UNION COUNTY — High School Football Season is back. Union County has a history of producing very good football teams. Whether it was the Sims, Lockhart, Jonesville, or Union High we have a lot to be proud of when it comes to high school football.
Building a great high school football program starts well before a player ever enters the doors of a high school. Really it starts before they ever enter the doors of a middle school. Youth football programs are vital to the success of football at higher levels. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Coach Bobby Bentley built the Byrnes Rebels into one of the best dynasties that this state has ever seen. The Rebels captured eight state titles from 2002-2011. That’s right eight. What was behind this success? One of the best youth football programs you will find anywhere. Dorman High School now has a very similar program, and look what Dave Gutshall has done there recently.
Youth football is important. It teaches kids the fundamentals of the game. How to tackle correctly being one of the biggest. Teaching kids how to play the game correctly, how to tackle correctly, goes a long way toward preventing injuries like we are seeing become more and more prevalent at the higher levels. Youth football done right can be a valuable tool in building great football players that will one day be ready to play in high school and in college.
Last year I got to be the head coach of a six and seven year old Stinger PeeWee team. Most of the kids on the team had never played football before. None of these kids had ever played tackle football before. It was a challenge.
The first thing we did is taught them proper tackling technique. How to keep your head up and not lead with your helmet. I felt like this is the most important thing you can teach a young kid just learning the game. We want to do all we can to prevent head, neck, and back injuries.
Being the head coach of such a young team was a struggle, but there was nothing more rewarding than the looks on those kids faces when we won our first game, or the look on their faces and the pure excitement they had when we made it to the PeeWee Championship game.
Union has had a good youth football program for sometime. Some of the best players in this county’s history have come through that program. I for one learned a lot about the game while playing for the Carlisle Finishing Steelers back around 1997.
If your child loves football and dreams of being a Yellow Jacket one day, the best thing you can do for them is sign them up to play Stinger Football. Sign ups will run through Friday, Aug. 24 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at the Timken Sports Complex. There are three age groups: 5-7, 8 and 9, and 10-12. The two older age groups will have a draft on Saturday, Aug. 24. Go by Timken and sign your child up today. They will learn how to play football and how to play it in a fundamentally sound way.
The Road to State Titles begins in Stinger Football.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]