Spring football gears up for action

There’s plenty happening in the world of football just now, including the National Football League nearing the end of its season, and a local youth league holding registration.

Fans of the American professional version of the game will likely be watching coverage of the NFL all-star game this weekend. The annual Pro Bowl goes tomorrow in Honolulu, featuring top players not involved in the Super Bowl.

This year that means players from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, who advanced to the big championship game with wins last Sunday. The hyped-up ending to another year of NFL comes when Super Bowl XLV is played in Dallas Feb. 6.

Meanwhile, Football Nanaimo is busy gearing up for another active season, with registration starting today for a new Spring Tackle Football league.

Sean Roden sends word that Football Nanaimo marked the end of last season by presenting awards to the top players from the various age divisions. As well, the association recently held its annual general meeting, with a new board of directors elected to govern the organization in the year ahead.

Award winners from football’s Junior bantam Lions included Morgan Sherban chosen as team MVP. Best lineman was Patrick Arnold, best defensive player was Cory Fletcher, and best offensive player was Branton Thomson. Recognized as most sportsmanlike was Derion Hughes, with James Dennis-Orr the most improved player. Receiving the coaches’ achievement award was Ben Barrera.

From the midget squad, Brett Pippy was named MVP. Top offensive back was Nick Bynkoski, while Marshall Cook was best receiver, and Nick Pippy best offensive lineman. Picked as best defensive lineman was Mike Haverstock, best linebacker Taylor Saine, and best defensive back Brendan Lattimer. Cam Rossetto received recognition as most sportsmanlike player, while Trent Wright was most improved and Alex Kutra was chosen rookie of the year. The coaches’ achievement award went to Ash Gayat.

At the pee wee level, the most valuable player award went to Isaac Bevis, and the coaches’ achievement award was given to Jamie Largue. Ryan Miller was the team’s most sportsmanlike player, and Noah Anderson its most improved. Chosen as best lineman was Nathan Elderidge, best defensive player was Aaron Kutra and best offensive player was Adam Fulton.

As mentioned, Football Nanaimo is getting set to introduce a new Spring Tackle Football League. Plans call for the league to operate in conjunction with Victoria and Cowichan associations, and will be for players aged 8-14 as of Dec. 31, 2011. The three age groups in the league will be pre-atom (8-10), atom (11-12), and pee wee (13-14). Cost for the two younger groups is $85, and for the pee wee, registration is $125. All football gear with the exception of cleats will be supplied by Football Nanaimo.

The spring season runs from March until mid-June and will consist of two practices per week as well as a weekly Saturday game at Pioneer Park. The program is supported by the Vancouver Island Raiders, with several of the Raiders coaches or players lined up to be full-time coaches for the teams.

Registration for the new league is at ReAction Source for Sports today (Jan. 29) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again on Feb. 19. More information is available by visiting www.footballnanaimo.com.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.