LYNNFIELD — It’s been a historic week for the Lynnfield Youth Football and Cheering program. The new Lynnfield Pioneer Youth Football and Cheer Club conducted the first official practices in program history at Lynnfield High Monday, and the excitement was in the air as the organization took yet another step forward in its first season of existence.
Sporting jazzy new uniform jerseys, helmets and equipment, more than 200 players and cheerleaders dodged the raindrops and participated.
More than 25 children tuned up for the preseason practices by attending last week’s two-day youth football clinic conducted by new Lynnfield High head coach Pat Lamusta along with several Pioneer varsity players.
League president Steve Connolly said LPYFC had a little unexpected help from its friends.
“We had to buy all new uniforms and equipment, and that was quite an expense, but North Reading Youth Football stepped up by donating a bunch of blocking equipment and tackling bags,” said Connolly. “It was just fantastic to see another town, especially North Reading, stepped up. They had just upgraded their equipment and knew that we were in need, so it was just great the way they stepped up. Our goals are the same, and that is to keep kids in the game, and their generous donation really helped us do just that.”
Connolly said a group of volunteers picked up the equipment Saturday and stored it in the new storage unit on site at the high school.
LPYFC director of communications Rebecca Drzewiczewski said that approximately 205 boys and girls registered for fall football and cheering and the league will have five football teams and four cheer teams.
“We still have registrations coming in but already we have one of the largest programs in Cape Ann,” Drzewiczewski said. “Only Danvers and Masconomet have larger programs and they are much larger towns, compared to Lynnfield. We have the same number of teams as they had last year, so we are ready and really excited to get going.”
Connolly said the current goal of the new program focuses on growth.
“The goal every year will be to register more players than the year before,” said Connolly. “Lynnfield is lucky to have such a strong program. Some towns do not have that luxury or level of interest, like Hamilton-Wenham, which has only 30 kids total in the entire program. This will most likely be their last year in the Cape Ann league unless something dramatically changes.”
LPYFC will wrap up the preseason Aug. 30 with a one-day jamboree against Pentucket.
Connolly said the players have something special planned for that day.
“We’ve been lucky to be able to work with Pat Lamusta, the new head coach, and as it is our first year, too, we decided to give the high school team a proper send off with the youth players giving them a tunnel to walk through.”
The first games of the 2018 Cape Ann Youth Football League’s season are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9.