A Youth Football mini-camp was held earlier this month at Castleberg Park, featuring slightly cooler temperatures, with frequent water breaks, and morning hours to beat what heat there might have been.
The two days of drills were held in preparation for regular practices, which were scheduled to begin on Monday, July 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Riverbank High School.
At the late summer youth clinic, players were divided up by age groups to undertake drills designed to increase stamina and coordination, with running, pass catching and ball handling drills the order of the day.
The two-hour-plus practice days ended with what the coaches called the ‘Fourth Quarter’ drill. Designed to simulate the fatigue players would feel toward the end of a game, the drills consisted of everyone lining up, then sprinting 10 yards, dropping and doing five pushups, jumping up and running back to the starting line. The process was repeated for 20 yards, then 30 yards, then 40 yards.
After a brief break to catch their breaths, players then repeated the sequence again. And again ... and again before leaving for home, likely feeling as though they had just put in enough energy for a full four quarters.
New Name For ‘Raiders’
The Riverbank Youth Football program has been renamed this season.
For years known as the Raiders, the organization has now aligned itself with Riverbank High School and is called the Junior Bruins. It is hoped the change will strengthen the pattern of continuing participation in football when advancing to high school.
The youth program is divided into four age groups.
The Junior Novices are 7- and 8-year olds; Novices are 9-10, Junior Varsity is 11- and 12-year-olds. Finally, Junior Bruin varsity players are ages 12½, 13 and 14 years old. There are weight limits in each age group.
The Junior Bruins play as part of the Motherlode Valley Youth Football League.
It includes, along with Riverbank, the Angels Camp-Murphys-Arnold (AMA) Junior Bullfrogs, Amador (Sutter Creek) County Eagles, Argonaut (Jackson) Junior Mustangs, Calaveras (San Andreas) Junior Redskins, Escalon Outlaws, Hughson Huskies, Linden Lions, Ripon Chiefs, Salida Steelers, Sonora Junior Cats, Tuolumne Bears and the Waterford Sabercats, for a total of 13 teams.
Not all organizations field teams in every age group.
This year, Riverbank has been chosen to host the Jamboree that kicks off the season. The all-day scrimmage games give the league’s teams an opportunity to get their first taste of full contact before the regular season starts.
The Jamboree is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13, at Angelo Novi Stadium on the Riverbank High School campus.
The first regular season game for the Junior Bruins is scheduled for Sept. 17.