Brindlee Mountain head football coach Keith Garner was thrilled with the turnout of high school and middle school players for spring workouts, which ended just before the school’s graduation on May 17.
Upward of 55 players came out, including more than 30 high schoolers, and there are hopes of a few more before the season starts this August.
But Garner might’ve been happier with the news that, for the first time in probably a decade, there will be a youth football program featuring three different teams in the
Brindlee Mountain area this fall. Rocky Knepper, park director for Brindlee Mountain-area rec sports, confirms there are enough players signed up already to field teams in the 5-7, 8-9 and 10-12 age groups, but more are welcome to join the fun (call him at 256-640-5416 by next Saturday, June 5, to sign up by phone).
“It’s a new day at Brindlee Mountain,” the ever-optimistic Garner said. “We had a good spring and I’ve got a good feeling about the pee wee program.”
Garner, who has worked for years without success to have some kind of youth program to feed the middle school team, has never benefited from one since taking over the reins at Brindlee Mountain in 2017. One criticism of the program has been the lack of a feeder program. Garner even went to such lengths as starting a flag football team or program but to no avail.
“We’ve got to have something,” he said at the time.
Knepper confirmed this is the first youth football program in at least 10 years. Home games will be played at the Brindlee Mountain High School field. The first games are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14.
As for the spring workouts, Garner left the practice field more excited than usual, even though a scheduled jamboree with Elkmont on May 14 was canceled because the opponent fired its coach days prior to the game.
“If we had to start tomorrow,” we’d have 30 varsity players and 20 to 25 middle school players, which is good for us,” Garner said. “We have a couple of kids out we’re expecting to play. We had a good, physical spring.
“Even the (loss of the jamboree) proved to be something of a blessing as we used the time to work on the basics.”
With summer school starting soon (June 7), Garner expects participation in summer workouts to be high. Even though football will be sharing a lot of athletes with baseball and basketball in June, Garner said there will be plenty of time to get a team ready for the start of preseason practice in early August.
“The last week of July, we’ll have some competitions in the weight room and on the field, and we might possibly have some 7-on-7s,” he said. “The season’s going to be here before you know it.”
Nick Bolding returns as the middle school head coach.
• ARAB PEE WEE
Meanwhile, Arab’s pee wee program, Arab Area Youth Football and Cheer, is re-starting under some new leadership. The first signup day is Saturday, June 5, and it’s being called a “Fun Day” at the pee wee field at Arab City Park. It begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon, and hot dogs, chips and cold drinks will be served.
There will be regular signup dates throughout the summer, with the team draft set for Aug. 7 and the start of practice scheduled for Aug. 9.
The league hopes to return to fielding four teams: Broncos, Raiders, Cowboys and Titans. Last year, during the pandemic, the league contracted to three teams to make sure there were enough players to field all the teams.
All games will be played at the pee wee field. There are no fees. Football players must be 9 years old by Oct. 31, and they can’t be 13 before Aug. 1.
Cheerleaders must be 5 by Oct. 1 and they can’t be 13 before Aug. 1. Birth certificates are needed at time of registration.
For more information, call: Kimberly Moore at 256-553-9470; or Margaret Eddie at 256-293-6212.
• ARAB FLAG FOOTBALL
Registration for the Arab Parks and Recreation boys and girls flag football and cheerleading will continue until Jul5 25 at the rec center. Ages are 5-14 years old (age as of Aug. 1). Must bring birth certificate at time of registration.
Fee is $55 for both flag football and cheerleading (bow and pom poms need to be purchased separately).
For more information, contact the rec center: 256-586-6793.