Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football has started the process of accepting registrations for the 2020 football season.
President Kevin Mortenson said Part 1 of Phase 4 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan allows for outdoor minor sports to resume. There won’t be physical contact at first as they prepare for the season, which starts later in the summer, but minor football still wants to see the young players working on non-contact drills.
“There’s not going to be a lot of ball handling or hitting bags or tackling,” said Mortenson. “Whenever we do use a football or a tackling bag, we’re going to have to have somebody on it almost instantaneously to clean them off again and sanitize them.”
Minor football is accepting registrations now because they want to see their numbers and get the kids together. But they won’t accept money until August.
They’re confident they’re going to be playing, but they don’t know what football is going to look like.
“There’s going to be an extra person out on the field sanitizing during the game, sanitizing the football and sanitizing the equipment,” Mortenson said. “Kids are going to have to keep their mouth guards in at all times.”
Equipment manager Pat Ford has already ordered splash guards for helmets so that sweat and saliva won’t come into contact with teammates and opponents.
Minor football might add some of their own precautions in addition to what is put in place by the provincial and federal governing bodies.
Four divisions will be offered. Three of them are returning entries: the under-10 Power Dodge Cudas, who will have six players on the field at a time; the under-12 Century 21 Chargers, who play nine-player football; and the Lions Club under-14 Steelers, who also have nine-player football.
The U12 and U14 teams play against Weyburn, Moosomin, Assiniboia, Moose Jaw and Swift Current; the latter team is back in the league this year.
New for this year will be a female tackle football team, the Estevan Viragos, for girls in Grades 7-12. They will play in the Prairie Female Football League.
Mortenson noted Virago is Latin for a female warrior.
Shannell Rioux, a graduate of the Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs football team who has played for the Regina Riot adult women`s tackle team, is on board to coach the Viragos.
“We had a pretty good reception. There’s been more than 20 girls, plus the girls who played last year (at ECS) who feel they’ll be joining this team. We’re at about 23 or 24 players.”
They have reached out to Weyburn for players, and they’re excited to get on the field.
The league expects to have seven teams this season.
Mortenson said they hope to continue the momentum of last season, especially with the Chargers, who won five of their final six games and captured the third place game in the Moose Jaw Minor Football League.
The kids also had a lot of fun last season on all three teams.
Minor football also hopes to have its practice facility, Chow Field, located west of Highway 47, in use for this season. Chow Field has not been used since 2017 due to settling issues that stemmed from when it was built more than a decade ago.
The field has been rebuilt so that it can be used. Once it’s finished, minor football will have a place to practice that they won’t have to share with other user groups.
The Woodlawn Regional Park stepped forward to resolve the issues at Chow Field, Mortenson said.