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'Super Scrimmage" an enormous success

The Kinsmen Tackle Football league, offered to kids in grades six and seven, held its annual 'Super Scrimmage' last Thursday at Century Field.
KINSMEN TACKLE FOOTBALL'S "Super Scrimmage" was held this past Thursday at Century Field. The annual event features teams from Yorkton and the surrounding area playing a series of scrimmages against each other to showcase their skills.

The Kinsmen Tackle Football league, offered to kids in grades six and seven, held its annual 'Super Scrimmage' last Thursday at Century Field.

The annual event marks the end of the spring tackle football season and features teams from Yorkton and the surrounding area coming together for short scrimmages and socializing.

As Roby Sharpe, President of Yorkton Minor Football, says, "(The kids) get a chance to play with the different communities. Preeceville has a chance to come in and play us, Kelvington, Kamsack, teams we don't see throughout the year."

Not only does the 'Super Scrimmage' offer a chance to match skills with out-of-towners, Sharpe explains, it is also a 'showcase' of how much these kids have learned.

"It kind of gives us a chance to showcase where these kids have come from," Sharpe details,"They start the season and they don't even really know what a football is, or what a tackle is, or what a first down is - and then you see them playing here today and they're making big hits. It's exciting to see how much they've improved."

An encouraging sight at the annual scrimmage was the legions of kids from all over the Parkland coming to play and learn football.

The only no-show on the day, in fact, was Canora, who had worried about potential weather problems.

Fortunately for those attending, the promises of a 50mm downpour were left unfulfilled.

The Kinsmen Tackle Football League, a brainchild of Roby Sharpe and the Yorkton Regional High School Raider football coaching staff, is a league that offers football instruction to kids who otherwise would not be of age to qualify for a high school team.

As Sharpe outlines, the league was created to even the competitive balance that was evident between here and cities like Regina.

"The reason we started this league was because... we were having trouble competing with the Regina high school teams because their kids start playing at this age. So we got this league going so our kids get a chance to start playing football at a younger age (and) get the feel of it."

As the turnout for last Thursday's event could attest, the children are certainly buying into the program and the game of football.

"The game sells itself. It's easy to love the game of football. Once the kids start playing, they get it in their blood. That's when they work on their skills... and they keep getting better. Once they love the game, it's easy to work on it," Sharpe says.

For mother Patti Zerr, whose son Noah is in the program, the 'Super Scrimmage' is a great way to end a successful year of youth football.

"The super scrimmage day today is just a fantastic event for kids to get to play all the different teams and they get to socialize and have hot dogs, and sort of wrap up the year," Zerr says.

The chance at participating in a football program that has grown and flourished to this magnitude was a opportunity too good to pass up for Zerr and son Noah (now in his second year with the league).

"(Noah) showed an interest in football and we wanted him to get into a program that was really geared for kids his age and kids his size," she says.

While Zerr's endorsement of Kinsmen tackle football is a resounding one, it is made even more remarkable by the fact that she, along with the rest of her family, are actually residents of Langenburg.

"We don't live here, we drive three hours, or six hours... both ways a week to get our son to play in this program because it's really a tremendous program here they have running," Zerr emphasizes.

The day was an exciting one for everyone involved but especially for those actually playing in it.

Nick Payne, a quarterback and linebacker for the 'Lions' squad, indicates that he is very grateful to Sharpe for organizing a day like this.

"It's pretty cool (that) he (Roby?Sharpe) put all of his time into it."

Payne's enthusiasm for football was infectious as he revealed his favourite part of the game.

"I just like to tackle," he recounts, stating his preference of linebacker to quarterback.

For kids like Payne, exposure to football at a younger age (and in this environment) will certainly provide him with great memories and an enduring love of the game.

"I just love football," Payne says.

An important thing to remember for a sport like football is the dedication required from those involved.

That includes the tireless work of coaches, who donate their time to the cause.

"We really give our thanks to the coaches here who come and are right on the field with the kids and give up their spring time. They coach their own football teams in the fall so this is the time that our kids have an opportunity to learn to play and they're very passionate about it,"?Zerr says.

The coach's enthusiasm is indeed contagious and spreads a good attitude throughout the program.

"The coaches are very passionate, there's lots of energy and fun in this program and it's putting Yorkton on the map so we're very proud to be here," Zerr mentions.

With sentiments like Zerr's being the prevailing message of the day, it's clear that the sky is the limit for football in this region.