Goal: county youth football league
Representatives of Hartselle, Falkville, East Morgan and Priceville youth football leagues are working to bring a vision to pass, and run, and punt.
Vernon Loosier and Jackie Huskey of the East Morgan County Patriots football organization, along with Todd Phillips of Hartselle Football, Inc., Thomas Tanner of Falkville's park and recreation league and Carlos Bunnell of Priceville's park and recreation league are putting their heads together to grow a county-wide youth football organization.
Their push is to reinvigorate interest in youth football, build community pride and ultimately improve the level of competitiveness for the county's high school football teams. Eventually they hope to see one countywide organization instead of diverse organizations cooperating with each other.
The quest for a county league began about three years ago. Huskey said the East Morgan organization formerly competed in Decatur's River City league. However, the number of teams in Decatur and the county produced schedules more robust than many parents thought appropriate for the young players.
"Some of the teams were playing more games than the high school teams," Loosier said.
So the search for a solution was on. Last year Hartselle, East Morgan and Falkville played an eight-game schedule and finished the season with a tournament at Falkville's Burl Vest Stadium on the Falkville High campus.
This year Priceville has joined the group and the schedules are expected to be only six games during the regular season along with the season ending tournament.
"Everyone is guaranteed seven games, because the tournament is single elimination," Tanner said.
Reducing the number of games scheduled plays into another goal of the group pushing for a county league. "We don't want to burn any of the kids out," Loosier said. Loosier, who heads up the East Morgan organization, said the group wants to build a league that teaches the basics of the game while making it fun for the kids.
Building a feeder program for the area football teams is another goal. The group is trying to organize coaching clinics to teach league coaches proven methods of teaching the game to youngsters.
They are also looking to work with the high school coaches so league coaches can teach their players the basic offensive and defensive principles of the high school programs.
"We want our players to contribute to making the high school teams competitive when they get ready to play at that level," Huskey said. "If the coaches at the junior high and high school are not having to teach or re-teach, their teams will be more competitive."
Having one county youth football organization will help to arrange coaches and player clinics, save the group money on purchasing equipment and standardize gate prices among other things, the organizational group said.
While the effort remains a cooperation between the different organizations, the success experienced so far is bearing fruit.
"We've been talking to Danville and Trinity and they look good for next year, but nothing is set yet," Tanner said.