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By Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer 

FHS needs players for freshman football team

 

Last updated 7/20/2018 at 11:55am

Tim Gross photo

Freshman Andre Webb, shown here participating in the Fallbrook Football Lift-a-thon, was one of only 15 incoming freshmen to take part in the summer football camp.

Fallbrook High School is in danger of not being able to field a freshman football team.

"Right now our numbers are low for the freshman team so that's definitely a possibility this year," said Fallbrook High varsity head football coach Darius Pickett of not having a freshman squad.

Pickett said only 15 incoming freshmen participated in the five-week summer football camp that wrapped up July 12.

"Honestly, I'm just hoping they didn't want to do summer (camp)," said Pickett. "I'm hoping they'll come out when we start (official practice) July 30."

The participation fee for the football camp is $250. Pickett said the fee may have played a factor in the low turnout and would like future incoming freshmen to know that the Fallbrook Football Boosters provide scholarships to the camp.

"We have a scholarship program for the kids that might not be able to afford it," said Pickett. "The boosters will scholarship them in."

Pickett said another reason for the low number of freshmen could have been a lack of knowledge of the camp.

"I'm thinking some of them might not have known about it," said Pickett. "Maybe the word didn't get out to the freshmen."

There is no fee for students to play high school football and there is still time for all students to sign up for the team.

"I would say 25 would be a good number," said Pickett when asked the minimum number of players needed to have a freshman team.

If there aren't enough players, the freshmen will join the junior varsity team. Pickett prefers to have both freshman and junior varsity squads.

"If we have the numbers, I definitely want a freshman team," said Pickett. "I think that's a very important aspect of the program."

Pickett said "all or most" north county football programs have a freshman team. He believes having a team exclusively for ninth-grade students is very beneficial.

"The teaching at the freshman level I think is invaluable," said Pickett. "They're getting that individual coaching that they need, getting that foundation. They're not thrown in with the sophomores who already know the system. They're able to take it a step down and just learn what's expected and what's going on."

Stories regarding injuries sustained while playing football – most notably concussions – seem to be making the news more than ever. These stories have led some parents to reconsider whether they should allow their kids to play the sport.

"This sport is the safest it's ever been," said Pickett. "I definitely believe that. I think the coaches that are coaching now are better trained. The rules that are in place are better for the athlete. And I think the kids are being taught the game of football more so now than they were before just because of these rules that they have in place."

Pickett referenced the targeting rule ("you can't hit a defenseless player and lead with your helmet) and the ban on crack blocks ("if a player isn't paying attention, you can't just come and take him out anymore").

"I think those are good rules," said Pickett. "I think those are rules that are going to keep kids safe and keep kids playing longer."

Pickett added that improvements have been made in football equipment.

"Equipment is much better, much safer than it was when we were playing," said Pickett.

Pickett said students wishing to sign up to play football at Fallbrook High can do so by visiting the school's athletic department and checking in with secretary Sharla Larsen.

 

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