By Rob Kiser
For the second straight year, the weather may have not cooperated.
But, the sun was shining brightly as far as all the youngsters in grades 1-6 were concerned at the second annual Brandon Saine Football Skills Camp Saturday at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
And why wouldn’t it be that way — with an opportunity to learn football from one of five Piqua football players to play in the NFL — and the only one to lead Piqua to a state championship — as well as former Ohio State stars and NFL players Bryant Browning and Dane Sanzenbacher.
“When you see the smiles on the kids faces — that is definitely the best part of the day.”
Saine’s athletic accomplishments at PHS are unmatched.
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 26-7 victory over Pickerington Central.
If that wasn’t enough, Saine won six state championships in track — winning the 100 and 400-meter dashes as a sophomore and junior and winning two state indoor 60-meter dash titles. He also set a new state record for the 100 at the Edwin Moses Relays his junior year.
He was also named Mr. Track as a junior and a High School Heisman finalist.
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.
“I enjoy coming back to Piqua,” Saine said. “We talk to the kids not just about football, but teaching them life lessons as well. Coach (Bill) Nees is a great guy. He helped me so much. I am always thinking about things I can do for him.”
It was also a great opportunity for three former teammates to get together.
“It is a chance to come back to Piqua,” Saine said. “And it is also a chance to see Bryant (Browning) and Dane (Sanzenbacher) again. I really appreciate those guys helping me out.”
Sanzenbacher was also a state champion in high school, playing for Toledo Central Catholic and was a receiver at Ohio State and in the NFL.
“I think we are having to push this back a couple weeks,” Sanzenbacher said with a laugh about the weather. “But, at least the rain held off this year. All three of us were teammates and have gone our separate ways. It was great to get a chance to see those guys and work with the kids.”
Browning, an offensive lineman who played at Ohio State and the NFL, agreed.
“Brandon (Saine) asked me if I was available and I was happy to do this,” Browning said. “It is great to get back together with Dane and Brandon and a lot of fun working with the kids.”
Nees said the kids aren’t the only ones excited by the credentials of the instructors.
“It is always great to see Brandon (Saine) and it is great for the kids,” Nees said. “And it is not just kids who are impressed. The great thing is all our seniors and coaches were here. And they are just as impressed.”
Saine would only change one thing.
“It seems like I bring the weather with me, but I don’t,” the Pennsylvania resident said. “But, the kids all I had a good time. And if we can teach them a few things, that is great.”
And even Mother Nature couldn’t stop that.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor of the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.