Peewee Cougars Celebrate Championship

Thursday, November 21, 2013
The members of the Peewee Cougars' sixth grade team and coaches pose with their Northeast Arkansas Youth Football League championship trophy following Thursday night's banquet

The coaches, families and other supporters gathered at the Rector Community Center Thursday night to celebrate the Rector peewee football program. Each player and cheerleader in the third through sixth grade was recognized for their hard work and involvement in the youth program, as were the coaches and others who leant their support to the outstanding season.

All in attendance enjoyed a chicken strip meal catered by Genny's Kitchen of Rector. A comprehensive slideshow prepared by David Romine was shown throughout the evening, highlighting moments from each game throughout the season.

Coaches Kirk Ford, Shawn Bucy, Anthony Buck, Todd Ford, Sam Isom, Gary Loveless, Nathan Sanders and Jason McCluskey each spoke, offering words of congratulations and support to the young players and thanks to the parents, fans and volunteers involved with the program.

The coaches noted it was a period of growth for the fourth and fifth grade players, who often work side-by-side in games and practice. While the group may have had limited success in terms of wins and losses, the coaches praised their efforts and acknowledged the youngsters were on their way to becoming better football players.

The third grade players were also applauded for their efforts on the field. Though too young to play in the Youth Football League this season, the third grade group was able to scrimmage the fourth graders during the season, gaining immeasurable experience for the future. The young group has good numbers and is considered to be an integral part of the program's future.

The Rector sixth grade team finished the season with a 7-2 overall record and claimed the school's first YFL championship for the program.

Members of the sixth grade championship team include Travis Slaughter, Zane Wright, Hayden Crow, Gage Parrish, Trace Sanders, Parker Bucy, Max Ford, Zach Gilbee, Jason Braman, Adam Romine, Fernando Guerrero, Konnor Boyd, Clayton Morgan, Lastin Lindsey, Kyle Akin, Shannon Patterson and Jacob McMillin. Each was brought to the stage where they received an ovation from the crowd in addition to a dvd of the championship win over Earle and a plaque featuring photos provided by David and Kim Romine.

"This group has been something special," an emotional Anthony Buck told his players. You've been with us since third grade and all that work has paid off now."

The celebration was not without a bittersweet tinge. Coach Kirk Ford, who along with Buck was essential in revitalizing the peewee program by taking it over seven years ago, announced he would be stepping away from the action next season. Ford recalled the ups-and-downs of those early years, scraping to compete with limited turnout. Through the dedication of the coaches and players and the outstanding support of parents, volunteers and fans such as the Romines, Amber Bucy, Becky Lindsey, Lance Mabrey and others, the program has truly shined.

"These kids taught me a lot more than I ever taught them," Kirk Ford said."I promise you that."

Ford acknowledged the efforts of each coach, noting the program would continue under strong guidance.

The evening concluded with anticipation for what the future holds for the youth program and the sixth graders' advancement to the junior high level.

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