From Snowflake with love (for CDO football): Sa’Kylee Woodard’s camp diaries

EDITOR NOTE: Canyon del Oro Class of 2024 defensive tackle Sa’Kylee Woodard wrote postcards for AllSportsTucson.com on his experience in Florida in December 2019 as part of the Tucson Youth Football’s 14U All-Star team that played in a national tournament there. Woodard, a burgeoning D-I prospect who has received a scholarship offer from Arizona, immediately joined CDO’s varsity team last year as a freshman and participated for the first time in the Dorados’ preseason camp at Snowflake over the weekend (COVID-19 canceled last year’s excursion). Woodard again agreed to write about his experiences, this time at Snowflake with the Dorados as part of a three-day diary. He could not write daily from Snowflake because CDO coach Dustin Peace and his staff banned cellphone use — as part of the team-bonding strategy — other than a good-night call home to mom and dad on Friday and Saturday night.

CDO’s 2021 football team at camp at Snowflake over the weekend (CDO football photo)

Day 1

Day 1 was the travel day (from the Oro Valley area to Snowflake, about 155 miles). That’s always the rough day in my opinion. We always forget stuff or someone doesn’t have a certain thing, etc., but we got there safe which was most important to me. The environment was very different as soon as I stepped out of the bus. The air, my surroundings, everything, but it was pretty cool. As soon as we got settled, we instantly got on the field. It felt good to be surrounded all my guys doing what we love the most. After practice, we had dinner and got straight into our competitions. In my opinion, I think I selected the best team but that’s just me being confident in my guys. I’d say Day 1 was pretty good. Only downfall is we had to wake up at 5:30 am. Haha.

Sa’Kylee Woodard (55) broke CDO program weightlifting records as a freshman last season (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Day 2

Day 2 was pretty good. Started off the day with a 6 a.m. practice, which killed me because I have never been a morning person, but it was good because the energy was there and it got me super hyped for the day. Anyways, after the practice, we had breakfast then had some downtime before our next practice. Safe to say, I came home knowing that I’m a lot better at Knockout (form of tag game) then I was walking in. Haha. The second practice was intense. We had a a super-fast paced, aggressive practice, which was good. We needed that. We also competed and that got all the boys hyped, including me. After our second practice, we got all showered up and stuff and went to catch a movie. The movie of choice was Snake Eyes, hands down one of the best newer action movies I’ve seen in a while. I really hope they continue the series. After the movie, we got back and had some downtime before we started competition again. Being given a challenge against your buddies while having fun is hands down the best thing you can do especially when we played a CDO trivia game which really put our boys to the test. Haha. Overall, Day 2 was a success.

Day 3

Day 3 was our final day out here in the little old town called Snowflake. I think my experience out here has been amazing. Being isolated with people who have the same goals and aspirations of being successful just like you is amazing, let alone getting work in and working hard while also having that on and off switch of being locked in and focused and being able to have fun and be a kid. I really enjoyed being able to get connected and getting to know my teammates and become closer — building our chemistry to become the best football team we can become. I think this trip, the practices, the competitions will all play a part in why we have a strong team that shows true dedication and heart to the sport. All I can say is I came home knowing from learning that only we can take it as far as we want and if we come together as a team the sky is the limit.

Sa’Kylee Woodard during his unofficial visit of Arizona’s campus in late June (Woodard photo)

CDO opens its season Sept. 3 at Salpointe Catholic.

2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Openers

The 2021 Southern Arizona high school football schedule is set to begin with Class 1A matchups on Aug. 20. Here is a list of every local high school with their opener (*-denotes Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic games):
AmphiSept. 2*Flowing Wells
BaboquivariSept. 3at Ray
BisbeeAug. 27Catalina
BensonAug. 27Pusch Ridge
BuenaSept. 3at Barry Goldwater
CatalinaAug. 27at Bisbee
Catalina FoothillsSept. 3Sabino
CDOSept. 3at Salpointe
ChollaSept. 3at Rincon/University
CienegaSept. 3at Sunrise Mountain
Desert ViewSept. 3at Sunnyside
DouglasSept. 10Bisbee
EmpireSept. 3at Sahuarita
Flowing WellsSept. 2*at Amphi
Ironwood RidgeSept. 3Ironwood
MaranaSept. 3Mountain View
Mountain ViewSept. 3at Marana
NogalesSept. 10at Rio Rico
Palo VerdeSept. 3Walden Grove
PuebloSept. 2*at Sahuaro
Pusch RidgeAug. 27at Benson
Rincon/UniversitySept. 3Cholla
Rio RicoSept. 10Nogales
SabinoAug. 27at AZ College Prep
SahuaritaAug. 27at Thatcher
SahuaroSept. 2*Pueblo
San ManuelAug. 27Ray
St. DavidSept. 3Bagdad (site TBD)
SalpointeSept. 3CDO
Santa Cruz ValleyAug. 27at San Tan Charter
Santa RitaAug. 27Tombstone
SunnysideSept. 3Desert View
Tanque VerdeAug. 27Heritage Academy Laveen
TombstoneAug. 27at Santa Rita
TucsonSept. 3Maricopa
Valley UnionAug. 20Ray
Walden GroveSept. 3at Palo Verde
WillcoxAug. 27Globe
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