Tackle & Flag Football, Cheerleading for All Ability Levels
REGISTRATION HAS BEGUN - Clinton Little Devils in 2nd Pop Warner Season
What a season!
The Clinton Little Devils’ first year with Pop Warner proved ‘eye opening’ to all that we needed to do to really compete with the experienced teams in the SC Midlands league. Having teams with more first-time players than experienced players was a challenge for us. The coaches did their best to encourage and support the dedicated kids who gave it their all.
This article is not being written to make excuses, rather to acknowledge a reality. In this first season, the teams gave their best to stand against their opponents. With that being said, we are more determined than ever to better prepare our players for this season. How is that going to happen? Glad you asked.
First, we will teach our players the basics at all levels. In my observations, I am convinced that the kids must be taught the basics of football. Two years ago, I suggested that we spend time teaching the kids the game of football. That suggestion was not well-received at the time. I couldn’t understand why that was not a priority of any coach teaching young kids, many who had never played organized football before. I asked one of the players what did ‘first and goal’ mean? They had played previously but didn’t fully understand what that meant. I may not have been a coach, but I have led in a few situations in my life. While on active duty in the military, I was an instructor. One of my jobs as an instructor was to teach and train the soldiers how to lay a pipeline in the field. Telling someone to connect hoses together was only part of what they had to learn. They had to understand the basics of laying the pipeline, what type of hose was used going up a hill versus going down a hill, when it was necessary to change the type pipe used in various terrains. They had to understand the strategy to lay the pipe: the hydraulics, the pressure points, etc. I share this to say, if our kids are told to take a ball and run to the goal post, how do they get there? Who is responsible for clearing the path for them to make that run? Where do they go when they receive the ball and why? I am not talking about the plays as much as the strategy and the role the other players have in helping him get to the goal post. If a player is designated as a running back, does the lineman understand what his role is to help that running back get through the line to be able to get through the defense? Does that lineman know the proper technique to stop that defensive player from getting to the quarterback or running back, regardless of their size? Do they fully understand the roles of each player on the line? I understand to the ‘experienced’ coach, this may seem elementary and some may say, a waste of time. But this season, the coaches for the Clinton Little Devils will spend time teaching these fundamentals. We will not take it for granted that the kids fully understand the makeup and responsibilities of their position as it relates to the team strategy. If we do this, whether we win or not, I believe the fruits of our labor will be realized by the middle and high school coaches when these young players transition to middle school.
Do we want to win? Of course, we do. And we will teach and prepare to win. I am encouraged that for many of the kids and parents, they recognized the challenges we faced at the beginning of the season. Giving the Pop Warner teams credit for where they were was warranted; but it didn’t mean we were going to call it quits with the organization. This year, we are planning to step up to the challenge.
For example, with the coaching staff we currently have in place for the Pee Wee (Shawn Calhoun - Head Coach) and Tiny Mites (Denise Thompson - Head Coach), I know these leaders are developing their strategies to teach the players and help them develop her strength and endurance.
Our coaching staff is not complete. We are seeking men and/or women who have a passion for children who have a spark in their eyes to make that great play that will lead the team to victory as well as that child who will give their all just to be included as a team member. The coaching staff must be dedicated to the children. This organization is not about me, the staff or the coaches. It is about the kids. One player said to me last year that he was so glad to be a part of the Clinton Little Devils. He loved going out of town to play the games; he loved the encouragement that came from the Pop Warner coaches and staff; he loved the friendships that have grown throughout the season. You see, many of the teams we played shared with us that they started out the way we did. They were up against those experienced teams and had to develop their teams. SC Midlands welcomed the Clinton Little Devils.
The Clinton Little Devils Association, Inc. is more than just football. We are a family! We have had sleepovers, gone bowling, eaten at restaurants together after the games and gone to the Palmetto Water Park at Fort Jackson. We will be hosting quarterly birthday parties, more sleepovers, and church visits (strictly voluntary). We will also be establishing a drumline to filter some of that high energy our kids have. Thanks to the computer donations from The Bailey Foundation and All State Insurance in Laurens, the kids can play games including some educational games as well as that dreaded (by me) Fortnite. Thanks to the TV donated by Jayson Glenn, the kids can watch movies. Thanks to the games that were donated by Kim Butler, the kids can play chess, checkers, Connect Four, Uno and other games. We also received tickets from Pop Warner to the Panther’s two home pre-season games. We went to the Panthers vs. the Miami Dolphins game – a great experience. Although we had tickets for the Panthers vs. Patriots game, many tickets were not used because our first game was the next day.
We started the season with an NFL Flag football team. Fun, Fun, Fun!!! The kids who participated in these games simply had a good time. The kids had to decide which NFL team they wanted to represent. After each player voted, we represented the New York Giants. We will play NFL Flag again this year. Registration for flag is separate from tackle. Flag registration will began on March 25th.
At the conclusion of the season, we hosted our awards banquet. I wanted to invite another special guest this year. I had met a lady at the Strengthening Families class we attended at Thornwell last year who is smart and a lot of fun to be around. I learned a lot from her, and I do believe she was the right person for the role. What a woman! Nickie Templeton, Clinton High School Athletic Director, was our guest speaker this year. Her impartation was captivating not only to the adults but to the kids as well. When she finished, I asked if we should pass the offering plate. When my boys got in the car and shared with me some of the things she had said, I was amazed because they paid attention. Thank you again Dr. Templeton!
