OTTAWA – For 11-year old Ashton Hitsman, a Grade 6 student at Morrisburg Public School, football is his number one interest. He plays football in Cornwall with the Cornwall Wildcats organization for summer house league and in the fall with their competitive team in the Peewee level. And for a day in Ottawa last weekend, he was able to train with some National Football League and Canadian Football League gridiron stars.
Hitsman was one of six players from the Wildcats selected to attend the Break the Plane, an all-day football camp that was held at the University of Ottawa’s Matt Anthony Field June 9th. About 300 players from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec attended the camp. But this was not just any football camp.
The camp featured Superbowl champion NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters, journeyman NFL quarterback Josh Johnson and CFL wide receiver Brad Sinopoli from the Ottawa Redblacks. Lynch won the Superbowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and currently plays for the Oakland Raiders. Sinopoli won the Grey Cup with the Redblacks in 2016.
The event was put on by Fam1st Family Foundation, an organization started by Lynch and Johnson in 2011.
“It was so cool,” said Hitsman about the day.
He said the athletes did a lot of drills with the kids at the camp.
“He [Lynch] did this hand off drill. It’s to move the ball up field,” Hitsman explained. With a smile on his face, Hitsman said he was tripped by Lynch and flipped on the field. “I was OK,” he said. “But he’s a big guy. It was all chill.”
He said that Lynch also taught them how to juke. Juke is a move used to evade being tackled by faking to run one way, then planting your foot and running in the opposite direction.
Hitsman has been playing football in Cornwall for four years and plays in the outside linebacker position. He said he likes that the sport is physical.
Outside of football, Hitsman is active in school sports at MPS, playing basketball, soccer, volleyball and competing in track and field.
He said his favourite players are Sinopoli, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Hitsman is also a fan of Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews III.