Thursday, June 28, 2012
Fall may be a ways off, but football season is already ramping up on Signal Mountain, with signups for the town’s newest offering, the Scenic City tackle football program, running July 1-31.
Those interested can sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a form. In-person signups will be held July 7 and 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at Town Hall.
“We’re very excited for parents to have the opportunity on Signal to offer tackle football at a younger age and have the opportunity to play through a format that we think is more conducive to tackle football - playing your own age,” said representative Todd Phillips. “The demand so far has been overwhelming.”
Due to Scenic City bylaws, its tackle football signups are open to all age groups covered by the program: ages 5-12, but practice fields are only secured so far for the 5-8 age groups. At least 14 kids must be signed up in each age group in order for it to be offered. Each group covers one year of age, except the 5- and 6-year olds, who are combined, as are the 11- and 12-year-olds.
In the case that there are not enough participants for a certain age group, those who are still interested are welcome to drive their child to a different location for practice on a different team, or they can enroll in Signal Mountain Flag Football if in grades 3-5.
“The [Town] Council acted on the recommendation of the Rec Board [to allow Scenic City on the mountain],” said Town Manager Honna Rogers. “The Rec Board met with them and felt [the new league] was something people wanted to have. The Rec Board had heard from parents.”
The decision to let the Chattanooga area league have practice space on Signal comes on the heels of months of discussion between Scenic City, the town and the Signal Mountain Flag Football League. When those talks started, flag football representative Todd Faulk voiced issues with allowing the other league to exist within the town, namely that it would detract from the town-sanctioned and contained program.
Faulk did not return calls for comment for this article.
“The town is not going to allow older tackle football to use our fields and that be in competition with kids signing up for flag football,” Rogers said. “It will be up next year for discussion on whether the town will let them use the practice fields or not.”
Scenic City’s season begins with practices in August and games in September, and runs through the middle of October, a time when not many other sports are practicing anyway, according to Rogers.
Scenic City is and always has been open to all children from the Greater Chattanooga area, and will be open to all from Signal Mountain, not just those with an 886 or 517 telephone exchange like the flag football program is. Previously, parents of Signal Mountain participants had to drive their children to tackle football practice and games off the mountain. There were 22 players from Signal Mountain last season, according to Phillips.
“Out of the numerous years of Scenic City there hasn’t been any serious injuries, is what their claim to fame is,” Phillips said. “It’s my viewpoint that I’d rather have kids learning the game, how it’s played, safely in pads, how to tackle correctly and have instructions to keep it a safe sport. There are conservative weight limits to carry the ball, so there are precautions for that safety.”