Posted July 10, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Nations: Lambiotte enjoying camp at Central

Jeff Nations

WOODSTOCK -- The memories come flooding back each time Kenny Lambiotte returns home to Woodstock, in the landmarks, in the familiar faces ... sometimes, in the strong-side blitzes.

Not actual blitzes -- the 48-year-old former standout quarterback at Central might well make the return trip home a bit less often if confronted by a middle-aged pass rush -- but the stories of games past are always a standard experience for Lambiotte. He has plenty of memories still vivid in his mind, basketball games against Fort Defiance star Dell Curry and matchups against Harrisonburg standout Pee Wee Barber. Even the details Lambiotte doesn't recall with clarity, others are sure to provide.

So it was on Tuesday, as Lambiotte was back in town to help coach in the inaugural Kids & Pros Youth Football Camp at Central High School. The former Falcon is an ex-pro himself, having spent a season as a backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles following a standout, albeit brief, collegiate career at William and Mary.

On cue, Central athletic director Kenny Rinker had his own memories of a Lambiotte game to share. At the time, Rinker was coaching defense at Stonewall Jackson, and in a close game in 1981 during Lambiotte's senior year, it was his mission to find a way to keep the lanky quarterback out of the end zone.

"When we played Stonewall there my senior year, they really had a defensive scheme against us," Lambiotte said. "They were blitzing a lot and really running a lot. We had to come from behind, and we ended up scoring. I was able to roll out on a pass-run option and get a two-point conversion right at the end of the game to win.

"[Rinker] said he knew that play was coming and tried to design a defense for it, but he said his key defender got picked off in the play and allowed me to get around the right side."

Lambiotte was a fine high school quarterback, finishing his career with 3,824 passing yards (which ranks third on Central's all-time list, behind leader Matt Sherfey's 5,040 passing yards and Randy Walker's 3,868). But football was never his first love. Lambiotte was first and foremost a basketball player, and a good one. After graduating from Central, he spent a year at Virginia playing alongside the legendary Ralph Sampson.

But midway through his sophomore season, Lambiotte made the decision that football might be his best option after all. So he transferred to William and Mary.

"At William and Mary I was actually able to play both [sports]," Lambiotte said. "I always liked basketball better, but I had more opportunities to continue playing in football. So ultimately I was able to do what I liked -- I like sports, I like football, I just didn't like it as much as basketball, but I had abilities that allowed me to play including a year after college with the Eagles. So it was a good decision for me."

Lambiotte didn't become William and Mary's starting quarterback until his senior season, but it didn't take long for him to gain the notice of NFL scouts. Lambiotte flourished under coach Jimmye Laycock's passer-friendly system, enough so to get picked in the ninth round of the 1987 NFL draft by the Eagles. He spent his lone season backing up, among others, Eagles great Randall Cunningham at quarterback.

A second-team Academic All-American at William and Mary, Lambiotte put his education to use in the business world, as a teacher, and now back in business working with Richmond-based Capital One in statistical analysis.

Since leaving the teaching ranks about a year ago, Lambiotte hasn't had much time to coach, something he did for a number of years in both basketball and helping in football at Richmond's Trinity Episcopal. When he was approached about helping with the Kids & Pros Camp, Lambiotte didn't need much convincing to come back home.

"I've done some coaching as well, here and there, including some high school coaching in Richmond," Lambiotte said. "I enjoyed it, and I know this camp is not only working on the football fundamentals but also character and life. That combination excited me because kids coming along, there's a lot pulling them away from a valuable direction for themselves. Sports is a good thing that a lot of people enjoy and you put together the character with that, and it's attractive to be a part of something like that."

Lambiotte had his own teachers of character and discipline at Central -- Jerry Walters in basketball, Jack Bauserman in football. Former Cavaliers men's basketball coach Terry Holland was a great influence, as was Laycock at William and Mary. There were others, of course, all helping to shape and direct Lambiotte's journey from Woodstock to the NFL and on to success after his playing days were over.

Those lessons are the ones Lambiotte hopes to pass on this week, maybe along with proper footwork in the pocket and a passing lesson or two.

"Sports is one thing they can do, but there are other things that are really more important than sports," Lambiotte said. "So as they take their effort, dedication -- things like that -- and apply it to other things, then they've got a perspective on their life that can carry them along."

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