By Rob Kiser
Brandon Saine’s athletic accomplishments at Piqua High School are unmatched.
But, what has always set the former Ohio State and Green Bay Packer apart is his ability to not forget where he came from.
So, it should come to no surprise to those who know Saine made a decision a year ago to hold a youth football camp in Piqua — with the money going to the Brandon Saine Family Scholarship program.
The second annual camp — the Brandon Saine Football Skills Camp for grades 1-6 — will be held April 30 from 9 a.m.-noon at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
Cost is $25 per camper or $40 for two and registrations forms were passed out at all Piqua schools and extra forms can be picked up at Piqua High School. Participants need to register by April 23 to ensure receiving a t-shirt.
Same day registration will open at 9 a.m.
Fee includes a t-shirt and autograph/photo session with Brandon and fellow camp instructors Dane Sanzenbacher and Bryant Browning. Campers are requested to limit autograph items to two per camper.
“We’re excited to have Dane Sanzenbacher and Bryant Browning join us for this years camp,” Saine said. “Dane was a wide receiver for OSU and Bryant was an offensive lineman for OSU and both played in the NFL for four years.”
Athletes will participate in drills that are designed to enhance football fundamentals. Campers should come dressed in t-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes. Camp will be held rain or shine.
“Piqua was a big part of my life,” Saine, who resides in Philadelphia with his high school sweetheart and wife Kylie and two children. “I would be remiss to think I would be where I am without Piqua and people who had an influence on me. And it is a chance to raise money for our family’s scholarship fund that goes to one senior every year.”
Saine also enjoys working with youngsters.
“I wanted to work with elementary age kids and those still learning the game and the fundamentals and teach them some things,” Saine said. “It would have been amazing (as a youth to go to a camp run by a former college and NFL player). That is one of the reasons I want to do this.”
Saine rewrote the record books at Piqua.
He is still the all-time leader at Piqua in carer rushing yards (4,359 yards), single season rushing yards (2,287 yards), single season scoring (38 TDs, 228 points) and career scoring (59 TDs, 354 points).
Saine is the only Piqua football player to receive the Mr. Football award for the top player in Ohio and set what was a D-II state rushing record for the championship game in leading Piqua to a 28-9 victory over Pickerington Central.
If that wasn’t enough, Saine won three state championships in track — winning the 100-meter dash as a sophomore and doubling in the 100 and 400 as a junior. He also set a new state record for the 100 at the Edwin Moses Relays that year.
He went on to play at Ohio State, where he had 1,408 career rushing yards, 616 career receiving yards and scored 17 touchdowns.
Saine signed as an undrafted fee agent with the Green Bay Packers and played two years before retiring.
“Even though they released me, there is no bad blood there,” Saine said. “I enjoyed every minute of it. If there is an NFL team I root for, it is the Packers. With two young ones, I don’t have a lot of time to play football.”
He also enjoyed watching Ohio State win the national title in football in 2015.
“I wish I could have gone to the game, but it didn’t work out,” Saine said. “We were in the top 10 ever year and I always hoped we would win the national title when I was there.”
Saine said he is in a great place in his life right now.
“I don’t miss football,” he said. “I miss the camaraderie you have with all your teammates working towards one goal. As far as actually playing the game, I don’t miss that at all.”
And, as the youth camp proves, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor of the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.