By Rob Kiser
The Brandon Saine Football Skills Camp seems to bring the worst of the weather to the Piqua area.
But like all the defenders who tried to stop Saine in a Piqua uniform — even Mother Nature couldn’t put a damper on the third annual event.
This year’s event was forced inside by thunder and lightning, but the weather was no match for the presence of Saine.
“Brandon (Saine) has great humility,” Piqua athletic director Chip Hare said. “And when I am around him, it never fails to shine.”
The camp raises money for the Brandon Saine Scholarship fund, which is award annually to a Piqua High School senior.
“That is the big thing,” Saine said about the camp making the scholarship possible. “It is great to see the kids with the smiles on their faces. I really enjoy it.”
It took a little quick planning this year, with the camp being held at Piqua Junior High, which has two gyms.
“Chip Hare and the Piqua schools were more involved with it this year,” Saine said. “And Chip (Hare) really did a great job getting everything organized (with moving inside).”
Hare said it is what the Piqua schools and Saine are all about.
“The camp shows Brandon’s commitment to the community and his giving back,” Hare said. “The Piqua schools have great facilities and it shows their commitment to education and the community to be able to do something like this.”
While Brandon’s son Grey is still young, he was able to get him involved.
“He is still a little too little,” Saine said. “But, he was out there running around a little. And my nephew Knox was here. With Kylie (his wife Kylie Saine) and me out here, it was great to have family involved.”
And the former Mr. Football and Mr. Track, who led Piqua to a state championship in football in 2006 and still has the state record for 100-meter dash, one of his four state titles in track, know he couldn’t do without out the help of former teammates from Ohio State and Piqua.
Saine was a running back for the Buckeyes before going on to play for the Green Bay Packers.
Ohio State players helping out included Dane Sanzenbacher, who has been at all three camps; Bryant Browning, who was back for the second year; Jake Ballard, Chimdi Chekwa, Marcus Williams and Nate Oliver and former Piqua quarterback Justin Hemm and Lehman running back Dan Jacob helped out as well.
“Nobody here is getting paid,” Saine said with a smile. “They all do it for the same reason I do. I would like to keep making the camp bigger. But, I don’t want it to get so big, it loses the personal touch.”
Which Hare said is what makes this camp so special.
“Brandon (Saine) is well known in the community,” Hare said. “But, it has been 10-plus years now. You have some first or second graders who don’t really know who Brandon is. They just know he is a really successful guy. The way Brandon goes around and makes sure every kid feels so special, that is the great thing about this camp.”
Saine said it is always fun to show his former teammates the field where he made so many memories as well.
“They are (surprised by how nice the facility is),” Saine said. “They always say it is more like what you would expect to see in Texas. I enjoy coming back and seeing how it is has changed each year. The new track, the updated scoreboard. It seems like there is always something new.”
The one thing that doesn’t change is the smile Saine and the other instructors put on the young participants each year.
And even Mother Nature can’t stop that.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.