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Tiffin Youth Football to offer new options

League to have flag, padded flag programs

Corey Spencer stands in Tiffin Youth Football’s new office in downtown Tiffin.

The room, located in the Laird Arcade, has the look one has when its being moved into.

“Today,” said Spencer, when asked when the organization arrived there.

Spencer became head of Tiffin Youth Football last January, and he and its board members have big plans for it, which has been part of the community for 47 years.

“This is a beginning to something new,” Spencer said. “We want the public to know that everything we do is for the best interests of the kids, and we want to give this community something that’s not just backyard football. We want to take it to the next level.”

That “next level” will include more options for players, beginning this spring.

Tiffin Youth Football will feature a flag football league, for students in grades 1-3. For those in grades 4-6, there will be a padded flag option.

“The padded flag program is new, and the flag is new for Tiffin Youth Football,” Spencer said. “As far as I know, we’re the only ones in the area who will offer padded flag football. It’s something new for people that want to play football, but they don’t want their kids to start tackling yet.”

Tackle football will remain an option for third-through-sixth graders. But Spencer said that the league has seen a decrease in players in recent years.

“We’ve also talked to other programs in Ohio that have had a lot of success with the padded flag, Wadsworth being one of them,” he said. “We thought that we would bring that into our program, like I said, the parents that aren’t comfortable with their kids tackling yet can do the padded flag, and they can get the experience with wearing the equipment, learning how to run routes, throw with the equipment on, catch with the equipment on, things of that nature.”

Early development is key, Spencer said.

“It’s just like wrestling,” he said. “The earlier you start the more fundamentally sound you’ll be when you get to the junior high level, and that what we want. We want to feed the area.”

This past season, tackle football had 150 players, and 40 cheerleaders. Spencer said a number of the players this past season were “out of county.”

And players from all over northwest Ohio are welcome.

“There’s no numbers limit, and there’s no geographical limit,” Spencer said. “As long as they’re willing to make the practices, they can play football. Again, it’s been 100% free for 47 years, and we take pride in that. That’s something that we’re gonna continue to do as long as possible.”

Spencer said the league wants to see numbers increase.

“My hopes is that we get back up to the 200 mark, where we used to be,” Spencer said. We averaged about 50-55 a team (then), right now, we’re in the low 30s. Some of that’s because of the sport, and some of that is because of the population and some of the things that are going on with concussion concerns and things of that nature. So, I’m hoping that the padded flag will allow those kids to identify as football players, be football players, and maybe make the transition to tackle in seventh grade if (parents) don’t want to them to play now.”

The practices and games for the flag leagues are to start in mid-April, on Saturday mornings. Games are to be 30 minutes, and it’s likely to be a five-week schedule.

After that, preparation for the tackle league begins, with registration in April, a first draft in late May and a second in July.

“That’s for anybody going into third through sixth grade,” Spencer said. “The registration is for all players, returning and new. That way we can kinda get an idea of our numbers this year.”

And the board members have ideas for the league that go beyond the gridiron.

“The one goal that I have — it’s probably a mid-to-longterm goal — is to develop an athletic complex for the organization,” he said. “We’re trying to work with Hedges(-Boyer Park), to take what we have and bring it up-to-date. We want to build a building that we can store all of our equipment in. We want to have a double press box so we can announce the JV and varsity games.”

The board members also would like to bring players from other cities into compete. This past fall, there was an All-Star game between the Tiffin and Findlay leagues at Hedges-Boyer Park. This year, the game will be at Donnell Stadium in Findlay.

The board also is planning a scholarship dinner and a golf outing to raise money. The league wants to give $1,000 scholarships to one alumni player and an alumni cheerleader.

Spencer said he was pleased with last season.

Now it’s about keeping things going, and going forward.

A new office, and new ideas.

To find out more information on Tiffin Youth Football or to register, visit TiffinYouthFootball.com, or visit Tiffin Youth Football on Facebook.

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