By Rob Potter
LIBERTY September 4, 2007 There are two new football teams in Sullivan County.
Thanks to the efforts of staff members at Liberty Central School and the Town of Liberty Parks and Recreation Department, 57 youngsters from the Liberty area will be competing on the gridiron this autumn.
Those 57 kids, who will be entering the second through sixth grades when the 2007-2008 school year begins next week, are part of the Liberty Youth Football Program.
Liberty Central School Athletic Director Jason Semo and Town of Liberty Parks and Recreation Department Assistant Director Chris Sinceno serve as the head coaches for the youth gridiron program. The assistant coaches are Greg Botsford, Adam Burkett and Matt Stoddard.
Semo noted that since the program is in its first year, the focus is on teaching the young boys and girls the fundamentals of football. Semo said that getting the kids involved in the sport now will help the Liberty Central School modified, junior varsity and varsity football teams in future years.
“These kids are learning things like getting into a proper three-point stance, whereas some players don’t learn that until they join the modified football team in seventh grade,” Semo commented. “The kids who are in second grade now and stick with this youth football program for five years will be better players when they join the modified team.”
As far as playing actual games, the Liberty teams may compete against youth football teams from Fallsburg and Sullivan West this autumn.
Already penciled onto the calendar for the Liberty Youth Football teams are games against the Rockland Devilcats, two teams of youngsters from the Livingston Manor and Roscoe Central School Districts.
The first of those Liberty vs. Rockland Devilcats games is slated for 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 8 at Liberty. The teams will also play two night games this fall. On Friday, Sept. 21, the squads will meet at halftime at a Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats varsity football game versus Eldred at Roscoe Central School. On Friday, October 12, the Liberty and Rockland youth gridiron teams will play a game at Liberty Central School.
The Liberty and Rockland squads also plan to square off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Livingston Manor and at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 in Liberty.
Since August 20, the dozens of youngsters in the Liberty Youth Football Program have been practicing at the field behind the Liberty Middle School.
The cost to compete in the league is just $25 and every player gets to keep their jersey.
“The number one goal of this program is to have fun,” Semo said. “We want to help these kids have a great experience so they can enjoy the game of football.”