Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

West Teams Prepare for Between the Hash Youth All-star 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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The West All-stars were in full stride of their second day of practice located at Normandy field on the west-side. The teams were made up of a diverse group of athletes from several parks on the West-side of town. Parks like the Clay Bears donated helmets to allow players from other parks to participate in practice. It was a tremendous effort on the West All Star’s  part to give every kid the opportunity to fully participate in practice. The effort paid off as practice ran extremely smooth and crisp.

 

Players engaged in drills pitting players against one another from different parks in different leagues. More noticeably with the West Allstar teams was the presence of more players from Pop Warner Parks such as Sweetwater, Normandy, and Lake Shore. It was a welcomed sight for spectators and parents who signed their kids up for the experience that they were not afforded. ” This wasn’t around when we played youth sports”, said one parent. ” I’m glad my son gets a chance to practice and play against some of the best talent the city has to offer”.

The goal Saturday will be to compete against the East team, but the focus of the West All Stars this particular evening was to compete against each other.  The difference in styles was on display for many to see as noted by Coach Hamilton. Asked what he thought of the  youth who played at Pop Warner affiliated parks and how they compared to the youth who came from the SJRYF parks, ” You can see a lot of speed from Pop Warner , but you see alot of size and speed from the unlimited parks too”. His son David Hamilton Jr will be one of several youth playing on the 12U all star team who transitioned from being an older lighter in the junior pee wee division of Pop Warner. It serves as a challenge for these youth because they must adjust from being the biggest and oldest players on the field, to being some of the younger and lighter players in 12u. ” An athlete is going to be an athlete and you don’t see a major difference. You see a Sweetwater Quarterback throwing to a Clay Bears receiver, it just lets you know they’re all athletes. It’s a blessing to be in this environment”.

One of the marquee players on the West All-Stars is Aaron Jones III of the Clay Bears. Jones played 12U this past fall and led his team to the city championship game against Woodland Acres. Jones said of the experience to play in the all star game, ” I’m excited to play and it’s been alot of fun getting to know some of my teammates for m different parks”. One of those teammates is Eric Weatherly of Creeks who led his team in 2014 to the Pop Warner Nationals in Orlando. Weatherly was spotted going over plays with Ahshun Harrison of the Moncrief Broncos. Two players from two opposite sides of town, coming together for the first time. It was a sight to see.

Also a sight to see were the 10U, 8U and 6U teams executing plays with enthusiasm and heart. Julio Santiago’s son plays on the 8U allstar team. A coaching regular in the youth football channels of town, he decided not to coach in the event, instead opting to watch as a dad on the sideline. For him it was his first time getting a look at other youth from the Pop Warner Parks. ” I have to say there’s not a big difference in the players. From what I’ve seen, everyone out here can play and play at a high level”. A high level is exactly what the West All Stars will be striving for on Saturday, as they look to win all five division exhibitions in the Between the Hash All Star Game.

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