Aug 5, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRiverton Junior Football League president Brett Watson wanted to make sure the word is out that fifth- and sixth-graders interested in playing football this year need to sign up this week.
Players may sign up at Teton Athletic Club, 911 Flag Drive, or at the R Recreation office.
This year, the league is divided into the senior tackle league (fifth- and sixth-graders), junior tackle league (third- and fourth-graders), flag league (first- and second-graders) and ultimate (kindergarteners). The flag league is $25 per player and the junior and senior tackle leagues are $35 per player. Senior tackle league players must have a physical for the season.
The draft for the senior tackle league teams will be Thursday.
"The draft is luck because we throw the kids' names into a hat," Watson said. "We went to this draft system, and it has served us well over the years. The teams that we have are pretty close. We don't get a lot of blowouts. That is what we try to avoid."
Watson said this is the 31st year the RJFL has been teaching the youth of Fremont County the game of football.
"We always get excited to get things going again," Watson said. "We will end up with five local teams this year. We might end up with another Lander team this year."
In the past, Lander has fielded two teams for the RJFL senior tackle. This year, Ryan Carey is spearheading the effort from Lander. The Lander and Riverton teams play each other to make up the RJFL.
"Ryan started the registration the same time as ours this year, which is the first for them," Watson said. "Last year, they had 50 some kids. They had enough kids for three teams. By the time they got together, we already had our schedule made up, and we couldn't do anything about it."
The Bears knocked off the 49ers in the 2011 RJFL title game.
"We should have 90 to 100 Riverton kids," Watson said. "We have hit that number for many years. Sometimes that is over, and sometime that is right at 90."
Watson and his brother Danny Watson have been in charge of the RJFL for a number of years. The pair also coach the Packers.
"Danny and I think that it's nice to have 20 kids," Watson said. "We had made it a league rule that we start every kid somewhere. That way kids will get into the game. With 20 kids, you can have a pretty good practice. You can line up a dummy offense or a dummy defense.
The weight limit to carry the football is 110 pounds and under. If a player weighs more than 110 pounds then the athlete can't run with the ball. The weight limit used to be 105 pounds, but that was changed a couple of years ago.
"At that level, you don't want to have a big kid that will steamroll the other kids," Watson said. "You don't want a 150-pound kid running over a 70-pound kid."
The games in the senior league will start the last week of August. Practice begins Monday, Aug. 13. The first three days will be a camp for senior tackle league players. On the final day, the campers will practice with members of the Riverton High School football team.
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