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Junior Bruin Football Kicks Off Campaign
The Junior Bruin offense gets a chance to shine at last Saturdays Jamboree scrimmage game against the Tuolumne Bears. Although teams saw limited time on the field, and no one was keeping score, this play resulted in a touchdown for the home team, which hosted this part of the Jamboree. Ric McGinnis/The News

The Youth Football program in Riverbank has had an edge on the high school teams, since they began practice weeks before school started. But they finish sooner, as well.

This past Saturday, the Junior Bruin teams hosted one of three pre-season ‘Jamborees,’ a series of scrimmage plays against other teams from the Motherlode Valley Football League to which they belong. The event officially kicks off the Youth Football Season.

Visiting for the daylong event were the Bears from Tuolumne, the Ripon Warriors, and the Waterford Sabrecats. The scrimmages began at 9 a.m., with the last 45-minute set beginning at 6 p.m.

The jamboree was held on the Riverbank High School football field, with the parking lot and both sides of the street jam packed for most of the day. And the Angelo Novi Stadium stands were crowed with pop up tents providing shade on both sides of the field.

Most teams participating, including Riverbank’s, played in practice jerseys, many without numbers and some of other colors, making it difficult to follow the action closely at some times. And, because they were all scrimmage plays, no one kept score, but the crowd cheered on big plays and especially on touchdowns.

A spokesperson from the Junior Bruins said they are expecting the team’s game uniforms to arrive sometime this week.

The first game of the regular season is set for this Saturday, Aug. 20 with Riverbank hosting the Linden Lions at the high school stadium.

The Youth Football players and their corresponding cheer squads are divided into four age groups:

The Junior Novices are 7- and 8-year olds; Novices are 9-10, the Junior Varsity are 11- and 12-year-olds. Junior Bruin varsity players are ages 12-½, 13 and 14 years old and there are weight limits in each age group.

The Junior Bruins play as part of the Motherlode Valley Football League. In previous years, they played under the name ‘Raiders.’ This year, the program is more aligned with the Riverbank High School program. It is hoped the youth team players will remain interested in football as they enter high school.

Game times are 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the Jr. Novice team, 2 p.m. for the Novice team, 4 p.m. for Junior Varsity and 6 p.m. for the Varsity Junior Bruins.

Next week, Riverbank travels to Escalon.