Riverbank’s Youth Football organization, the Jr. Bruins, started the 2017 football season over the weekend, fighting the heat and introducing a new level of play.
Game times on Saturday were moved up an hour to avoid the later contests being played in the heat of the day. The first team to play, at 9 a.m., was the new ‘Futures’ team, 5- and 6-year-olds that are brand new to football.
They played against the visiting Stockton Jaguars, on the Riverbank High field. Being so young and new, they played a scrimmage format, from the 40 yard line towards the end zone. Only two officials are on the field, and, like T-ball in Little League, coaches are on the field, too, to help direct the action.
And officials didn’t keep score, although the parents probably know who scored on the team, and how often.
The Futures scrimmaged for about an hour, stopping often for water breaks. A mister had also been set up for players, over near the Snack Bar, to help fight the heat.
After the Futures, it was the Starts, at 10 a.m., the Rookies at noon and the JV at 2 p.m., followed by the varsity game. By the time they were expected to be finishing up, the temperature in Riverbank was reported at 106 degrees and it got hotter as the day continued. TV weather forecasters reported Modesto had a record high of 108 on Saturday.
The Starts lost, 14-0, and the Rookies lost 13-6. The JV team also lost, but the Jr. Bruin Varsity won their contest, 25-0.
In the week leading up to last Saturday’s games, the Golden Valley Gridiron Youth Football League issued a revised schedule, one that resulted in the Jr. Bruins facing the Stockton Jaguars instead of the Jr. Bulldogs of Ceres.
This week, Sept. 9, the Jr. Bruins host the Steeler-Jags of Salida. On Sept. 16, they go to Ceres, then, on Sept. 23, they host the Jr. Pride of Turlock.
On Sept. 30, Riverbank hosts the Jaguars of Stockton again, and on Oct. 7, they take on the Central Valley Jets in Modesto. On Oct. 14, they meet the Steeler-Jags of Salida on the Gregori High School field.
Oct. 21 sees the Jr. Gauchos of Merced/Atwater here at home, then the Jr. Bruins finish the season on the road at the Grape Bowl in Lodi, facing the Jr. Flames, on Oct. 28.