On Friday, June 7, Legends Field, which is located on the campus of Williston High School, was the site of the third annual Brent Qvale Regional Football Camp.
Qvale is a Williston native and 2009 graduate of WHS, who now is entering his sixth season as an offensive lineman with the New York Jets. The NFL veteran told the Williston Herald that he wanted to get involved with hosting a football camp in his hometown due to the lack of such a program back when he was a young student-athlete.
In fact, Qvale recalls traveling from Williston to places such as Grand Forks and Fargo just to participate in such a camp during his high school years. With a need for youth football development programs in the area, Qvale says current Coyotes head football coach Andrew Mock approached him three years ago about an opportunity to start a grassroots project in Williston.
"It was just one of those things where we got the first camp going and it was pretty good," Qvale shares. "Then last year grew a little bit, and this year we are starting to see it grow and get established. I think we have a good foundation now for the future."
In order to help coach the roughly 80 young football players who are participating in this year's two-day camp, Qvale has enlisted the help of numerous college coaches from institutions such as Jamestown University, Dickinson State as well as North Dakota State College of Science and the University of Mary. Students from other high area schools such as Watford City, Minot and others were also represented within the camp's participating athletes.
For Qvale, football has always been a part of his life. His father, Sanford Qvale, was a standout player at North Dakota State University, and was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the 1974 NFL Draft.
As a result, the 6-foot-7 inch pro lineman is more than happy to share his passion for the game with a younger audience from his hometown. "I grew up here for the first 18 years of my life, and this is where it all started," Qvale continues. "I have a platform through the NFL, so why wouldn't I come back and try to help out as many kids in this area as I can."
Above all else, the former Williston Coyote football and basketball standout wants the students who participate in his camp to work hard while performing drills, and to also enjoy the experience and have fun. But for the young players who have designs on following Qvale's path to the pros, he advises those student-athletes to take matters one day at a time. "You have to do a lot of work in college just to put yourself in a position to get to the NFL," Qvale states. "It's all about the process, the NFL is your ultimate goal, but there is a lot of work in between. You can't get frustrated, it's not going to happen overnight."