By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG June 25, 2004 Although the calendar says June, a dedicated group of people are busy preparing for football season.
For the past several months, members of the Fallsburg Pop Warner Jr. Comets Football and Cheering Association have been taking the necessary steps to create two Fallsburg Junior Comets football teams and a Junior Comets cheerleading squad.
The idea of bringing Pop Warner football which is for boys between the ages of 8 and 12 to Fallsburg was first discussed last August. Walter Milton, Jr., a former college football player on the Division I level who had just arrived in the area to begin his first year as the Fallsburg Central School Superintendent, spoke with a couple of FCS teachers and Town of Fallsburg residents about fielding a local Pop Warner team.
After a great deal of planning and preparation, members of the Fallsburg Pop Warner Jr. Comets Football and Cheering Association are eagerly awaiting the start of the season. Those members include President Mike Weiner, Vice President Dave Luczyski, Secretary Brad Dramazo, Treasurer Neil Gilberg, Football Chairman Arnold Seletsky and Volunteer Committee Chairman Paul Marsden.
Its something for the whole community, Weiner said. Were going to have home games on Saturday nights at Morningside Park.
Lights were recently installed around the parks Monroe Clark Baseball Fields, which will become the Jr. Comets football field this autumn.
Weiner also noted that the home games will feature a concession stand with all kinds of refreshments and halftime shows performed by the Jr. Comets cheerleaders.
Football is such a part of a community, Seletsky said.
Seletsky also noted that the Pop Warner program mixes athletics with academics.
The players have to have a 70 average or better to participate and they can receive awards for their academics, Seletsky said.
There will be two Jr. Comets football teams and they will compete in the Mid-Hudson Pop Warner League. The Jr. Peewee team will be for players who are 8-, 9-, or 10- years-old and weigh between 55 and 95 pounds. Youngsters who are 12-years-old and weigh between 55 and 75 pounds may also play for the Jr. Peewee team.
The Peewee squad will consist of players between the ages of 9 and 11 who weigh at least 70 pounds, but no more than 110 pounds. Twelve-year-old boys who weigh at least 70 pounds but no more than 90 pounds may also play on the squad.
We have had a good turnout, but we still need kids from the surrounding area, Seletsky said. We also have some coaching positions available.
Since a dozen more players are needed to completely fill the Jr. Peewee and Peewee team rosters, the association members are encouraging youngsters from the neighboring Towns of Liberty, Neversink and Thompson to sign up for the program. Assistant coaches, timekeepers, crews for the first down markers and other volunteers are also needed.
Top-of-line equipment including helmets and jerseys has been purchased for the players.
While the football teams still need some players, the cheerleading squad is filled.
Jr. Comets Cheerleading Coordinator Kiffanie Rodgers and Co-Coordinator Valerie Luczyski noted that 45 girls ages 8 to 12 have signed up to be cheerleaders and mascots. The majority of the girls will be cheerleaders who wear traditional cheerleading uniforms and cheer with pom-poms. Seven girls will wear color-coordinated shirts and shorts and be mascots.
This is an opportunity for young girls to participate in the program and it gives them something positive to do, Rodgers said.
I think just about every little girl wants to be a cheerleader, Valerie Luczyski commented.
If all goes well, the two ladies hope to have dance competitions and related events for the cheerleaders next year.
For the 2004 season, however, they still need some assistant coaches. Those assistant coaches need to be at least 18 years of age.
Practices for the two Jr. Comets football teams begin August 1 and the season starts in September.
Optional weigh-ins for players will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 16 and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 17. Both weigh-in sessions will be held at Morningside Park.
For more information about Fallsburg Jr. Comets football, please call Seletsky at (914) 797-1818 or 434- 3061.
For more information about Fallsburg Jr. Comets cheerleading, please call Rodgers at 434-5501 or Luczyski at 436-6421.