Football Night in Iola Takes Shape

Sports

August 28, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Local football at all three levels — youth league, middle school and high school — will be put on display in one gathering Thursday evening.
Scrimmages featuring players from the Allen County Youth Tackle Football League, Iola Middle School and Iola High School will be held in succession at Iola’s Riverside Park.
Free-will donations will be accepted for admission.
The youth league players take the field first, at about 5:30, and will scrimmage for about an hour.
The IMS Ponies take the field at about 6:30 and will run a handful of scripted plays before the high-schoolers take the field at about 7 o’clock.
“It’s just an opportunity to get everybody together, sort of a ‘Football Night in Iola’ type of thing,” IHS football coach Doug Kerr said. “Hopefully, we can establish something like this and see it grow.”
Kerr developed Football Night as a means to see all three programs become healthier.
He noted that the most successful middle school and high school programs usually have thriving youth football leagues as well.
Marty Taylor, middle school football coach, agreed.
“It’s a neat way to show the kids how everybody is part of the same organization,” Taylor said. “It should be a lot of fun.”
Josh Oberley, director of the youth football league, said his program has benefited already from Kerr’s support.
“The kids have had a blast at his camps,” Oberley said. “This is a great idea.”

THE SEASONS for each program will get underway in early September.
Iola High opens its season Sept. 7 at Cherryvale.
The middle-schoolers will host another football jamboree scrimmage at about 6 p.m. Sept. 5 at the park. The Ponies open the regular season Sept. 12 at Independence.
The youth league jamboree is Sept. 7 with regular season games beginning Sept. 10.

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