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Lanett recreation serves as a pipeline for local football program

LANETT — Registration for this year’s Lanett Parks and Recreation fall sports began yesterday.

The fall sports include football, flag football and cheerleading. The football players must be between the ages of 8 and 12-years-old. Flag football participants are placed into two divisions, 6 and 7-years-old and 13 and 14-years-old. All cheerleaders from the first to the sixth grade are welcomed to join.

“It’s an opportunity for kids to play in organized sports, all of those who don’t qualify for Junior High or High School,” Lanett Recreation Director Curtis Lewis said.

Cheerleaders are encouraged to join the program early to be taught the same cheers as the High School does so that they’ll be prepared when they’re old enough to try out for the junior high and high school team themselves. The first meeting for the cheerleaders is on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

There hasn’t been a proven correlation between the rise of concussion awareness and the amount of participation in flag football, Lewis said. The fluctuation has been a result of parent’s work schedules. Many local parents have been assigned to working 12-hour shifts, which makes it difficult to provide transportation for the young players.

“There’s been somewhat of a drop-off of what it’s been in the past,” he said. “It’s still at a point where it can sustain itself and provide it for the kids.”

The first meeting for the 6 and 7-year-old flag football players is on Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. The first meeting for the 13 and 14-year-old flag football players is on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.

The football players are taught the basics of the game in flag football between ages 6 and 7-years-old. Between ages eight and 14, the players begin competing against other teams from the Valley, Beulah and Beauregard area as well. As players get closer to age 14, the coaches focus more on developing the players for junior varsity and varsity football at Lanett.

“[Lanett head football] Coach [Clifford] Story [,Jr.], he’s constantly there. He used to be around a lot to watch the kids,” Lewis said. “[Lanett defensive coordinator] Coach [Charlie] Williams as well and several coaches come back and watch some of the kids perhaps to see some of the prospects of what’s coming within the next few years as well.”

All practices are held at the Lanett High School softball field behind the school. Applications can be found at W.O. Lance Elementary, Lanett Junior High, City Hall or the Recreation Center. Completed forms and fees should be turned into City Hall. If there are any more questions, the recreation department can be contacted at 334-644-4312.