The smoke has cleared, the dust has settled, and it has been decided. There will be no Junior Bruins Youth Football in Riverbank this year.
The main cause, according to team board president Casey Blevins, there were not enough players signed up ahead of the scheduled beginning of practice a few weeks ago. Sign-ups had been held on an almost weekly basis throughout the summer.
Typically, the youngsters begin workouts a few weeks before high school players, primarily because their season start weeks before school begins, and their schedule is usually over well ahead of the end of the high school season.
The organization’s board of directors voted to cancel the current season, and instead concentrate on gathering sponsorships from community businesses and organizations.
They hope to raise about $8,000 to be able to provide scholarships for players next year. Blevins said the board was guessing the cost of playing on the teams, on top of the costs to a family to travel to the away games, was hindering participation.
The local youth football organization re-named itself a couple of years ago, hoping to align with the Riverbank High Bruins football program. At times, they have shared coaching efforts.
Immediately before that, in 2014 and 2015, the teams were called the Riverbank Raiders. Prior to that, Blevins said, they were called the Redskins, and started out joined with a team in Oakdale.
“Hopefully, we’ll be back next June,” Blevins said.