AYF players ready for action
Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
Oxford - American Youth Football continues to be one of the fastest growing youth football and cheering organizations in America and this week a new team began practicing at Oxford High School.
The Oxford/Webster team now joins Dudley/Charlton as one of 23 existing programs in the Central Mass conference.
The main difference between American Youth Football (AYB) and the long running Pop Warner is that kids play on a grade system rather than a weight system. Oxford/Webster AYB coach Tony Depiro thinks that is better for the kids because they get to play against kids in their own grade.
Depiro, (above) who was an assistant coach at Oxford High School last season under recently departed head coach Jeff Parcells, is happy that the locals got their team.
“One of Coach Parcells’s goals last year was to have a youth football team here in town. Having a kid, it made sense for me to help him out,” said Depiro, who has been involved in coaching for nine years. “We started talking about this last October and with the help of the Oxford High School and the use of the field, which was the biggest obstacle at the beginning, it started coming together.”
“We formed a board of directors last December. We partnered with Webster and it’s been a good success so far. All in all as a first-year program we are quite excited, we are quite surprised with the numbers and the turnout.”
Practice began last week with 87 football players currently signed up, and participating, along with 40 cheerleaders, which are excellent numbers for the new program.
Jen Depiro,(above) who is cheer director and head coach for the 8-and- under cheer squad, said, “Our goal here with the girls is to bring fun back to the sport of cheerleading, especially for the younger girls. Competitions are where the girls have the opportunity to shine and show off what they have been working so hard to accomplish. The football games are about spirit, having fun with friends, supporting the football players and learning about the game of football in the process."
The newly formed team will kick off its campaign in the Central Mass American Youth Football (AYB) jamboree next Sunday August 19 in Worcester.