Collingswood Youth Football Preps 2nd Season

More than 100 kids ages 5-14 will hone their football skills under the instruction of CHS coaches.

Until they're big enough to play at the high school level, young Collingswood football players can get their reps in with the Tri-County Midget Football League.

For $125, children as young as 5 are strapping on pads and diving into playbooks for the four-month season, said Collingswood Youth Football president Bill Clark.

"We're teaching kids the basics of football," Clark said. "There's a lot of conditioning."

Despite their relative inexperience, the squads run multiple offensive and defensive looks, he said, including Pro-I, spread, and 40 and 50 fronts.

The league essentially functions as a high school sports feeder system for elementary-through-middle-school Collingswood students, said league organizer Mike McKeown.

McKeown, who is also an assistant football coach at football, credits Superintendent Scott Oswald with helping establish the program.

"Everyone else said no," McKeown said. "He was the only one who said, 'Anything for the kids.'"

Before the league got rolling, McKeown said Collingswood youth were traveling anywhere they could to get into a game.

"We had kids playing in Bellmawr, Atco, Winslow, Philadelphia," he said.

Collingswood kids aren't the only ones getting into the act, either. Nearly all the league coaches are CHS alumni, including Jeffrey Hibbs, Brett Bataloni, Anthony Israel and Bill Hancock. Organizers are optimistic that local depth will help create continuity as the young players progress into their high-school careers.

Although the Collingswood program is only in its second year, the junior (ages 10-11) and senior (ages 12-14) teams are entering the season in title defense. The coaches have high expectations for the senior team again this year, Clark said.

"We have really loaded up our skill positions," he said. "Lots of speed, good quarterbacks and running backs; the senior team has a big line."

Nearly 115 children are already enrolled in the program, and registration is open for another week or so. Donna Clark, Bill's wife, is also running a concurrent cheerleader program for $60. To enroll your child, call McKeown at 856-275-3081 or Clark at 609-405-3601.

Collingswood Youth Football will have its first games Sept. 9 at the high school. All four teams play in order of ascending age: at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.


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football4ever August 07, 2012 at 04:38 PM
What a disgrace that Mckeown is involved with this youth league.As a former CHS football player he's a big reason why we weren't succesful at the high school.The same thing is going to happen at the youth level if he's a part of it.He was in charge of our offense at the high school and blamed us all the time instead of himself.He is defintely a cancer to be around and and looking back I realize all he ever did was blame Coach Barkian in addition to us when we were losing.I would love to see Coach Barkian now and tell him how many times Mckeown would tell us that Coach Barkian "sucked" as a coach and that's the reason why we were losing and our team sucked.He will ruin the youth league kids just like he did to the high school team and football players including myself.
Sean Andrew August 07, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Wow - this was such a great story about 100s of kids and parents contributing positively to a community and some guy can't keep his personal opinion to himself? You don't like McKeowen? Who cares? Keep that kinda stuff to yourself man. Sounds like you "sucked" at football because of your attitude, not because of the coaching.
Dave August 08, 2012 at 02:54 AM
At the youth level, isn't it always about learning and enjoying the game of football. The making of new friends - teammates. It has never been about wins and losses at that level. Any man/woman who volunteers their time for our kids, is a person I'm proud to know. So what if you have mixed feelings about your old coach. Get over it and move on, instead of trash talking behind a fake name. Get a life.
truth August 08, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Okay Dave? Let's point out that when he trashed coach B it was as a fellow coach behind his back not a player. Which goes to his character. That's what he does to anyone who is foolish enough to call him a friend. Sorry he's been exposed? If wins don't matter why were they mentioned in article in an attempt to inflate the success of the org? News flash bud we live in an information age so you can't feed lies to the press and not to have someone call you on it. Let's not confuse that fact.
Matt Skoufalos August 08, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Folks, I'm going to close comments for this article before this gets out of hand. I can appreciate that there's a lot of passion around sports and a lot of pride in Collingswood, but the Patch message board is not the place to settle scores. Let's try to remember that we're talking about a program for children and keep some perspective.


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