2008-01-31 / News

Jamestown to start youth flag football league

By Stephanie Heelan Cotsonas

For those islanders who have been looking for an introduction to football, the wait is over. Jamestown resident Mark Swistak, Jr. and Recreation Director Bill Piva are putting together a flag football league for boys and girls in fifth through eighth grade.

"I've heard it mentioned a few times that Jamestown kids have not had any exposure to football prior to high school and as a result have not felt comfortable playing for the first time at the high school level," Swistak said.

He was a North Kingstown High School All-State football player and then went on to play at URI. Swistak is excited to give kids a basic understanding of football. "We are fortunate to have one of the best high school programs in the state, led by Keith Kenyon for over twenty years. I want to see as many kids as possible take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of the program."

Piva has been officiating high school football for 17 years and is currently an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference college football official. He can remember his father organizing a similar program for his group of friends. "We have a lot of experience playing, officiating and coaching football. We will be able to give these kids really good instruction on how to play the game," Piva said.

NK Athletic Director and head football coach Keith Kenyon is happy that Jamestown will be offering football instruction prior to high school. "Jamestown kids are in a difficult position when it comes to youth football being in the middle of Newport and North Kingstown. Some kids are just not ready for contact football but love the game at an early age. This program provides them the opportunity to still enjoy the game without the pressure of contact," he said.

Swistak encourages anyone interested in football to sign up. "There is a position for everyone on a football team and there are different skill sets for the variety of positions and players. Almost everyone can find their niche on the team and be a part of the fun," he said.

The program will run on Monday evenings for six weeks, Feb. 25 to March 31, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Participants will meet at the Lawn school gym but games will be played outside under the lights.

Those interested may sign up at the recreation center weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the cost for the program is $15.

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