By Tim Chambers
It’s a mixed bag at the moment when it comes to youth football at Johnson County. A couple of teams are going strong with big numbers.
The Junior Pee Wee and Mighty Mites have a stockpile of players but that’s not the case with the Pee Wee team and Grasscutters.
Each team had only 13 players in uniform on Monday but was optimistic that a few more might come out.
Pee Wee head coach Adam Sauer had his team working hard during a tackling drill on defense. He’s hoping that a few more will show up and play.
“We started with seven players and picked up six or seven more over the next few days,” said Sauer. “But it’s difficult to be competitive when you don’t have 18-20 players. It’s hard on the ones at practice because you have a few miss and that drops it down even more. You have to work the kids hard that are there because we don’t have any depth.”
Sauer knows that playing four quarters will be a difficult task for each one on the field when the season begins.
“I told them to not expect anyone to come off the sideline and rescue you,” added Sauer. “That’s why we’re trying to get our kids in shape during practices. We’re able to see them do drills but you’re limited. We would love to have four or five more players. That would make a huge difference.”
Sauer has three assistant coaches that lighten the load. Austin Humphrey, Chris Cornett and Randy Simcox have made a difficult situation a little bit easier.
“You couldn’t ask for better men to be working with these kids. Each coach takes three or four players and works with them. We break things down on offense and defense individually that helps. Each of them knows their assignments.”
Sauer would love to have some middle school kids on the team.
“This is a great opportunity for sixth graders to come and play before moving up to seventh grade,” added Sauer. “We’ve got a lot of baseball players that were good athletes that are not playing. We would love to see them come out and help our team. Some kids don’t want to play because their parents don’t want them to and some might not be able to afford it. But we’re willing to waive the fee or whatever to get four or five more kids.”
Anyone wishing to play can come by Ralph Stout Park after five and sign up. Sauer said it would mean a lot to everyone.
“We’ve got a good board that is working hard to get players. There are ways that a kid can play if they can’t pay the fee and we’re willing to offer transportation. I wouldn’t trade the 13 that are there now for anything. But you have to look out for their safety too.”
Coach Austin Atwood and his staff were hard at work popping the pads on Monday. He’s hoping his numbers will increase too.
“We’re expecting to get two or three more at anytime,” said Atwood. “Coach Steve Marshall knows a few that have expressed interest in playing.”
Football will be accepting a few good men up until the start of their first game. But unlike the Army, no player can turn 13 before August 1 to play Pee Wee. Grass-cutter ages are 7-8.