BATAVIA – Friday night football will be alive and well at Bulldog Stadium tonight, albeit with considerably smaller uniform sizes on display.
Since the Batavia varsity football team has a rare Friday night off – the Bulldogs play Saturday at Streamwood – Batavia Youth Football will be playing under the lights beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Normally, Batavia Youth Football plays Saturday mornings at Rotolo Middle School, but with the field open at the high school tonight, Batavia coach Dennis Piron is happy to host the youngsters. Piron was one of the main founders of the Batavia Youth Football organization with former Batavia football head coach Mike Gaspari.
The league began in 2003 and started as a touch football league with 60 children. Today, the league has greatly expanded, as it has 500 to 600 children enrolled in the flag football program and more than 100 kids in the seventh-grade tackle football league.
The Batavia High School football team has made a large impact on this program. Piron is having his entire varsity team help out at tonight’s event.
Varsity football players at the high school have good relationships with the children, as they have spent time coaching the Batavia Youth Football Camp during the summer. Batavia senior quarterback Micah Coffey really enjoys being able to share his passion for the game with the kids.
“I look forward to giving these kids the same experience that I get on Friday nights under the lights. I remember being their age and the night game was always an awesome experience,” Coffey wrote in an email.
Batavia Youth Football is a program of the Batavia Park District. It is a volunteer organization that is headed by parents who donate their time to coach. It is celebrating its 10th year this year.
According to the website bataviayouthfootball.net, the flag and tackle football league is committed to teaching children in first through seventh grade “the responsibilities of playing a team sport, combined with the old-fashioned fun of ‘backyard football’ in which every child gets to play.”
The flag football league is made up of three divsions: first- and second-graders, third- and fourth-graders, and fifth- and sixth-graders. The tackle portion begins in seventh grade.