MILTON, Vt. Football season is less than a week away in the state of Vermont, with high schools kicking off next Friday and Saturday. But for many players in the state, their football careers begin long before high school.
The Northern Vermont Youth Football League season gets underway as well next weekend, and today, teams from each of the league's 16 programs converged on Milton for a jamboree. Teams from 1st and 2nd grade flag football all the way up through 7th and 8th graders had the early opportunity to see how they stack up against some of their competition, but the most important aspect of the event probably comes from a safety standpoint. The league uses the jamboree to conduct weigh-ins for the players and background checks for the coaches to ensure they're all USA Football Heads Up certified. It's a great way for the league to ensure to parents that they're doing everything they can to ensure a safe and fun football season.
"Our main goal and our mission statement with the league is really to continue to educate parents on the heads up tackling and blocking techniques. You see it every Sunday and Monday on the NFL, you see the USA Football logo. We are USA affiliated as a league, and you know it's just making the game safer, and just like I said, we want to educate Mom and Dad on the game and just how we're kind of evolving with the sport because it is a contact sport, but there is a way to teach this stuff in the safest way possible," said President of the NVYFL, Chad Cioffi.
Speaking of football in Milton, their High School season kicks off on Friday. There's been some big changes going on at MHS. The Yellow Jackets have graduated several of their skill players, but do have some veteran leadership in the offensive and defensive lines. There will be a familiar face on the Milton sidelines this season as Jim Provost takes over as Head Coach. Provost spent 14 seasons at Rice and was the head coach at CVU for seven seasons. He's been out of coaching for the last two seasons, but couldn't pass up a chance to turn around his hometown team and bring the Yellow Jackets to the top of Division 2.
"I was still keeping in tune with some of the X's and O's stuff, in case an opportunity came up. One did and it happened to be in my hometown, so I jumped at it. What I've learned is that maybe less is more, so I've kind of stripped down the offense a little bit and try to get better at just a few things instead of having a whole pile of stuff that we're just average at,' said Milton Head Coach Jim Provost.
"We've got to relearn a whole new offense. It is different than what we've done in years past, quicker pace and I think it's going to be very effective. If you do your job right, then you're going to find a spot and you're going to do very well with this. It's very effective," said MHS Senior Trent Cross.