Pop Warner teams seeking players | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pop Warner teams seeking players

Steve Yingling

Like many pro football teams, the South Tahoe Pop Warner football league began preparing for the 2004 season this week.

Unlike pro teams, however, South Tahoe’s youth league for 8- to 15-year-olds is short on players.

In order to compete against other regional teams, each of South Tahoe’s four squads must start the season with 18 players. So far, the midgets, junior midgets, peewees and junior peewees have at least 18 players but only as many as 26. That’s not much leeway for squads that will ultimately lose several players to injury and disinterest.

“Eightteen is what I had last year and it makes it tough to compete against teams with 35 kids. As a rule, Sparks, Carson and Reno teams all have 35 kids,” said Casey Tierney, who coaches the peewees.

The league has already folded its youngest team – the mighty mites – for the second straight year because of a discouraging turnout.

South Tahoe teams practice five nights a week from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at South Tahoe High School. New players can sign up at this time.

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Children who are reluctant to try out because they have missed practice time, shouldn’t worry.

“Our first game isn’t until Sept. 10-11 because of the late Labor Day, so there is plenty of time for conditioning,” said Pop Warner President Jean Yingling.

Players, however, must condition for five practice days before being permitted to begin contact drills. Junior peewee coach Mike Williams will hold weekend conditioning practices from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday to help children make up for lost time.

Players are grouped according to weight and age:

Midgets: ages 11-14 with a weight range of 95 to 145 pounds and an older lighter option for 15 year-olds who are 95-125 pounds.

Junior Midgets: ages 10-12 with a weight range of 80-125 pounds and an older lighter option for 13-year-olds who are 80-105 pounds.

Peewees: ages 9-11 with a weight range 70-110 pounds and an older lighter option for 12-year-olds 70-90 pounds.

Junior Peewee: ages 8-10 with a weight range of 55-95 pounds and an older lighter option for 11-year-olds 55-75 pounds.