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Ex-High School Rivals Make Happy Football Campers

July 17, 1994|TONY JONES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dorsey High graduate Kirby Wilson and Manual Arts High graduate Tracy Adkins, helped by several longtime friends and coaches, spent last weekend with about 200 youths at their third annual Inner City Football Camp at West Los Angeles College.

The two-day camp attracted youths between the sixth and 12th grades, most of whom attended junior high and high schools in Southweat Los Angeles, South-Central, Southeast Los Angeles and Northeast Los Angeles.

"This camp is for the kids," said Wilson, an All-City Section tailback at Dorsey in 1978. "Tracy and I have had a lot of help from coaches, parents and other people in the community to make the camp go. Without the kids and people like Robert (Chief) Simmons, Joe Simmons, "Papa" Malaki, Nate Wilson and Gerald Richardson, there's no camp."

Adkins, who was also named to the All-City football team in 1978, virtually grew up with Wilson. Although they were rivals on the field while competing in the original Southern League (Dorsey, Manual Arts, Fremont, Washington, Los Angeles and Jefferson), they eventually met through each other's friends.

They played together at Pasadena City College before going their separate ways. Wilson, now an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming, went on to the University of Illinois and played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.

Adkins, a detention officer at Los Padrinos in Downey, went to Washington State as a defensive back, but despite not making it into pro football, he still loved the game.

"The idea for the camp came up when Kirby and I were at an Offense-Defense football camp in Riverside." Adkins said. "We thought, 'Let's get one for the inner-city kids.' "

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