Youth football springs into action

Apr 20, 2021


After missing out on the fall season, Old Rochester Youth Football and Cheer is back for the spring — minus the “Cheer.”

“There was just not enough room to do everything,” league President Marissa Johnson said.

She said that because many high schools aren’t renting out their fields to youth teams in the pandemic, Old Rochester had to exclude cheer and the younger football teams this year.

Instead, just three levels of players, aged nine to 14 will play this season, and the two younger levels will begin again alongside cheer next fall.

But, because football is a contact sport, Johnson said it’s good to phase the league back in.

“We weren’t sure how the younger kids were gonna react,” she said, to mask wearing and social distancing on the field.

Johnson added that “everything seems to be going really well,” after two weekends of games so far this season.

She said the kids are “used to” mask wearing and that the teams have been limiting the duration and frequency of contact drills to stay safe.

For the most part, Johnson said the league is following the lead of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association for covid procedures “as much as we could.”

But, because some of the youth players play both offense and defense, the teams can’t be properly separated into two groups.

Even with the caveats though, Johnson said the kids have been excited to play.

“We didn’t even know if it was gonna happen,” she said.

Johnson said finding field time and other teams to play against was a challenge. But once everything was secure, the season could go on.

And while it’s been “a little stressful” with covid, Johnson said it’s good that the eighth graders in the league will get to have their final youth season.