Monsoon clouds couldn’t chase parents, kids and coaches away from Canyon Del Oro’s athletic fields last week, as another season of youth football geared up.
As his squad of 7- to 10-year-old youngsters performed calisthenics in white jerseys, first-year blocker Nick Cordova glowed at the chance to earn some playing time.
“It’s cool,” Cordova said. “I’m having a lot of fun. I always wanted to play the sport.”
His teammate, Tommy Baden, was proud of a small cut along the left side of his nose — and could now swap scars with his three older football-playing brothers.
“Practice has been good,” Baden said. “I’m learning a lot of fundamentals.”
Turnouts for the Oro Valley Dolphins and Marana Broncos football leagues have been strong this year, league officials said.
Parents signed 300 kids up to play in the leagues’ various age divisions. The teams are almost ready for next Saturday’s scrimmage days, where pigskin and cheer squads travel across town for “preseason” matches.
Nearly all of those kids jam into the teams’ practice facilities, at CDO and Arthur Pack fields, as parents’ folding chairs and barbecue grills seem as common as flare passes and blocked kicks.
After weeks of conditioning modeled after their high-school counterparts, the kids are ready to go.
“We’ve got some great teams this year,” said Broncos athletic director Luke Nessling. “It’ll be good to get ’em out of the house.”