitzke said. “There’s a lot of talented players. I’m just excited to be able to compete.”
Sawitzke, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound soon-to-be senior tight end received his invitation for the national camp through Twitter, how most of the other campers were invited.
When Sawitzke arrived at Williams Field ahead of the scheduled drills, he wanted to go out and prove his ability as a pass catcher, competing with alongside other talented tight ends and wideouts.
“We are all out here to do one thing and that’s to get better,” Sawitzke said. “We all want to show what we can do. It’s fun to be out here.”
Sawitzke went through various receiving drills, both with and without a defensive back guarding him. He used his large frame during 7-on-7 drills to overpower opposing defenders. At times, his length came in to play as he was able to out-jump the defensive back opposite of him to make a catch.
Sawitzke represented both Ahwatukee schools along with Desert Vista quarterback Landen Powell, who transferred from Mountain Pointe in early February. Devon Grubbs, a soon-to-be junior running back for Desert Vista received an invitation to the camp but was unable to attend due to a groin injury.
The camp came during what Sawitzke said was essentially the beginning of his senior season. Mountain Pointe, now under the direction of head coach Eric Lauer, has started offseason workouts two days a week. In late April, the Pride will jump full-swing into spring ball and summer workouts, where they will attend 7-on-7 passing tournaments and big man competitions until official practices for the season begin in August.
Sawitzke expects to have a breakout year this season at tight end for the Pride. Last year, he caught 10 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns for a team that struggled and went 1-9.
But with a new head coach comes a new supporting staff and playbook. Even in the short time they’ve had, Sawitzke is already looking forward to the season.
“Our offense already looks like it will be exciting next year,” Sawitzke said. “I think we are already clicking really well. A lot of us have known each other for a while and we are really close this year.”
But if Sawitzke has a breakout year, it will be with a new quarterback under center with Powell now at Desert Vista.
Mountain Pointe did, however, receive a new gunslinger in sophomore to be Chris Arviso, who transferred from South Mountain. He, along with other quarterbacks, have already started working out with the team.
Despite the possibility of having to rely on youth next season, Sawitzke remains confident in the program’s ability to bounce back after a difficult year.
“We didn’t perform the way we wanted to last year,” Sawitzke said. “We just need to have trust in each other. We have a lot of young guys we are putting trust into this year. We think they’re really going to help us.”