Plymouth Junior Football League makes transition to larger program

by Greg Ceilly of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Junior League Football program will undergo changes this year with the goal of continuing to teach the fundamentals of the sport while also providing more competition and a transition to 11-man tackle football.

The tackle program used to be for grades 6-8 and was primarily a Plymouthonly league. The program is expanding to grades 5-8 with a team at each grade level which will play in a league against other area teams.

“The program will create larger opportunities for kids to start 11-man football earlier and to play different competition,” said Dan Knaus, head football coach and physical education teacher at Plymouth High School.

Knaus and Clayton Moore, Plymouth Community Education recreation and fitness coordinator and PHS varsity assistant football coach, are the interim co-coordinators of the new Plymouth youth football program.

“It’s a natural progression that needed to happen,” said Knaus, referring to the changes in the youth football program.

Other than a traveling eighth-grade team that began in 2009, only eight-man football was played by the Plymouth tackle teams who only competed against each other.

“For the past 40-plus years, the Junior League Football program has taught the youth of the area the game of football. This local program has been blessed with great community volunteer coaches most of which have decades of experience,” said Moore.

“This community involvement has shown in the results of the varsity program. The intention of this program has always been to provide the opportunity for the youth of the area to participate in the game of football.

“This fall, youth football program will enter into the next phase of its existence. Starting in late August, the tackle league will include grades 5-8 and will travel to areas including Sheboygan and Fond du Lac,” explained Moore.

“The flag football program will also increase its scope to include grades 1-4 [previously included grades 3-5]. This program hopes to start where the Junior League left off – creating opportunities for the youth of Plymouth to learn the game of football but to a larger scope and against other community teams.”

Dave Franzen, the coordinator of the Junior Football Program for the past several years, believes that local youth football should be transferred into a regional travel league.

“The main focus will be eaching the fundamentals and letting them play as many positions as possible,” Moore said.

Knaus thinks that if area youth football programs get stronger, then it benefits everyone from a competition standpoint.

“The better you get in a youth program, the better you get in the varsity [high school] program,” he said.

“I’m very excited [about the new football program],” said Moore. “It’s a good direction for youths and a good opportunity for them.”

Registration for the tackle and flag programs will be held on June 29 at the Horizon Elementary School gym from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., July 13 at Mill Street Days (look for the Community Ed and Recreation booth) and at the Plymouth youth football camp July 15-17.

The Plymouth Football Booster Club will be supporting the youth football effort for the first year. After that, a permanent organization will take over with close communication with the PHS varsity football program.

For more information, contact Moore at 893-6911, ext. 1301, cmoore@plymouth. or Knaus, 893-6911, ext. 1514,

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