Junior Eagles program emulates DO's

By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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While the youngest athletes are still almost a decade away from high school, the Sierra Youth Football League emulates the Del Oro High football experience in many ways. Varsity head coach Casey Taylor and assistant Steve Birch host a clinic for the five Junior Golden Eagles squads at the start of each fall, similar to a training camp. The Mighty Mites, Junior Pee-Wees, Pee-Wees, Junior Midgets and Midgets practice three days a week and play every Saturday. “You’re committed,” said president Bret Stahl. “You’re not late. You’re giving 100 percent. Each week’s different. If some kid’s lagging, another kid that’s outdoing him that didn’t play last week will be a starter.” Athletes must also maintain the same academic standards as the high school players to remain eligible to play. “Their grades matter a lot,” Stahl said. “You have to perform in school or you cannot play. You need a 2.0, or you’re basically grounded until you bring your grades up.” Cheerleaders root for their athletes from the track. Volunteers barbeque tri-tip near the concession stand. “It takes a lot of help from all the parents and even if you’re not parents,” Stahl said. “It’s like $2000 to rent this field for one day. It’s somewhere in that neighborhood. It’s really expensive, so that’s why we have a snack bar and charge at the gate. It’s community involvement. There are even a lot of parents who don’t even have kids playing in our program that cook and do things. It’s crazy, but you must have that.”