Junior football players from Norfolk schools were introduced to football at the Junior Football Jamboree, hosted by Holy Trinity on June 6.
Junior football is for students in Grade 9 and 10. It is offered as an introductory program in the spring to prepare them for the next school year’s fall season.
Dave Leatherland, Delhi’s coach, said he had students approach him wanting to play football but they were unsure about trying out with the bigger, older seniors.
“For those kids to come out and try to learn the game during varsity football in the fall when the great big senior guys are there is pretty intimidating,” said Leatherland. “On the first day of practice we had students out there that had never played football before, but this is where they learn.”
Schools that participated in the jamboree were Delhi District Secondary School, Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Simcoe Composite School, and Waterford District High School.
The games were played on a half-field, so four teams were able to play at once.
“Those kids that came out with no knowledge of the game at all have been practicing for three weeks now. Today they looked like football players, and that’s a product of them making the commitment to practising, working on their game, and learning,” said Leatherland.
The hopes of the competition are for the students to have a positive experience learning the game.
“It’s supposed to teach them the fundamentals of the game and also spark their passion for it, making the transition to senior football in the fall a lot easier,” said Kennedy Harvey, one of the Simcoe Composite School coaches.
Each team gets 10 offensive plays and 10 defensive plays to attempt to score. Each score is counted as one point, but the final score is not counted.
The coaches are allowed on the field during play to help the athletes, since the program is about teaching skills and building passion.
“You can instantly remedy a situation where a kid has made a mistake, which is an ideal situation,” said SCS coach Chris Harvey, about the positive impact of coaches on the field. “If you talk to a kid four plays from now, about something that happened four plays ago they might not necessarily remember the circumstances.”
The teams practised every school night for three weeks, and the jamboree in Simcoe was the conclusion of the season. There were no regular season games or playoffs.