Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
While the football faithful waited patiently at home for the first full Sunday of NFL action to get underway, the New Hartford Pop Warner Football Association was buzzing from 9 a.m. this morning with a slate of games in three different divisions.
Today, the VVS Red Devils came calling to Don Edick Field in New Hartford and the two organizations played football games at the Flag, Mitey Mite and Junior Pee Wee levels.
The flag kids got underway first thing this morning. Those guys and girls are as young as 5 years old and play a non contact game, that involves tearing a flag off the ball carrier’s belt to simulate a tackle and stop the play.
No score is kept at the flag level and the field dimensions are reduced so that players can focus on learning the basics of football.
Once a player graduates from the flag program, usually at the age of 7, they put on the pads and helmets and play tackle football at a level known as Mitey Mites.
The maximum age for Mitey Mites is 9 and the maximum weight is 90 lbs. Coaches are allowed on the field during the game, which features a full officiating crew and chain crews.
The Mitey Mites game consists of each team taking 10 plays on offense and then switching over and playing 10 plays on defense, for two 20 minute halves.
Jr. Pee Wee football is played by 8, 9 and 10 year olds, no heavier than 105 lbs. The next level is Pee Wee, which includes 9, 10 and 11 year olds, no heavier than 120 lbs. The Jr. Midget division consists of players 10, 11 and 12 year olds, no heavier than 170 lbs.
My Hometown Sports arrived at New Hartford High School just in time for the Spartans Mitey Mites to take on their counterparts from VVS.
No official score was kept between the two Mitey Mites teams, but both teams knew exactly how many touchdowns were scored (simply for bragging rights, of course!).
Cheerleaders for both programs were rooting on their respective teams and the NH pop Warner concession was brimming with tasty football foods for all the fans in attendance.
Pop Warner Football and the game of football in general has suffered some decline in numbers over the past several seasons, largely as a result of a fear of head injuries sustained by players.
In 2013 Pop Warner and the National Football League partnered together to endorse USA Football’s “Heads Up Program” which is designed to teach and promote proper tackling methods, which significantly decrease the amount of injuries to the upper body and head.
Each and every Pop Warner Coach, at every level, is required to undergo safety training, which includes correct tackling methods.
That coaches training was on display this morning as the Mitey Mites coaches for both teams took the time to coach up their players after every single play.
After the Mitey Mite contest, the Jr. Pee Wee teams took to the field and the Spartans prevailed in that one, by a score of 20-7. New Hartford improved to (2-0) on the season with the win.
Congratulations to all of the teams, players, cheerleaders, coaches and volunteers who took part in today’s action. Great job, playing a great game!
If your Pop Warner organization would like to have a tackle game covered this Fall, please drop us a line and we’ll try to get you scheduled in! ([email protected])