Vidalia Youth Football preps youngsters for high school success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Almost every young man around the country dream of one day being a football star, but to do that, he needs to learn the basics.

That&8217;s where the Vidalia Youth Football league comes in.

Mike Bowlin, who helped found the league last year, said one of the main goals of the program was to prepare young men for football at higher levels.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;There wasn&8217;t any football in the area until we did this,&8221; he said. &8220;If you weren&8217;t in a private school, there wasn&8217;t anywhere for you to play football.

&8220;The main reason this got started was to give kids something to do and give them somewhere to play, but it was also to prepare them for junior high football so those coaches didn&8217;t have to spend half the season just teaching them how to line up.&8221;

Parents and players were also plenty happy to see a league in Vidalia.

&8220;I&8217;ve got grandchildren as old as 23 and as young as 7,&8221; said Margie Fuqua, who was taking tickets at the gate during the festivities Saturday at Vidalia High School. &8220;I&8217;ve been watching these for a long time. I&8217;ve been enjoying watching them play. It gives them something to do. I&8217;ve got a grandson out here, Mac Fuqua, and a granddaughter that&8217;s a cheerleader, Lee Ann Fuqua, out there.&8221;

Michelle Temple, whose son, Chris, 11, plays for the Rives & Reynolds Bengals, and daughter, Katelin, 9, is a cheerleader in the league, said she felt football was invaluable for area children.

&8220;It&8217;s something good for them to do,&8221; she said. &8220;It gets them exercise and keeps them out of trouble.&8221;

Bowlin said he had seen nothing but

growth from his league, and expected more in the coming years.

&8220;We&8217;ve got about 225 kids on 10 teams,&8221; he said. &8220;Not to mention that, but we&8217;ve got 60 cheerleaders or so. Everybody&8217;s involved. Participation increased from last year, and I&8217;m expecting it to grow by 20 kids or so each year.&8221;

Bowlin did wish to thank the Concordia Recreational District for purchasing helmets and shoulder pads for each child.

&8220;Without them, we couldn&8217;t have gotten this started.&8221;

The league plays each Saturday beginning around 9 a.m. at Vidalia High School.