Building a program

Published 9:36 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Goshen, football is the sport. The children start young, and they are bred into the Eagle way of football. All Eagles of all ages strive for championships, and this season has been one to remember and cherish for the community of Goshen.

In the South Central Youth Football League, the Goshen Mighty Mites and PeeWee teams hoisted championship trophies this past Saturday that not only signified their championship runs, but undefeated seasons as well.

PeeWee head coach Shea Phillips talked about his team’s performance through the season, and said their play in the Super Bowl was their best game of the season.

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“They were nervous at the start of the game,” Phillips said. “But then they scored two touchdowns early, and played good together. They played really hard.”

The PeeWee Super Bowl victory finished a perfect season, the second such season in town this fall.

SCYFL league president Troy Johnson coached the Mighty Mites this season, and he called this the best football season the community of Goshen has seen in long time, maybe even ever.

“It’s wonderful,” Johnson said. “I really don’t even know how to explain it. People are getting interested in football in Goshen again. People come up to us all the time and say they are real impressed with what we’re doing with these kids.”

What Goshen is doing is building a program from top to bottom.

Children in the Goshen area who play football will be taught the Eagle way from as young as playing for Johnson, all the way up until they suit up for Goshen High School head coach Joe Thornton.

“Coach Thornton helps us out a lot,” Johnson said. “We had a clinic over the summer, and coach Thornton did it for us. He taught them basic techniques and blocking and simple things like how to run with the ball. We had about 50 kids at the clinic.”

The idea is to raise the players through a Goshen system and build team unity at a young age. Johnson and everyone else in the Goshen world hope this will bring bigger things.

“If we can keep it together then Goshen High School will win a state championship,” Johnson said.

Johnson gave credit to the assistants as well for the championship teams.

Al Griffin and league vice-president Michael Redmond assisted Shea Phillips and Tommy Jones and Jimmy Hill assisted Johnson.

Johnson said these men all play vital roles in the youth football program, and they are a big part of the program’s success.

The youth football participation has doubled in the last five years in Goshen since Johnson started running the league, and he looks forward to seeing what the biggest Eagles of them all will do in the postseason soon.

“I appreciate all of the parents’ help,” Johnson said. “I hope they continue to let their kids come out and play in the future.”