Minor football still hopes to have U18 football this year

Penta Completions Estevan Minor Football (EMF) still hopes that it can have an under-18 football team this spring. 

Estevan, along with the associations for Weyburn, Yorkton, Swift Current and Moose Jaw, held a Zoom call on April 6 to discuss the possibility of the U18 league, which would give football players who didn’t have a chance to play high school football in the fall of 2020 an opportunity to play.

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A team from the Maple Creek-Shaunavon area has also expressed an interest in joining. 

Kevin Mortenson, the president of the EMF, said the call went well. They’re going to have another meeting on April 20.  

“If everything’s all clear and all good, we’re going to start conditioning and cardio for a week or a week and a half after that,” said Mortenson.  

Then in early May, they would hand out equipment, start practising and learning formations and plays. 

“With us being outdoors, we’ll be, hopefully, able to keep in groups of eight when we’re practising, and do our protocols. Whatever Football Saskatchewan and Sask. Health wants us to do, we’ll do our best to do that.” 

Around May 15, a six-game schedule would begin that would run until the end of June. 

A decision has yet to be made on whether it would be nine-player or 12-player football. 

Estevan has had 31 kids show interest, while the other communities are between 30 and 40 kids. 

“I think once the players see that we’re actually out there and we’re actually serious that we’re going to be able to play, I think we’ll get some more recruits,” said Mortenson.  

He believes it would help the program if kids are able to return to in-person learning in Estevan’s schools starting on April 26, which is the scheduled date.

There have been some people in the community who have approached Mortenson to say they would help with coaching. They are still looking for coaches for the season, and they’re also in need of officials. 

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has not given the league the green light to proceed. People in Moose Jaw and Yorkton have done most of the lobbying with the health authority for the season.

Mortenson believes that a month ago, they likely would have had the green light to play, as the COVID-19 caseload was low in the communities where they hope to play. But Estevan and other areas have seen an increase in numbers. 

“If it was weather permitting a month ago, we probably could have played,” said Mortenson.  

But he’s still optimistic they’ll be able to get a season in, and give the high school students, particularly the Grade 12s, a chance to play football this season. 

Mortenson said they also hope to have conditioning sessions, with non-contact sessions, for kids in their other age groups this spring. 

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