LaFayette parks and recreation hosts football awards banquet

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

LaFAYETTE — The LaFayette Parks and Recreation Department celebrated its youth football awards banquet this past weekend at the Alpha building. League coaches were awarded plaques and players received trophies. Chambers County Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge also received a plaque for her efforts in helping the league this season.

“The parents are very excited. They love it, they’re just glad for the kids to have something to do,” LaFayette Parks and Recreation Chairman and Councilman Toney Thomas said. “On Saturday morning, the kids get up if we have to travel we get on the road. If we’re home, we get the concessions going, and they’ll really enjoy it. It’s something different from what they have had in the past.”

While entering city council office, one of Thomas’ promises to the community was to give the youth more options to stay active and healthy. Hodge allowed the league to use school buses to travel to road games. On occasion, LaFayette High School athletic director and head football coach James Lucas cuts the grass on the team’s field. Thomas also acknowledged the rest of the council and Mayor Barry Moody for their efforts in the league’s recent success as well.

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A total of 89 players participated in the league this year, where there is one team for each age group, spanning from five to 12 years old. The participation number has increased from previous seasons, league president Danny Williams said.

“It’s been a while since this program has been up-and-going as it has been now,” Thomas said.

Youth sports have been very important for LaFayette throughout the years, including the start of Auburn running back Boobee Whitlow’s athletic journey. The recent revitalization of the city’s recreation department has allowed a chance for residents like Jermaine Rampey to bond with his son in a new avenue.

“When I was younger playing youth football, my dad, George Rampey, coached and taught me everything I needed to know about football,” Rampey said. “Coaching my son, Jordan, was fun and seeing him score touchdowns and two-point conversions made me even prouder of him. I’m ready to get back on the field and get the kids ready for the future.”

The league takes the kids’ health seriously and trains the players on proper tackling techniques, while having a doctor on the sideline at every game, according to Thomas. Moving forward, he hopes that the league can continue to be positive for the community of LaFayette.

“I might be in the supermarket, and I’ll see some kids who have played with us, and they’re excited about having something to do,” Thomas said. “Somewhere to go and play. They’re really excited about it.”

Next for the parks and recreation department is baseball season, which will open up registration in the next month, according to Thomas.