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Registration for West Point fall league begins

WEST POINT — Registration for youth cheerleading and football in the West Point Parks and Recreation Department begins on Monday.

“We want the kids to get out, mainly to learn the game of football and have fun,” West Point Parks and Recreation Director Mike Pitts said. “We have some good volunteer coaches who will be with them and [the participants] should enjoy it.”

There are three age groups and playing locations in the league. An 8-year-old, nine and 10-year-old, as well as 11 and 12-year-old division will all either play in West Point, LaGrange or Hogansville every week. The participant’s age is determined by their age on Sept. 1.

While there is not a weight limit in the 8-year-old division, players who weigh more than 115 pounds in the 9 and 10-year-old or 135 pounds in the 11 and 12-year-old divisions can only play on the defensive or offensive line.

The league is following the updated rules the high school association has implemented to make the game safer for the young players in response to the growing public awareness of concussions in the sport, according to Pitts.

Players in the eight-year-old league will meet on Sept. 4, nine and 10-year-olds will meet on the football field on Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. EDT. and 11 and 12-year-olds will meet on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. Opening day for the league is Sept. 22 in the Football jamboree event. The regular season begins on Sept. 24 and picture day is on Sept. 29.

The league lets every team in the playoffs, so teams in the past who have gotten off to a slow start still have an opportunity to eliminate the undefeated team in the postseason, Pitts said. After the season, All-Star players and coaches will be selected. The coaches must be in good standing to be picked.

“We don’t just take first-place coaches,” Pitts said. “It’s not about trying to beat somebody 50-2…that’s not teaching sportsmanship. This isn’t college or high school football. They need to learn the game, learn how to play fairly and think about the other kids in the program too.”

The practice scheduling for the cheerleading program hasn’t been finalized yet but the advisor will call the participants by Sept. 5 to let them know what time and place the first practice is. The cheerleading program’s three objectives are to provide a fun and non-competitive experience for all participants, the opportunity for skill development while emphasizing fundamentals and to promote teamwork along with sportsmanship.

The registration hours at the Parks and Recreation Department are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The final day to register for both the youth football and youth cheerleading programs is Aug. 18. All other questions in regard to the league, such as fees, can be directed to the West Point Parks and Recreation Department at 706-645-3529.