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SHEPHERDSVILLE – The Greater Bullitt County Youth Football League will kick-off another season on Saturday with new lights on one field and a new schedule that shifts all regular season games to Saturday.
That was the news from league president Joe Downs this week as the league works in its fifth decade of existence. While the overall numbers might be down slightly, the good news is that as of early this week Downs was hopeful that all nine programs would have enough players to field teams for this season (the Brooks ‘B’ team was still needing a few more players).
“We’re looking forward to another season,” Downs said in his annual state of the league meeting with the local media. “We still have a few little things to complete around here this week, but we are ready.”
Downs, who is starting his tenth year at the helm of the county-wide program, was thinking that it had been 20 years since the league attempted to play all of its games on one day.
The shift was made possible by the completion of the process to add lights to the smaller Pee-Wee field. The league, which bought the lights from Bullitt Central years ago when that school got new lights, had the lights in position in the past, but only recently had the funds to complete the wiring.
This season, games will start at 8:50 a.m. each Saturday morning with the final game on each of the two fields set for 7:30 p.m.
The new schedule also comes with a ‘block’ scheduling format that has two of the programs playing each other in consecutive games over the four age brackets. This will allow parents and grandparents with more than one player in different age brackets to watch games without a long break between contests.
The one drawback from playing all the games on the same day is that the league feels that there will be fewer people passing through the gates (being able to stay on one day instead of visiting two different days). Because of fewer ticket sales, for the first time with Downs as league president the league will increase admission prices starting on Saturday.
The cost for adults will be $4 for adults and then $2 for students and senior citizens. Over the first two weeks, the league will be selling season passes. Downs is the first to admit that there is not a lot of savings with the passes, but it does eliminate the need for needing money at the gate each Saturday. A family pass (for two adults and two students) will be $75 this year while a season pass for adults will be $40. The season pass for senior citizens will be $20.
“After 15 years it had to go up,” Downs said. “Especially with just one day it had to go up and then we’ll be using more electricity.”
The only money for the league comes from ticket sales. That money needs to cover the cost of officials as well as gate workers along with the trophies at the end of the season. In addition, there are the expenses for water and electricity as well as gas to mow the fields.
For the second year, programs in the league will work the concession stand on their ‘bye’ weeks. That money will then be turned back to the programs.
“That has worked out well in the past,” Downs said. “It’s money back to the teams. They are more than happy to get that money back.
The only possibility of games being played on Sunday will be if the league needs to implement its emergency heat schedule. Downs drew that schedule up four years ago to keep games out of the middle of the afternoon if the temperatures are predicted to exceed 103 degrees.
Downs hopes to make an announcement by Thursday of each week if the need for the heat schedule is necessary. So far, heat has not been a problem for the teams this summer since they started practice the first week in July.
Downs smiles when he points out that since he drew up the emergency heat schedule, it has not been put into play.
Another change for this season is that all of the officiating will be handled ‘in-house’ this season. The league has been working for a number of years developing officials. They started with the younger leagues and have taken more responsibility as the numbers have increased. This is the first year that the local officials have worked the ‘A’ level contests.
Downs says that the league has 20 officials on its roster for games this season.
“I’m pleased with the group that we have,” Downs said. “We try to pull in high school kids and then they can progress all the way to the Kentucky High School Football Officials Association.”
Downs said that the condition of the two fields is the best that he can recall. The league is mowing the Bermuda turf everyday, a process that forces the grass to group out and not up.
“It’s about like carpet out there,” Downs said. “It has taken us eight years to get to this level.”
Besides getting the wiring done on the lights, the league also purchased several new picnic tables and also updated the inside of the secondary concession stand on the visitors’ side of the big field.
The league did have some turn over in its board members this year. The most notable was the retirement of Tammy Richmond as the league secretary, a job that she held for over 20 years. She has been replaced by Kim Durbin.
In addition, vice-president Joe Sohm stepped down and returned to his roots, coaching one of the Shepherdsville teams. Sohm was replaced by Ron Washburn who had been the league’s Supervisor of Officials. Andy Gulick now holds Washburn’s old job.
The other officers are Treasurer, Terry Williams; Sergeant of Arms, Jeremy Wilson; Financial Secretary, Jeff Shank; Program Director, Jason McMichael; Football Coordinator, Rico Mooney; and Cheer Coordinator, Amanda Collins.
Important dates for 2013 Youth Football:
August 10 - Opening Weekend
August 31 - No Games (Labor Day)
Oct. 12 - Final Regular Season Games
Oct. 19 - First Weekend of Play-off Games
Nov. 2 - Championship Saturday
Nov. 9-10 - All-Star Weekend
Nov. 16 or 17 - Cheerleader Competition
Games will start at 8:50 a.m. each Saturday during the regular season on the two fields located at the site of the old Shepherdsville High School on Joe B. Hall Avenue in Shepherdsville.
Admission each day will be $4 for adults and $2 each for students and senior citizens. Season passes for both individuals and families will be on sale during the first two weekends of the season at $75 for a family of four or $40 for an individual. There will also be senior citizen passes for $20.
As in the past, The Pioneer News will run youth football league results each Wednesday on page B-3.