Both boys and girls turned out for the first week of practice this past Monday as preparations for the 2016 Youth Football Season got underway. The weather didn’t make it easy, though.
Players and members of the cheer squad faced 100-plus temperatures on the practice field at Riverbank High School last week. Drills were intended to help stamina and endurance, but last week, one of the things they endured was the heat. Frequent breaks for water punctuated the exercises and running meant to strengthen the teams.
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 is 11- and 12-year-olds.
Junior Bruin varsity players are ages 12½, 13 and 14 years old and there are weight limits in each age group.
The Junior Bruins play as part of the Motherlode Valley Youth 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 by the time they enter high school, bringing some gridiron experience with them onto the high school playing field.
Their first competition comes at a preseason Jamboree, a series of short scrimmage sessions against other teams in the league, scheduled in three locations. In addition to Escalon and Sonora, Riverbank is scheduled to host a portion of the opening event on Saturday, Aug. 13.
Season Schedule Announced
The MVYFL has announced its schedule for the 2016 football season, with the Riverbank team seeing action at home and on the road.
Riverbank hosts its first game on Aug. 20, with the Linden Lions coming to town. On Aug. 27, the Junior Bruins travel to Escalon to take on the Escalon Outlaws, then return home to face the Chiefs of Ripon on Sept. 3.
Sept. 10 sees the Junior Bruins traveling to Salida for week four, then hosting the AMA (Angels Camp, Murphys, Arnold) Junior Bullfrogs on Sept. 17.
On Sept. 24, Riverbank hosts the Tuolumne Bears and then goes to San Andreas on Oct. 1 to meet the Calaveras Junior Redskins. Sonora’s Junior Cats come to Riverbank on Oct. 8, then the Junior Bruins go to Sutter Creek to face the Amador County Eagles on Oct. 15 to finish out the regular season.
Not all football programs field teams in all four age groups.
Junior Bruin game times are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. for Jr. Novice; 2 p.m. for Novice; 4 p.m. for Junior Varsity and 6 p.m. for Varsity.
First round playoffs are set for Oct. 22, with the second round held on Oct. 29. None of the playoffs are scheduled to be played in Riverbank.
The MFYFL Superbowl game is set for Nov. 5 in Ripon, with the All-Star Game scheduled for Nov. 12 to end the season.
High School Bruins Set To Start
The Riverbank High School football squad is preparing to step onto the field for its first games of 2016 on Aug. 26, traveling to Rocklin, in Placer County, to take on the 40-man team of the Wolves of the Western Sierra Collegiate Academy.
Where the Wolves appear to be fielding a 40-man, the preliminary roster for Riverbank indicates just 25 players turning out.