MT. IRON — After a recent resurgence in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference football ranks, the Mesabi Range football team will be holding their own camp this summer for area high school players.
The 2019 Pepper Lysaker Football Camp will be held on Thursday, June 20 at the Mountain Iron-Buhl football stadium. Norsemen head coach Tom Inforzato said now felt like the perfect time to get something like this off the ground.
“I think it’s a good time for this,” Inforzato said. “We’re coming off of two successful seasons in a row and it feels like a great way to reach out to the local high schools and help us get exposure for Mesabi Range football and what we have to offer.”
In addition to reaching out to area football teams, Inforzato said his staff at Mesabi wanted to put a camp together to honor former Norse head coach Pepper Lysaker. Lysaker was the coach at Mesabi Range from 1968 to 1998 and passed away in February.
“We want to do what we can to honor Pepper,” Inforzato explained. “We’re dedicating our upcoming season to him and we thought this would be another great way to honor his memory and get people to know who he was as a person and a coach.”
The non-contact, one-day camp will be focusing mainly on the fundamentals and techniques of football, and with the camp open to all incoming players in grades 7-12, campers will be broken down into groups based on position and by grade level to receive as much information and instruction as possible.
With this being the first year that the Norse are hosting a camp, Inforzato said a lot of things will be dependent on expected turnout.
“We don’t know exactly what to expect yet when it comes to turnout. We’ve reached out to some area coaches and we’re trying to get them on board, but we know it’s summer time and kids will be busy. If the numbers are really good, we’ll have a full staff there and other local coaches around to help.”
Also expected at the camp will be former Mesabi Range kicking standout Connor Cusick who was the backbone to the Norse’s kicking and punting for the last two years.
The camp will have breakdowns for both offense and defense and players will get a chance to work on both sides of the ball no matter what.
“Up here in high school, almost every kid plays on offense and defense so we’ll have an offensive breakout and a defensive breakout so kids can get in some work on both sides of the ball.
“It’s going to be a lot of foot work and a lot of fundamental work. But we also want to end the day with something fun so we’ll cap things off with a game we call three line football. It’s a fun, fast paced, razzle dazzle game that the kids will enjoy.”
After that, players will have a chance to listen to some closing words from a guest speaker brought in by Mesabi Range.
Inforzato had the idea for the camp as far back as his coaching days at Itasca, but a big road block was choosing the right facility to host it. Now with the Norse making their home at the new MI-B turf field, the idea to host the camp there made perfect sense.
“It’s such a nice facility they have there,” Inforzato said. “The setup there makes it really user friendly for camps and other things as well. We met with the MI-B coaches and the A.D. and they were in support of the camp and for us staying there for our home games in the long term.
“We really enjoy playing there and its the perfect size that we can fill it up on Saturdays for home games and it allows us great opportunities like this camp.”
With this new idea cleared for takeoff, Inforzato, his staff and his team are excited to continue to spread the Mesabi Range footprint across the area.
“We want to continue on our success and build relationships with the local schools, teams and community members. It could work as a recruiting strategy but mostly it’s about making those connections and building those relationships.”
The deadline for registration is set for May 31. Area football players should check with their coaching staff for relevant forms and sign up information.