Registration begins for Youth Football and Cheer League
Participants in the Davison Community Enrichment and Recreation (DCER) youth football and cheerleading league will continue to compete in the Genesee County Football League (GCFL) this year but the tackling will be limited to fifth and sixth grades.
"We have eliminated the tackle division for third and fourth grade based on the rising national concern of concussions in high impact youth sports,” said Andrew Jared, DCER’s youth programming coordinator. “
Jared said DCER will happily offer flag football for ALL students entering the 2018-2019 school year in grades K-4. The tackle football program will be available to students entering grades five and six. Players will only be eligible to participate in 5th/6th grade tackle football if they are under age 12 on July 1, 2018. Youth cheerleading programs will be offered for both K-4 flag and 5th/6th grade tackle leagues.
According to Randy Schlak, Davison Middle School Athletic Coordinator and Youth Football Coordinator, there are other changes in the GCFL this year, including the elimination of playoffs and shortening games from 12 minutes with stoppages to a 10-minute running clock. The season will also consist of six games ending in mid-October.
“The purpose of our football league is to provide our youth with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of football in a safe and fun environment,” Schlak said. “The emphasis is on player development and safety, not winning championships.”
Schlak said the changes were introduced to the league by DCER.
“We felt that the league mission didn't match up with our mission and if these changes weren't made we would have looked for somewhere else to play,” Schlak said. “With the awareness of concussions, over-use injuries and burnout, the elimination of third and fourth grade tackle will help prevent some of these things from happening. We don't feel there is any advantage to player development by having 8- and 9-year-old children participating in full contact football. They will have the opportunity to develop skills by playing in our flag football league.”
Schlak added that the elimination of playoffs will help keep the focus on development, fairness, and enjoyment instead of winning.
“Having playoffs adds pressure to win, which causes coaches to make decisions that may not be in the best interest of all of the players’ development,” he said. “In addition, shortening the season gives us a chance to end the season before the weather gets too cold and uncomfortable for the kids. The games in the past lasted up to two hours plus. By shortening the game it will be easier for the kids to remain focused the entire time as well as get them off the field sooner, reducing the chance for injury.”
"I am excited with the direction our program is heading,” said Jared. “The decisions we've made have been under discussion for a while and viewpoints from all parties have been considered. Using flag football to teach kids the basic components of the game has been proven to be a safe and effective way to force kids to utilize their feet and lateral movements to become smarter players. It's a great stepping stone for kids once they reach the higher level of football. I believe in the vision of this district - putting kids first, and I look forward to a successful 2018 football campaign for both flag and tackle programs."
Youth sporting programs have been a long-standing tradition in Davison and Jake Weingartz, the new Varsity Football Coach for Davison Community Schools, knows firsthand how important they can be.
“A well-run youth football program is imperative to the success of the middle school and high school programs,” he said. “We are not just talking about wins and losses either. Wins and losses are not the measuring stick for a great youth football program. Having fun should be, and will be, the number one goal at that level, along with teaching the basics fundamentals of the game. If the kids have an enjoyable experience they will continue to play this great sport that teaches so many life lessons. If we as coaches can provide our youth an enjoyable experience they will develop a love and passion for the game, which will turn into success when they reach high school.”
Weingartz said he and his staff will assist the youth football coaches in every aspect of the game from fundamentals to schematics.
“We will work hand-in-hand and be involved with everything that the Davison youth football program entails,” he said.
In addition to football, DCER offers a variety of youth programs, including most of the major sports such as football, cheerleading, lacrosse, wrestling, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, karate and gymnastics. In addition, we also offer courses in art, dance, cooking, creative crafts and outdoor certifications, according to DCER Supervisor Christina McWilliams.
“By offering courses and special events outside of the normal classroom setting, we believe our programs are a key component to developing well-rounded individuals starting at a young age with character, sportsmanship, integrity and responsibility,” McWilliams said.
Cost of the flag football program is $65 and includes three days of practice, five weeks of games, and a league T-shirt. The cost for the tackle football program is $195.00 and includes equipment, league fees and a jersey. The deadline to register is July 27.
Cost for the flag cheer program is $75 and includes five practices and instruction, five weeks of games, cheer uniform (shell/skirt only) and video tutorials. Poms will be provided for use at games. Cost for the tackle cheer program is $175 and includes eight weeks of cheer practices & instruction, cheer uniform, briefs, socks, hair bow and (new) warm up pants. Poms will be provided for use at games.
To register or for more information, please visit https://dcer.davisonschools.org or call the DCER office at 591-0177.