Duval Sports

Practice begins for the Between The Hash Youth AllStar Game

Jacksonville will host the first  Between the Hash youth football all star game Saturday January 9th 2016. The game will feature several youth football stars from around the area in an exhibition of talent ranging from age five to age fourteen.

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On Thursday evening, practice kicked off at two location for the East and West teams. Duval Sports attended the practice of the East team which showcased a very impressive showing. Players and coaches from the American Youth Football League, Pop Warner, St. Johns River Youth Football League and various parks from around the area showed up to showcase their talent. This is unprecedented in Jacksonville and many that attended the practice for the East wanted to be apart of history.

Coach Chris Smith, long time youth football coach in the Jacksonville area was not coaching in the game but brought his daughter Christal Smith to play in the game.IMG_0174 (800x533) ” I think its a very good thing”, Coach Smith speaking of the All Star Game. “She heard about it and wanted to play against the best in Jacksonville. Hopefully we can create a North Florida team and get a chance to compete against a south Florida team “.  Christal plays for the Northside Stallions , but has also played for the Lake Shore Raiders where her father is a coach. She led Gilbert Middle School to the playoffs this season.

For players like Cobi Bates of the Woodland Acres Wolverines, a chance to raise the talent level of the east squad is what enticed him to play. ” I wanted to play because I wanted to make the team better.IMG_6876 (800x533) Alot of players on the West Allstar team are already talking noise”. Bate’s competitive drive will surely help his team. He powered his 12U Woodland Acres team to a City Championship this past fall. “I think the all star game is a good thing because all the great players in Jacksonville get to play against one another”.  The coach of the East 12U team is “Coach Papa J”, Bate’s coach from the City Champion Wolverines. Coach knows the imost an all-star game can mean to a young player’s spirit. ” I was invited to play in an allstar game while at Edward Waters College. To travel and play against guys who would make it to the NFL was a great experience. It’s nice to see that the young men can play against others from around the city and have that experience at such a young level to build their confidence. It’s all about the kids having fun”.

Fun is exactly what the 14U,  8U and 6U players seemed to be having during their practices. The chance to play the game they love so dearly is the reason one parent let her two sons participate with the 14 U team.

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The 14 U team seemed to be having the most fun out of the groups, tossing around the football and posing for their snap chat pages. The 6U players and coaches looked like they were back on the gridiron in 90 degree August weather, as they went over drills and assignments. The same fervent enthusiasm displayed when the kids first put on the pads for the fall is the same enthusiasm displayed at their first all star practice. The 6U kids showed just as much enthusiasm as the coaches too.

 

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Players from the 8U team were all accustomed to being used at skill positions at their home parks. But tonight, many of them found each other equally as gifted in the skills department.

IMG_0197 (800x533)This meant that many players would have to rotate , but more importantly for Coach Karabello of the 8U East team, ” we had to find a center first because we have so many skill players”. The players didn’t seem to mind that they may play a different position than what they were used to. It shows that being an all star is not only about your physical skills but your selflessness to play any position in order to achieve success.

Success is already the universal thought of the night. Thoughts echord by Head Coach Trent Postell of the Oceanway junior pee wee Blue Buccaneers who will be assisting Coach Terry’s 10U team. ” Anytime you can get an event like this for young men its a good thing for Jacksonville. IMG_6865 (800x533)Coach Postell knows that the first year may not have lots of representation from the league he coached in, but is optimistic it will catch on quick. ” Anything you try to get going will start slow, but as long as the positive message is being showcased in a good light it will prove to be a good opportunity for other associations to get involved.” Christian Ellis is one of Coach Postell’s players to make the transition from Pop Warner to Unlimited weight in the allstar game. Said Ellis, ” I think its a good way for me to get used to middle school football next year by playing against unlimited weight players on 12U. IMG_0195 (800x533)I want  to show what I can do.” JaCorey Whitehead of the 10U team actually played middle school football last year at Cedar Creek. He shared those feelings from a player’s standpoint . ” It feels real nice to play with different teammates and against different players.” That difference represents the unknown for many young athletes, and the unknown represents a challenge. It’s a competitive drive that only some players posses, yet those players find themselves embracing the challenge of doing something that has never been done in Jacksonville before.

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” I always wanted to see a youth football all-star game in Jacksonville and now we have one” – Coach Whitehead 10u East

 

Check out our coverage of the West All Star practice tomorrow here on DuvalSports!



 

Below is information about participation and the game. Duval Sports will provide coverage of practices, and the game on Saturday. The game will be held at Andrew Jackson High School.

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Between the Hash All Star Game Practice Location –
Dates: January 7th Thursday, January 8th Friday…..
Time: 6pm – 8pm both locations

East All Star Practice location:
Glynn Myra Park
1429 Winthrop Street Jacksonville, Florida 32206

West All Star Practice Location:
Normandy Athletic Association
1728 Lindsey Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32221
United States

 

Youth Football athletes are still encouraged to sign up, although spaces are limited. For more information visit the park location nearest you above at the designatedractice time. Or email us at. Info@duvalsports.com

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