From left are WYFL board member Billy Abernathy, board vice president Casey Johnson, Josh McFadden, 7th-8th grade team head coach Rollie Hawk, Phil McGrath, board president Tim Denny and A-JCHS head football coach Brett Detering. Photo provided.

Wildcat Youth Football League preparing for 2017 season

With summer just around the corner, the Wildcat Youth Football League is getting prepared for another season.

The league, which includes teams for 1st grade through 8th grade, welcomes students from all Union County schools to compete and build a base of fundamental skills that will apply not only to football but all youth sports.

One of the first announcements the league has made regarding the upcoming season is the selection of Rollie Hawk as the head coach of the 7th and 8th grade team.  

Having been involved with youth wrestling and youth football for most of the last seven years, Hawk said he is excited about the opportunity.

“I coached the freshmen football team in Carterville for five years so this is an age group I know well and enjoy working with,” Hawk said in a news release. 

“It’s an age group where they are just starting to get serious about competing but they aren’t yet at the age where things like jobs and driving start to get in the way so it’s a special time and an opportunity to be a good influence on who these young people become as adults.  

“I appreciate that the league board has chosen me to fill such a critical role in preparing these athletes for high school.”

Hawk recently attended his first conference meeting and said he was struck by how many other youth programs are almost one-man shows.

“It was obvious at this meeting that most of the junior high coaches in other towns also have to run their entire youth programs single handedly,” said Hawk.  

“As a coach, it’s a good feeling to know that all of these administrative tasks are taken care of and on game day all I really have to worry about is coaching football.”

WYFL board members include president Tim Denny, vice president Casey Johnson, secretary Bill Abernathy, Doug Vaughn, Phil McGrath, Josh McFadden and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School head football coach Brett Detering.

The season is scheduled to begin with an evening football camp at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School the week of July 17.  

That will also kick off practices for the 7th and 8th grade team with their first game anticipated to be on Aug. 12.  

The grade school teams are planned to begin practice in September, with their first games on Sept. 30.

League board president Tim Denny noted that there is currently a need for additional coaches at the grade school ages.

“When you look at all the literature regarding safety, it’s pretty clear that the largest factor in safety is having good coaches,” Denny said.

“We need people who know and love this game to get involved. Ideally, we’d like to have at least three coaches for each team in all age groups so that there is always a coach on the sideline to handle player safety.”

Denny encourages anyone who is interested in getting involved as a coach for the upcoming season to speak with a board member or to contact the league through the Wildcat Youth Football League’s Facebook page.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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