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Rob Potter | Democrat

The Fallsburg Pop Warner Junior Pee Wee football team is preparing for its first game of the season the weekend of Sept. 11-12. Kneeling in the front row, from left to right, are Destiny Decker, Chris Lee, Sean Pettway, Terrence Thomas, Jalen Harvey, Gohan Norford, Brian Decker and Mark Stubble. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Rahmel Brownridge, Joseph Steigler, Assistant Coach George Steigler, Cecil Brownridge, Ashton Strang, Xavier Staten, Cameron Hayes, Coach Scott Whitehead, Zack McCombs and Evan Donnelly. Missing from photo are Kyle Hatt, Steven Seastrand and Assistant Coach Tony Harvey.

Fallsburg Pop Warner program prepares for a new season

By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG — August 31, 2010 — Since Aug. 1, the players, cheerleaders and coaches of the Fallsburg Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Association have been preparing for the 2010 season.
Fallsburg’s first game will be played on the weekend of Sept. 11-12.
But for the second year in a row, a decline in the number of kids signing up for the program means that only one Fallsburg football team will take the field. Last year, Fallsburg had a Mitey Mite team for players ages 7, 8 and 9 who weighed between 45 and 90 pounds. This autumn, Fallsburg will have a Junior Pee Wee team for 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds who weigh between 60 and 105 pounds and one 11-year-old player who weighs no more than 85 pounds.
Coach Scott Whitehead noted that some other kids came to the season’s first practice.
“There were three or four 5- and 6-year-olds, one 7-year-old and two 12-year-olds,” he said. “But unfortunately, we didn’t have a team for them because of their ages and weights.
“We have 18 kids on our team this season,” Whitehead added. “Four of them are first-year kids, but the other 14 are returning players. Two of them, Rahmel Brownridge and Joseph Steigler, are in their fourth season.”
Whitehead is looking forward to the season.
“It would be nice if our numbers were better, but all of these players are working hard to get ready for the season,” he said.
While the Junior Pee Wee team is based in Fallsburg, it is open to all kids in Sullivan County. Twelve of the squad’s 18 players are from Fallsburg, four live in Monticello and two live in Ellenville.
Fallsburg Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Association President Lewis Borko is disappointed by the low numbers, especially since the association had enough kids to field three teams during the 2006 season.
“Our numbers aren’t where we would like them to be,” Borko said as he watched the team practice on Thursday night at Morningside Park. “There is a fee to sign up, but financial assistance is available.”
A growth in the number of other youth football organizations around the county has also affected the Fallsburg program.
“This is our seventh year and the other youth football programs in Sullivan County are building on the success we have had,” Borko said. “Now there are teams in Tri-Valley, Liberty, Monticello and other places. But we are the only official Pop Warner team.”
Fallsburg is a member of the Mid-Hudson Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Association. The team will be playing teams from places like Beacon, Cortlandt Manor, Kingston and Poughkeepsie this fall.
Fallsburg has 19 cheerleaders this season. The girls, who range in age from 6 to 13, are divided into two teams – Tiny Mite and Junior Midget. Coaches for the teams are Keri Whitehead, Andrea Hook and Dawn Perneszi.
In addition to the fees paid by the players’ parents or guardians, the Fallsburg Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading Association receives money from area businesses.
“We have a sponsorship board here at the field where we put up the signs of the local businesses that help us out,” Borko said. “Sponsorships are still available for this season.”
For more information about becoming a sponsor, please call Borko at 866-0764.
Borko noted that there is a strong family connection with this year’s Fallsburg football and cheerleading teams. The cheerleading teams include two sets of twins and another family has a brother on the football team and a sister on one of the cheerleading teams. In addition, two brothers on the football team have a sister who is a cheerleader and one of the football players has two sisters on the cheerleading teams.

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