UC Defensive Coordinator Will Pluff leads a group of TNT campers in a drill. 

Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo

MHTS Summer Fun Tour


With every sign of Summer imaginable, including 90+ degree temperatures, America’s favorite sport of Fall, football, is the word of the day over at Utica College this week.

The Utica College TNT Football Camp, co-directed by Head Coach, Blaise Faggiano (6th Season),and Defensive Coordinator, Will Pluff (5th Season), has attracted nearly 100 players at the youth level (7 to 14) and more than 250 players at the High School level (15 to 18).

UC Head Coach Blaise Faggiano looks on as Westmoreland’s Austin Millington hits the tackle dummy.

The TNT camps at UC offer players in both age divisions the opportunity to work under the watchful eyes of the entire Pioneers Football Coaching Staff, as well as several of the veteran players that will be taking to the field at Gaetano Stadium this Fall.

“This camp is absolutely great, I love it, said 14 year old camper, Tyler Williams of Sauquoit, who hopes to make his modified team at Sauquoit Valley this season. “I have never played organized football before. The coaches here have taught me a ton this week,” stated Willliams, a big kid for his age and a really big New York Giants fan. Williams also told MHTS, “I can’t wait to start tryouts for the school team.”

Across the field at the receivers station, Jalen Adams, an 8 year old player from the North Utica Raiders Pop Warner, told MHTS that he loves the camp too. “I’ve met a bunch of other football players here and the coaches are really nice. I have learned a lot about football this week that I didn’t already know.”

While the Pioneers themselves won’t begin camp until next month, it’s very apparent that Coach Faggiano and company are deeply committed to the community.

th_football4Just walking around the field listening to the UC coaches and players talking to the younger kids, one can hear nothing but encouragement and positive words going to the kids.

“The kids love working with our players and coaches,” Faggiano said, adding, “You can see how they interact, especially with the players that they can relate to when they come to a home game here.”

For Josh Strzepek, an 11 year old from Marcy, this week is all about getting ready to join the Big Blue Wrecking Crew at Whitesboro, a local school with several alumni in the ranks at UC. “I’ve been playing in the Marcy-Deerfield Pop Warner and now I am going into seventh grade so, its time to try out for Modified. These coaches are awesome. They’re showing me how to be a better receiver,” Strzepek said.

Marcy’s Josh Strzepek hauls in a pass in a receivers drill.

Another local youngster hitting the gridiron this week at Utica College, is 10 year old Austin Millington, a big Cowboys fan from Westmoreland.

Millington, who is an avid hockey player with the Rome Grizzlies in the winter, told MHTS that he will be a first year player with the Westmoreland Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wees this coming fall. “This camp is fun. It’s really hot out, but its still a lot of fun and we’re learning from the best.”

The TNT camps run through Thursday evening, July 18th. 

Thanks to the staff at Utica College for the hospitality today and congratulations on a truly outstanding venue for kids to learn the fundamentals of the football.

Click for more on UC camps!!







Campers eager to learn!
















Sauquoit’s Tyler Williams takes a three point stance as a UC O-Line Coach Marcus Gurdineer checks his technique.