For Silverton area youth ages 8 to 13
Silverton High School commons
April 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
May 11, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
For information, visit
By Jay Shenai
For boys seeking their moment under the Friday night lights, the experience of contact football just got a little closer.
Starting this fall for Silverton youth in third and fourth grades, the tackling will begin.
In January, Silverton’s organizers of boys’ football opted to join the Mid-Valley Pop Warner League youth football program.
Jim McIntire, vice president of the board of directors, said it was a decision made after investigating national statistics and talking with coaches and athletic directors throughout the area.
Tackle football is safer than flag football, he said.
At young ages, boys are not able to run and hit with the speed and force that collisions at the high school level and beyond are known for, he said.
“Playing flag football, there is inadvertent contact putting the children at risk of injury,” he said. “This contact without protective gear could result in worse injuries than if playing tackle football in full gear, and being taught the proper and safe way to block and initiate contact.”
Moreover, as flag football’s rules are different, many of the techniques and tactics must be unlearned by players heading into tackle football, he said.
A 35-year resident of Silverton and former high school football player, McIntire said learning the proper way to play football is the ultimate benefit in making the switch. He wants the players to be competitive when they play at Silverton High School, which is in Oregon School Activities Association’s 5A grouping.
“All the other teams in 5A are pulling from [youth football] programs playing tackle football in first grade,” he said. Starting boys in tackle football earlier makes them better prepared to strap on the Foxes’ helmet and cast their shadow over the gridiron when their time comes.
In Pop Warner football, participants are grouped according to weight and age, instead of grade level. Each player must be weighed before each game. This policy ensures parity across the field, so that players face opponents much more comparable in size and maturity levels. With an equal footing, players are far less likely to suffer serious injuries, he said.
There is also added emphasis on academic performance, he said. Good report cards are mandatory for participation. Pop Warner recognizes exemplary achievement in academics, through its Little Scholars program.
The program is opening registration for Silverton area youth ages 8 through 13. The first registration is on April 10 at Silverton High School.
Those who lace up this year may get an added treat: Plans are in the works to hold scrimmage games on the Foxes’ field, under the lights at halftime of high school games.
McIntire hopes many children will be ready for some football.
“We’re going to help teach these kids some things they’re not going to get anywhere else. In the heat of the battle, they’re going to learn lifelong camaraderie lessons,” he said.
“I can tell you first hand, no other sport teaches what football does.”
The Silverton association of the Mid-Valley Pop Warner League is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Along with McIntire are Jim Hobbs, board president; Bill Johnson, secretary; Chris Cypert and Chuck White, advisors; Andy Jones, athletic director; and Ingrid Green, Little Scholar representative.
Meetings are open to the public, and are at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month at the Fisher Building, 408 S. Water St.