LYNN –This Friday will see the culmination of New England Youth Tackle Football’s inaugural season when a host of championship and consolation games takes place at Manning Field. A new developmental summer league that focuses on teaching players the right way to play to avoid injury, the New England Youth Tackle Football League is excited for its first crack at a championship weekend.
“It’s very exciting for us,” said league president Joel Machado. “It’s going to be a bit of a long day since we can only play one game at a time on the field, but it’s really cool that they will all be able to join in on this event and play at such a great venue.”
There will be six games played on championship Friday, with three consolation games and three championship games on the schedule. The day gets going with a consolation game for the Tiny Mites division (ages 5-7) when the Outlaws and the Steelers face off at 4:15 p.m. That will be followed by another consolation game, this one in the Cadets division (ages 8-10) between the Steelers and the Silverbacks, at 5:15 p.m. The final consolation game will be played in the 12-year-old division between the Steelers and the Hurricanes at 5:45 p.m. That final game holds a bit of extra intrigue, as the Steelers are an all-girls team that always plays against the boys.
Then the championship games get underway, starting with the 12-year-old division game between the Outlaws and the Silverbacks at 6:45 p.m. That game will be followed by the Cadets division title game between the Hurricanes and the Outlaws (8:05 p.m.) before the 14-year-old division title game between the Silverbacks and the Outlaws closes out the evening at 9:30 p.m.
The championship festivities wrap up the inaugural season for New England Youth Tackle Football, and what a successful season it’s been. Machado points out that not only have the number of kids playing in the league remained steady all season, but the parents have also embraced the summertime league.
“This has been a very good season for us,” Machado said. “We only had a few games cancelled that we couldn’t make up due to weather, but other than that the kids have had a blast all year and all the parents have been very supportive.
“We’ve found that there are a couple reasons why parents don’t let their kids play football, and that’s mainly because they have no transportation and because the kids don’t really like any other sports,” Machado added. “So for a league like this that plays all its games in the local area, parents are happy to know that their kids are playing there rather than sitting at home all day.”
The league has gotten such high marks that Machado says other towns are looking to get in on the action.
“We will definitely be back next year, and we’re expecting other towns to field teams very soon,” said Machado. “There’s a need for more safety training in youth football, and we’re one of the only leagues around that provides that so we’re going to keep growing.”
The New England Youth Tackle Football League championship games will be held Friday at Manning Field beginning at 4:15 p.m.