We were also blessed to have Mayor Robert McLean and his wife join us. When he shared that he had played football with Pop Warner when he was growing up, the kids loved it. He even brought pictures and his Pop Warner ID card to show. He is known to the kids as Mayor Bob!
A legend joined us at the banquet. Coach Cally Gault, former Head Coach at Presbyterian College, and his wife, Joy, attended. They informed me in a card a few days later they have been to hundreds of banquets and thought that night was one of the best and most organized banquets they had attended. He felt the kids were very well behaved and complimented the staff and coaches. Thank you, Coach Gault…. your words at the banquet and in the card, were well received and encouraging.
We want to acknowledge Coach Caughman from the middle school. He was presented the players in the 6th grade who will be playing with the 7th grade Wildcats when school starts in August.
Being part of the Clinton Little Devils was not a place I would have thought I would have been a few years ago. When I acknowledge how God has allowed me to be a mom at my age, I must believe He has me in this place and I am grateful. People who know me, know I have always had a love for children. Babysitting as a teenager, in high school and while at PC, kids were my joy. So, while I could be sitting at home every day watching my favorite game show, The Price is Right, a simpler life, I honestly don’t believe God would be pleased with me. First Presbyterian Church in Clinton has a motto, ‘Blessed to be a Blessing.’ I believe that applies to all of us who acknowledges our blessings. My boys are my joy, but it turns out, I don’t just have the three boys I adopted; I have 100+ kids whom I have grown to love.
Now, having gone down memory lane, I want to make an appeal to the Clinton community. Help us keep these kids engaged. Encourage them to stay the course. Compliment the child who is trying to do good. If you are blessed, then please be a blessing. While we would welcome any donation you may be led to send, you can do other things to help these kids. We need many positions filled for each game. Listed below is a summary of those positions where you can help. You don’t have to have a child participating to be a volunteer.
Mandatory Play Recorder - For each game (home and away), we need two individuals to complete the Mandatory Play Report. These persons would be responsible for monitoring the number of plays for each player to ensure they get the required number. This report must be turned in to Pop Warner every week. Training will be provided. Minimum age -18.
Chain Persons – For home games only, we need three people willing to move the chains. Minimum age – 18.
Coaches – We need a head coach for our Tiny Mite team and Jr. Varsity (see below) as well as assistant coaches for Tiny Mites, Mitey Mites and Jr. Varsity football teams and cheer assistant coaches. Minimum age - 18.
Team Moms – Primarily responsible for maintaining the book for the team that must be kept at the field during practice as well as at each game. Minimum age - 18.
Concession Support – For home games only.
All games are free to the public.
Registration will begin on March 25 through April 19 for NFL Flag and through June 14 for tackle and cheerleading. The registration fee for tackle football and cheerleading is $50.00, for NFL Flag football is $40.00. Equipment/Uniforms are separate (Sponsorships/Fundraising available). Discounts are available for multiple registrations within a family.
Thanks to a grant from Good Sports, we have FREE cleats in sizes 2-6. The cleats will be designated on a first-come, first-served basis when the registration fee is paid.
Registration, documentation and weigh-ins must be completed in the office (219 W. Main Street).
Office hours starting March 25, 2019:
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 11 AM; 4 PM – 6 PM Weekends – By appointment only.
Contacts – Office – 547-1858; Annette Lee – 864-923-6813; Pat MacDonald – 864-871-3004;
Teams: Ages as of July 31, 2019; No weight requirements for Cheerleaders
Tiny Mites – Ages 5-7; Weights 35-75
Mitey Mites – Ages 7-9; Weights 45-100
Jr. Pee Wee – Ages 8-10 (11); Weights 60-115 (60-95)
Pee Wee – Ages 9-11 (12); Weights 75-130 (75-110)
Jr. Varsity – Ages 10-12 (13); Weights 90-155 (90-135)
Starting Thursday, April 21, 2019, the cheerleaders, led by our cheer coach, Alyssa Richey, began the Cheerleading Prospect Training. Participants will learn every aspect of cheer before being placed on a team for the season. Our mission is to give participants the proper strength conditioning, techniques and mental toughness it takes to participate and compete with our cheer program this season. This training includes jumps, motions/formations, stunts, tumbling, cheers, chants, dances and team building skills. This training is opened to ages 5-13 and will run through June 20, 2019. Location: Clinton Little Devils building (219 W. Main Street) and practice field. Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM every Thursday. Cost: Unlike most prospect training, we only ask that each participant bring $1 each week. These funds will be used for snacks, water and other supplies needed throughout the training.
Anyone interested in donating to the CLDA for football and/or cheerleading, please mail your check to P.O. Box 442 Clinton, SC 29325 OR you can send directly to the organization using our cash app account - $ClintonLittleDevils. We are a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.
Finally, I’d like to say THANK YOU to all our sponsors who continue to support the organization! To the coaches and volunteers who give of their time and talent for the kids!! To the 2018 CLDA staff - Pat MacDonald (VP); Wendy Wofford (Scholastics Commissioner); Renee Brown (Secretary); Kim Butler (Treasurer); Jayson Glenn (Coach Commissioner); Synthie Anderson (Cheer Commissioner); Dicie Copeland (Assistant Cheer); Crystal Graves (Assistant Scholastics) – THANK YOU!!