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YMF finale held at Kinsmen Century field

Over 80 kids participated in something last week that they'll only get the chance to do only twice in their lifetime.

Over 80 kids participated in something last week that they'll only get the chance to do only twice in their lifetime.

The past week marked the end of the Yorkton Minor Football season with a scrimmage held Wednesday and Thursday at the Yorkton Regional High School Kinsmen Century Field.

The scrimmaging involved players under the age of 13 representing five different centres including Yorkton.

Teams made the trip to Yorkton from Kamsack, Preeceville, Kelvington, two from Melville, and four from Yorkton, including teams named the Lions, Stampeders, Ti-Cats and Bombers.

Jason Farrell, who along with YRHS physical education teacher and head coach of its senior football program Roby Sharpe, played a large part in getting the teams and the scrimmaging organized, said it was good this year because a lot of the players were in it for the second time around.

"The kids playing this year," he said, "a lot of them, are second-year players."

Farrell suggested that it is one of the reasons the organizers know that the goal of the program is being met.

"The results are starting to show," suggests Farrell.

Some of the players in the league are as young as 11 years of age, while some are at the age maximum which is 13, the cutoff age for the PeeWee football league.

He said the league tries to promote the importance of not only being able to perform on the field at such a young age, but also the even more important aspect of doing well off the field, too.

Farrell said that he and Sharpe have both strongly taken a zero-tolerance stance on the school factor, regardless of how well they perform at game time.

"If you get into trouble in school, you are not playing football," he insists.

Because most of the players are at such a young age, he said that the group is also about having some fun and hopefully learning more about the game and developing a feel for their own strengths; then there's the social part of it too, Farrell points out.

"There are a lot of new kids here. They're establishing a new group of friends," observes Farrell.

Yorkton Minor Football (YMF) has the benefit of coaching the players for two years before they are no longer eligible to play due to the age requirements.

"Seventy-five per cent (of them) are new," he said.

Players that were eligible to take part in the 2009 camp were eligible to play this year, but won't be able to participate next season, adds Farrell.

By that point, they are old enough to join the Gridders' program, he said.

The feedback that YMF has been getting couldn't be better, Farrell states.

Parents say "it's the best thing that's happened to the kids," he says. It's the typical feedback they've been receiving so far.

Some of these kids are kids that have never been involved in any sport before.

Next up is Aug. 9 when the training camp for the PeeWee Gridders starts. The PeeWee Gridders are part of the Regina league. Farrell said the league they play in is one of the best in Canada.

"This will be the second season for the Yorkton Gridders - Yorkton's pee wee entry into the Regina Minor Football League. This league is widely regarded as one of the best minor football programs in the country."

Farrell and co., bussed to the University's field in Regina on a number of occasions last summer and found that the players didn't just get better as the season went on, but noticed they actually made improvements with each passing quarter.

They learned to play defensively, then the offence eventually followed suit.

Requirements for interested players are, those aged 14 or younger as of Oct. 31 and body weight of less than 135 lbs. Anyone interested should contact Farrell at 621-5337 for registration.

There is also going to be a Bantam football team ready for play, Farrell says. They will be coached by Shawn Redmond of the YRHS junior football program. He said that some of the players will attend football camps at the University of Regina and Saskatchewan in preparation for the PeeWee camp.