"We've been doing this for a long time now and every year we're at right around 100 and it's fun for everybody involved."

August and football. Two words that have been synonymous across America since the late 1800s. While many of the rules may have changed not much else has as we get ready for the 2017 season.

Saturday was the 2017 Shrine Bowl in El Dorado, the last game for many young men and the transition between high school and college for many more. For most of those players it all began with youth football back when they were in the third or fourth grade.

For nearly 100 young athletes in McPherson County their journey is just beginning as they participated in the 2017 Bullpups youth football camp at McPherson High School, lead by Pups head coach Jace Pavlovich and his staff in conjunction with the McPherson Recreation Commission.

"This means everything to us," Pavlovich said. "We get to spend a week out here with the kids and teach them proper technique and proper assignments and everything. We do a lot of the drills we do at the high school level so it's been a great time. We've been doing this for a long time now and every year we're at right around 100 and it's fun for everybody involved."

While predominantly boys, there are a handful of girls as well, from the second-graders through the sixth-graders, going through the workouts and various drills. The big emphasis during the four-day camp is teaching and perfecting the fundamentals of the game.

"Fundamentals is what we're all about," emphasized Pavlovich. "To be honest with you that's what we focus on at the high school level as well. You know, blocking and tackling and if you can do those two things in football you're going to have a lot of success so we focus on the fundamentals."

The Bullpups camp runs Monday through Thursday this week from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. each evening. Players begin each practice with a warm up session to make sure they are properly stretched and ready. That is followed by eight different stations set up to teach all aspects of the game from blocking to tackling to catching the football. It is a no pads, non-contact camp designed to prepare each player for their upcoming youth football season and hopefully a future in the Bullpups middle and high school football programs.

"Everyone of the kids we see at Mac high we've seen out here first," Pavlovich noted. "It's awesome to see these kids grow and it makes me feel old but it's really neat to see them mature."

The camp, which concludes Thursday, is recommended by the McPherson Youth Football Association.

Contact Matt Cole by email at mcole@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.