Youth program aids return of area football

Youth, modified and varsity football teams march in the Trumansburg Fair Fireman’s Day Parade on Aug. 24.
Youth, modified and varsity football teams march in the Trumansburg Fair Fireman’s Day Parade on Aug. 24.
Photo by Elaine Springer
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The Trumansburg Blue Raiders football players hit the field last week for the first time since 2013, with full rosters for both the varsity and modified teams. The decision to end a team merger with South Seneca and take the field as Blue Raiders was made at the Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Mar. 4 and was mutually agreed upon by both South Seneca and Trumansburg.

Trumansburg families, many of whom are alumni who remember the glory days of winning Trumansburg football teams, have wanted a Trumansburg program to return, and they are getting their wish with the varsity taking the field in an eight-man formation and modified taking the field in the traditional 11-man formation.

The school-affiliated teams are joined by the thriving youth league, whose success over the last few years have made the return of the school-affiliated teams a possibility. Indeed, the spirit of community, dedication to the young athletes development and love for the game of football combined to fuel the success of the youth program, ultimately leading to the return of the modified and varsity teams.

Of the success of the youth program, and the return of the modified and varsity teams, Trumansburg Superintendent Kimberly Bell reports, “While we are extremely grateful for the opportunity our students had to play football provided by the merger, it is with great pride and enthusiasm that we are once again able to field a True Blue Raider team on our home field at Trumansburg! Our youth football coaches have been passionate about re-building the numbers to support a home team, and to their credit, we will once again have the Trumansburg home team excelling on the field, achieving

in the classroom and positively impacting our school and community.”
This season also marks the return of the coaching staff who can be credited with the success of the youth program. The modified coaches, who bring well over a dozen years of combined experience, are James Landon, Jerry Wright and Scott Grove.

Of the move from youth coaching to the modified level, Landon said, “I feel fortunate to be able to continue coaching these kids. I have been able to coach them for the last five years at the youth levels. I think that helps with chemistry and hopefully getting off on the right foot. The big thing I am looking forward to is being with these kids another season and laying the foundation for the return of Trumansburg football. The kids and myself are excited to be a part of the inaugural season. I know we are facing a bit of a challenge the first year getting the programs up and running, but I think the future is bright for Trumansburg football.”

The challenges facing the new team were also noted by varsity head coach Julian Munoz, who is also returning to the field for the first time since 2008.

“When I last coached, the football program had established itself as one of the strongest in Section IV. Our goal is to bring that same winning tradition back to Tarbell Field this year,” said Munoz, who is joined by coach Rick Dann, who also moves up coaching several years at the youth level. “I am looking forward to the challenge of eight-man football as losing three people on each side of the ball creates a new set of challenges. We as a staff have a lot to learn and figure out over the coming weeks. I think the game is going to be very fast paced with a lot of scoring. It has been a long time since I coached a sport and looking forward to getting back out on the field and building the team.”

The varsity team has a roster of 21, while the modified team boasts 32 athletes. The enthusiasm of the team is well felt when asked how it feels to be a Blue Raider. The issue of travel came up with varsity players, many of whom opted out of the Titans program and are taking the field back.

“It definetely feels good to be back. I’ve been playing for the Titans for the last three years. It’s an interesting feeling; we finally get to come back,” said one.

Regarding travel, one player noted, “It’s nice to be back and not travel for hours just to get to and from practice. It’s nice to be here and walk out the door and go to practice in a place you are familiar with.”

A last varsity player added, “I didn’t play for the Titans because I didn’t like the merger. It’s nice to be back playing for Trumansburg and knowing I’m a Raider.”

Modified players cited team spirit and togetherness as an important factor in Trumansburg football.

One player said, “It’s a lot easier to come here and have a good practice and know that we have coaches that care for us. I feel like we have become better as a team. We are together and everyone cares for each other.”

Another player added, “I feel like there is a big change in the atmosphere and attitude from the players, and I feel like it’s a better and more positive program than it has been in the last few years. It’s more of a family than a team.”

The modified team takes the field in their first game against rival Lansing on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m., while the varsity team will take the field on Friday, Sept. 20 against Elimira Notre Dame at 7:00 p.m. Full schedules can be found on the school website, tburgschools.org.

Youth football plays on Saturdays, and their schedule can be found on the Blue Raiders Facebook page. All are welcome to cheer on the athletes.

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