Skills evaluation helps younger players |

Skills evaluation helps younger players

The wide-eyed look that third-graders get when putting on football pads is something Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike enjoys every year.

“Of all the sports we offer, football is probably the one that the kids get the most excited for,” he said. “Third-graders are like ‘woo hoo’ the first time they try on those pads.”

Parks and Rec. puts on a football skills clinic every summer to evaluate the future football players of the Doak Walker League. The clinic for third- and fourth-graders was held Wednesday.

“I learned how to catch and pass a little better,” third-grader-to-be Cory Summer said. “I don’t care which team I’m on, I just want to play.”

Dylan Villa, a fourth-grader, remembered his first year of football and the value of not always winning.

“I was on the Raiders, and we never won,” he said. “But we had the best sportsmanship.”

Villa said that last year he couldn’t wait to put on his pads for the first time.

“I really, really wanted pads,” he said. “Now I’m ready to play again because I’m both bigger and stronger.”

Pike does his best to evaluate which players are the strongest and fastest to help keep teams even.

“Really in third and fourth grade, it’s a crap shoot,” he said. “They’re all close to equal, and they’re nowhere near developing the ability they’ll have later.”

On Wednesday, the future footballers ran sprints, threw a football and caught passes.

Tyler Gerber, a fourth-grader, had the receiving route down. He played safety last year.

“I was a safety because I was small,” he said. “I hope to be a receiver this year.” Gerber also admitted that he wore his football pads around the house sometimes last year.

“I like to imagine making big plays,” he said.

Part of the evaluation is suggesting a potential position for coaches.

“I’ll give the coaches an idea of what their kids did at the clinic,” Pike said. “Basically it’s up to the coaches though.”

Registration is still open for the fall football league. To register go to Craig City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is open to third- through sixth-graders.

“We have average numbers right now with three teams in the third- and fourth-grade league and four teams in the older group,” Pike said.

Another important date is equipment pick-up. That will happen at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at city hall.

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