By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG Since Aug. 1, dozens of boys and girls and their adult coaches in the Fallsburg Pop Warner Football Association have been preparing for the 2011 season.
Several evenings each week, the coaches guide the young football players and cheerleaders through practices at Morningside Park.
“We have roughly 80 kids this year,” Fallsburg Pop Warner President Lewis Borko said. “That is almost double the number of kids from last year.”
Borko isn’t sure why more kids joined the program this year, but he is happy they did.
“We have been blessed,” he said. “We’d love to have even more kids. This is a great program for kids.”
This autumn, the Fallsburg Pop Warner Football Association will have two football teams on the field. The Tiny Mites team is for youngsters who are ages 5, 6 and 7 and weigh between 35 and 70 lbs. The PeeWee team includes kids from ages 9 to 11 who weigh between 75 and 100 lbs. There are some 12-year-olds on the team, but they can’t weigh more than 120 lbs.
The PeeWee cheerleading team, which performs stunts and lifts, includes girls ages 9 to 12. The Mitey Mites cheerleading team includes girls ages 7 to 9 and 5- and 6-year-old girls who are mascots.
Once again this fall, the Fallsburg Pop Warner teams will be playing in the Mid-Hudson Conference. Fallsburg is one of 17 associations in the Mid-Hudson Conference. The Mid-Hudson Conference and 24 other conferences comprise the Eastern Region.
Fallsburg will be playing games against teams from Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. Fallsburg opens its season with a doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Morningside Park. At 6 p.m., the Fallsburg Tiny Mites will play the Newburgh Tiny Mites. At 7 p.m., the Fallsburg Pee Wee team will meet the Peekskill Pee Wee team.
Even if the Fallsburg teams don’t qualify for the playoffs, Borko is hopeful one of the teams could play in the Friendship Bowl. At the end of the 2009 season, the Fallsburg Pee Wee team played the Ogden Bears in Syracuse in the Friendship Bowl, which promotes good sportsmanship and competition.
As the only official Pop Warner Football Association in Sullivan County, Fallsburg can accept players and cheerleaders from throughout the county.
“This year, we have kids from Fallsburg, Monticello and Liberty,” Borko said. “There are six or seven kids who are now playing for local high school football teams who started playing here in Fallsburg Pop Warner. They include Shane Jackson in Monticello, Quinn Jackson in Liberty, Kenny Jaycox in Liberty and Sebastian Sanchez in Fallsburg.
“We take kids from all of Sullivan County,” Borko said. “We don’t turn anybody away.”
Borko noted that Fallsburg Pop Warner is looking for local businesses that want to advertise with a sign at the Morningside Park field. Any business owners who want to have a sign put up at the field should call Borko at 866-0764.
The coaches for the Fallsburg Pop Warner Tiny Mite and PeeWee football teams are Scott Whitehead, Lynn Whitehead, George Steigler, Grady Fuller and Tony Harvey. The coaches for the Fallsburg Pop Warner Tiny Mite and PeeWee cheerleading teams are Keri Whitehead, Andrea Hook, Rebecca Chase, Jennifer Colletti and Dawn Perneszi.
The members of the PeeWee football team are: Camron Bates, Berris “Deonte” Bowen, Cecil Brownridge, Dominince Brownridge, Rahmel Brownridge, Makaela Bryden, Brian Decker, Destiny Decker, Evan Donnelly, David Fuller, Austin Goodnough, Jalen Harvey, Matthew Hosein, Mathew Johannessen, Zacheriah Jones-McCombs, Christopher Lee Jr., Vincent Necco, Gohan Norford, Sean Pettway, Christian Phillips, Salvatore Plavnicky-Hartsell, Steven Seastrand, Xavier Staten, Joseph Steigler, Ashton Strang, Mark Stubble, Terrence Thomas, Victor VanLowe, Matthew Vollmer and Dereck Williams.
The members of the Tiny Mites football team are: Antonio Batres, Amir Bowie, Evin Cross, Walter Evans, Emanuel Gonzalez, Adam Houser, Devin Jones, Justice Laurel, Thai McFarland, Luke Oefelein, Andrew Porter, Daniel Unger and Justin Unger.
The members of the PeeWee cheerleading team are: Deandrea Bowen, Autum Fuller, Jiovanna Gonzalez, Mercedes Gonzalez, Mellia Kimble, Jenna Lee, Amadyia Loadholt, Krista Novello, Tiara Payton, Makayla Perneszi, Gracie Strauss and Victoria VanLowe.
The members of the Mitey Mites cheerleading team are: Abigail Begbie, Courtney Bryden, Alexia Cintula, Angelina Colletti, Kaitlyn Cross, Madison Cross, Jessica Dworetsky, Brianna Fuller, Natasha Fuller, Rachael Hosein, Elizabeth Jones, Haley Liebowitz, Brianne MacPherson, Natasha Navas, Havana Sosa, Olivia Steigler, Anabella “Bella” Wagner and Aiden Whitehead.