Adams Youth Football Teams Clinch Two ChampionshipsBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, November 10, 2006
Adams - Two Berkshire County Youth Football League championships were brought to this town on Nov. 5 when the Adams Saints senior division team claimed a 20-0 victory over a Lanesboro team and the Adams Jets junior division team powered their way to a 6-0 win over a Lanesboro team during a game that spilled into overtime.
|kneeling, Berkshire County Youth Football League champion Saints team Co-captains Collin Kline and Nick Bourdon, standing from left, team Co-captain Mike Davis, Coach Mark Harrington, and team Co-captain Corey Meczywor|
The Jets championship capped a perfect season for the team. The Jets ended the season as undefeated champions with an eight-game winning streak. The Saints enjoyed a solid season as well, with six wins, one loss and one tie game.
Jets Co-captain Alex Bush, Coach David Scott, Co-captain Justin Cote and Co-captain Ethan Ryan. The Adams Youth Football League team won the Berkshire County Youth Football League junior division championship on Nov. 5.
Adams Youth Football League Coaches Mark Harrington, who coached the Saints, and David Scott, who coached the Jets, said they were proud of their teams. The Lanesboro teams have earned reputations as skilled teams and have won previous youth league championships, Harrington and Scott said.
"Every kid on these two teams has been beat by Lanesboro," Scott said. "They are tough teams, the teams that you expect are going to win."
Jets Co-captains Alex Bush, Justin Cote, and Ethan Ryan offered one-word assessments of their championship victory.
"Awesome," said Justin.
"Great," said Alex.
"Fantastic," said Ethan.
Quentin Atwell was also a Jets co-captain during this season.
The Jets age group is 10 and 11 years old with a player maximum weight limit of 120 pounds. Alex, Ethan and Justin all recently celebrated their 12th birthdays but were age-eligible during the season for junior division play.
The senior division includes youth aged 12 and 13 years old with a 150-pound maximum player weight. Saints Co-captains Mike Davis, Corey Meczywor,Collin Kline and Nick Bourdon agreed that their victory caused them to feel "very happy," "excited," and "exhilarated."
The BCYFL hosts a peewee division that accepts younger players. The peewee division does not include a championship event.
No Bigger Smile
Harrington has been a youth football coach for 18 consecutive years, and spent 17 years as an assistant coach. This was his first season as the Saints head coach. Harrington spent time coaching youth football when he was 18 and coached for about two years. Military service interrupted his coaching endeavors, he said.
"I was the assistant coach 30 years ago," he said. "I waited 29 years to be the head coach of the Saints, and this was a great first year. I come back every year for the kids, but I really have to tell you that seeing [the team] win the championship,it was the most gratifying thing. I've had a lot of important moments in my life. I don't think I've ever had anything like this that put a bigger smile on my face. This is something I did with the kids and the [assistant] coaches."
John Duval, Jeff Lefebvre, Al Lillie, Mike Zieba, and Craig Wilson were Saints assistant coaches.
"These Kids Knew What To Do"
He is very proud of the Jets accomplishments, Scott said.
"It was great to be involved in a competitive atmosphere," he said. "And to be at a championship game and remembering the kids first practices, to see it culminate into a championship, that was great. And it was good to be undefeated. These kids knew what to do to win. They learned the game and each one of them did their job."
Scott began coaching nine years ago when his son became involved with youth football. His son progressed through the levels of play and eventually "aged out" of the league, but Scott remained committed to the next generations of youth athletes. This season marked Scott's first time at the junior level; previously, he coached the peewee division players.
"I enjoy teaching the sport," he said. "And I really like seeing kids progress and develop skills. These kids [juniors] have some skills. At the peewee level, the kids need to learn the plays and how to remember what to do. They have to learn about the equipment."
Scott acknowledged the efforts of the Jets assistant coaches. Marty Bush, Kevin Gage, Jim Ryan, and Kevin Kordana served as assistant coaches.
Youth sports offer a wide range of benefits to team members, said Harrington and Scott.
"There Aren't Enough Kids On Playgrounds Anymore"
Physical activity leads to increased levels of fitness, and team sports create situations that promote leadership, teamwork, skill development, respect for themselves and others, and goal setting, both coaches said.
Harrington emphasized that football requires discipline and commitment, and those qualities are necessary for success throughout one's adult life.
"I think that sports, especially youth sports, are underrated," he said. "I think that youth sports is on par with education. There aren't enough kids on the playgrounds anymore, and when is the last time you saw a kid on a bicycle with a ball and bat? I believe what is learned through youth sports goes to life skills, and football is one of the most disciplined sports. Everyone works for the good of the team."
Scott added that the teamwork aspect gives skilled players a chance to mentor those who are at beginning stages of play.
"Sometimes, kids have to try harder to learn the skills and their teammates help them," he said. "It's camaraderie, it's teamwork, and everyone is in it for the common good. Youth sports does give kids discipline and structure, and for some kids, the time they spend at practice and games with their team and their coach is the most discipline and structure they get."
More Than A Game
The Saints and Jets co-captains all participate with sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer, and all seven youths said that sports keep them busy year-round. The friendships they've made and the skills they've acquired are invaluable, all of the co-captains said.
And when asked what might interest them if they did not participate with sports, not one youth had an answer.
But when asked if they believed they had benefited from their athletic experiences, they listed several positives.
"It keeps us all out of trouble," said Corey.
"Sports keeps us in shape," said Nick.
"It's a good way to meet people," said Alex.
Sports programs also teach young people appropriate ways to express themselves and handle strong emotions, the young athletes said.
"A Good Program With A Lot To Offer"
The Adams Youth Football League operates in conjunction with a cheerleader program, Scott and Harrington said. Peewee, junior, and senior cheerleaders cheer at the games.
"We are probably the only program in the area that ties our youth football and the cheerleaders together," Scott said.
Adams Youth Football League teams and cheerleaders will be honored during a league year-end banquet scheduled for Nov. 17 at the Eagles Hall on Curran Highway in North Adams.
There is a yearly $35 player registration fee for the AYFL.
Equipment such as uniforms and helmets are provided by the league. The town contributes some revenues to the league but most of the program is funded through sponsor donations and a significant amount of fundraising, said Harrington.
"This is a good program with a lot to offer," said Scott. "I encourage parents to look into what our football program offers. There's commitment, teamwork, respect and a lot of other things. It really teaches the kids a lot."
Major sponsors of the 2006 Adams Youth Football League included the Adams Co-Operative Bank, Atlantis Equipment, Burke Construction, R. Cwalinski General Contractor, Kordana Electric, McAndrews-King Pontiac Buick GMC Trucks, Modern Excavation, Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. and the Deputy Sheriffs of Berkshire County, Specialty Minerals, Inc., South Adams Savings Bank, Stanley's Lumber, and Scott's Carpet One.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.