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In football, no matter what level a team is playing at, one axiom holds true: size is important.

Coach Ken Selle talks with youth league football players during a practice at Red Rock High School last season.Of course, when you’re talking about youth football, size is relative.

The Sedona Youth Football Juniors division team is looking forward to having one of its best seasons yet, according to coach Chuck Russell, for one big reason: they are big.

“This year we have a lot of children of size, which is integral to playing football,” Russell said. “Usually in Sedona we don’t have a lot of big kids, but this year we have an offensive line.

“There should be big things on the horizon.”

More than 50 kids, from third through eighth grade, are participating in the Sedona Youth Football league this year, and Sedona fields a team in each of the three divisions: Junior Peewees [third- and fourth-graders], Peewees [fifth- and sixth-graders], and
Juniors [seventh- and eighth-graders].

The kids began practices in early August and all three teams will play their first games this Saturday, Aug. 24, starting at 9 a.m. against the Anthem Sabercats at Sedona Red Rock High School.

Russell is the president of the league which is a part of Alliance Youth Sports, a partner of USA Football.

Under USA Football guidelines, coaches are required to teach its Heads Up tackling program that shows the proper techniques for
tackling to reduce the incidence of injury.

“We do follow the Heads Up tackling program,” Russell said, “to limit the amount of contact and cut down on the cases of concussion.”

But Russell said the toughest part of youth football for the kids is to get them used to hitting.

“Every practice we work on the fundamentals of tackling and blocking, just trying to get over the shock of hitting,” Russell said. “A lot of kids in the youth football program — it’s shocking to them.

“Even my kids who have played for years and years just started hitting last week.

“But routinely, the game of football is tackling and blocking, and that’s it. It’s all about tackling and blocking.”

Russell said he expects his Juniors team to do well again this year — make the playoffs and have a chance to go for a championship.

“The Juniors make the playoffs every year,” Russell said. “We usually lose to the eventual champion — or we have for the last three years, but we’ve always had a successful season and we’re looking forward to having another successful season.
“We’ve got one of the best team’s we’ve ever had in the Juniors division.

“Many of my players are first-year players who’ve never even strapped on a helmet, so us coaches have our work cut out for us,” he continued. “But the children are very determined and they want to learn and they’re tough kids, so hopefully we can put it all together.”

Jeff Bear can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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