Geismar — Driving rain couldn’t stop Elmo LeBeouf III from a day of youth football.
But rain did force LeBeouf, president of the Dutchtown Youth Football League, to make a few adjustments in order to pull off four games Saturday.
The games, which started at 9 a.m., were moved from the high school football stadium to a practice field on campus “so we wouldn’t tear up the field.”
Then concession stands had to be erected under tents and parents had to pull out chairs and umbrellas to watch from the sidelines.
“We’re making it work,” LeBeouf said.
The league fields four teams, all calling themselves “The Mighty Griffins.”
LeBeouf, who also serves as league athletic director and A team head coach, said 87 players make up the teams, which play in the Southeast Louisiana Youth Football League.
The Griffins are celebrating their 10th season.
LeBeouf said that in this tough economy, the teams’ advisory board has made a few changes to help parents with the costs of equipment needed to play youth football. Several fundraisers were held to defray costs, he said.
This season, he said, the Dutchtown league purchased new, upgraded helmets and is providing jerseys for the cost of registration.
The new helmets, which feature heavy padding and have a better fit than older helmets, also help prevent injury, LeBeouf said.
The helmets are recertified every two years to ensure a safe piece of equipment, he said.
Coaches stress proper football technique and provide conditioning at each age level to cut down on injuries, he said.
Dutchtown Youth Football League Vice President Oscar Pedescleaux Jr. said next season plans call for upgrading shoulder pads.
Tom Fereday, whose 12-year-old son Jacob plays for the A team, said the league provides his son an opportunity to play football in a safe environment.
Jacob and his teammates prepared for their morning game by running drills in the rain. The rain didn’t let up when the whistle blew, but the players didn’t seem to mind the precipitation.
The A team, which is made up of players age 11 and 12, lost to the St. John Heat, 18-0. The younger players had a better day despite the inclement weather and sloppy conditions.
The B team won 18-2 and the C team blanked the Heat, 28-0. The youngest team, made up of players 6 and younger, tied the Heat, 6-6.
Abram Green, 7, intercepted a Heat pass and ran for a touchdown for his team’s only score.
Abram’s father, Jeff Green, a coach on the field, jumped and cheered as his son ran toward the end zone.
Taymond Bailey, a Dutchtown High School senior tight end, also cheered as Abram raced down the field.
Bailey, who was watching the games after a morning film session, said he played youth football in New Orleans as a child and “still loves the game as much as I did back then.”
“They (the young players) get a passion for it early and stick with it,” Bartley said. “It takes me back. Soon, they’ll be playing on the big field.”
Pedescleaux, who coaches the B team, said the Griffins’ organization is trying to instill that love of the game in its players “through providing a positive environment on and off the field.”
He said the coaches incorporate education and life skills into practices.
“We try to keep things centered and grounded so Dutchtown Youth Football can be here for the next 30 years.”
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