I’ve coached youth football for over 20 years, started and managed 2 programs from scratch. Now I run a small program and am the head coach of a 3-4 grade non-select team. We play in a 100+ team youth football league in the Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska area. It is the largest and most competitive league in the state. Our age grouping has 41 teams in it this season, so winning it all will be quite a chore.
I chose to coach the 3-4 grade team because we had a brand new crop of 3 coaches start with us this year and I wanted a chance to work with them to keep the organization on track and prepared for the future. You are only as good as your coaching staff and it has been a few years since I coached the 3-4 grade kids as my only team. Yes, I’m down to coaching just 1 team now, we have an excellent group of guys coaching the 5-6 and 7-8 grade teams.
This team might be just like yours, we have a lot of holes and we are very inexperienced. I have 16 kids new to football for the first time and 11 veteran players. This team lost its entire starting backfield and 95% of its scoring. None of my starting offensive linemen are playing the positions they played last season.
We had just 12 practices to get ready for our first game. The league started a little early this year to make sure we got all of our games in before it got too cold. Game 1 was a crapshoot, we didn’t have any idea what our opponent was running or how good they might be. We won with the actual score being 48-6. When you are up by 21 points the opponent can freeze the score- so the official scores sometimes are a bit different. We went to a running clock in the 4th quarter. We were up 34-0 at the half and we scored on every offensive possession. We had 11 plays in and we used 9 of them. The team we played probably isn’t going to win many games, every league has a few like that.
Defensively, our first team defense didn’t give up a first down. What I was very pleased with is we didn’t have any turnovers, we were penalized 1 time for 5 yards for a mouthpiece infraction, we had zero bad snaps and we had 6 different kids score touchdowns. We subbed well, my new coaches did a very nice job. We had no injuries and the kids were all smiles after the game. We have 5-6 things to work on this week, but all in all a pretty successful first game.