Johnson City Press: Elizabethton club starting youth flag-football league
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Elizabethton club starting youth flag-football league

Douglas Fritz • Jul 13, 2019 at 5:24 PM

Football can be a rough sport, and Rik Anderson began to think it might not be suited for 5- and 6-year-olds.

“With the reports about contact at that age doing damage later in life, we were concerned about the aftereffects,” said Anderson, who is the athletic coordinator for the Elizabethton Boys & Girls Club. “We were discussing an alternative for 5-6-year-old tackle football for a couple of years. We looked at a few different ideas, but nothing really seemed right.”

The Boys & Girls Club settled on the idea of contacting Ryan Witten at Witten Huddle.

“We wanted to see if they would be interested in combining and forming a flag-football league with the club,” said Anderson. “Witten Huddle had been doing flag football for a few years and really had it down to what needed to be taught at that age, and how to do it.

“Ryan was very receptive to the idea. So for us it was a win-win situation. This got us out of tackle football for that age, and we knew the kids would be put in a program that would teach them the right things and make it very beneficial for them.”

It is called BGCWH Flag Football League. It will consist of teams with eight to 10 players each. Seven players will be on the field at a time. Games will begin Aug. 17 and run on Saturdays into October. They will be played at Citizens Bank Stadium and T.A. Dugger Middle School.

Signups are under way and will continue through July 20. Visit www.bgcecc.org/sports. The cost is $65, which Anderson said covers everything needed to participate. The age cutoff is July 31, and the league is open to boys and girls.

For more information, contact Anderson at [email protected], call Witten at 707-5419, or e-mail [email protected]

“We think flag football will be the thing of the future for younger players, probably in the next few years,” said Anderson. “We want to start a program that will maximize the skills needed to be ready to play football in middle school and high school. We know this partnership with Witten Huddle will make them as prepared as possible. We look forward to this league growing each season.”

Anderson also said any other flag-football organization wanting to play games or join the league can contact him or Witten.

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