READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: Andy youth league gets season started this weekend
The Andalusia Youth Football League will kickoff their season on Saturday with a non-conference game on the road against the Florala Wildcats.
AYFL President Nichole Appleyard said all three Andalusia teams have been working very hard the last two weeks and are ready to play.
“We will enter our third week of practice this afternoon (Monday) and I believe all of our teams have made great strides,” Appleyard said. “Although the weather has not been perfect, we have managed to avoid canceling any practices.”
The AYFL is divided into three age divisions: Mighty Mite (6-8 year olds); Termite (9-10 year olds); and Pee Wee (11-12 year olds). Each head coach says he feels their teams are almost ready for Saturday’s matchup in Florala.
Mighty Mite coach Devaris Skanes will make his head-coaching debut in Matthews Stadium Saturday.
Skanes has spent the last three years as the defensive coordinator on Coach Ronnie Levitzke’s staff.
“I was nervous about taking on this new role, but my assistant coaches and the kids have actually made things really easy,” Skanes said. “I have a very talented group that has learned quickly and worked hard every day.”
When asked who the fans should watch for on Saturday, Skanes said he was expecting big things out of his entire team, but did say Jackson Woods, Jaylen Jackson, Braydon Gunter and Carmelo Hill each have had two good weeks of practice.
In the Termite Division, Coach Ronnie Levitzke will have to replace his entire backfield from last season.
“This almost feels like my first year in the league,” Levitzke said. “Although I have several returning players like Spencer Stroud, Byrce Jernigan, Davis Drish and Kal Crittenden who have practiced and prepared like the veteran players they are, we are still trying to find some rhythm. We have several new faces that are still trying to figure it out. I expect things will come together this week.”
The Pee Wee team is led by veteran head coach Michael Jackson. Jackson said he believes he has one of the most talented teams he has ever coached.
“Like Ronnie, we have some new faces, but have been pleasantly surprised by how far along they have come since we started,” Jackson said.
New to the AYFL this year are offensive linemen Thad Thompson and Sam Parker Jackson.
“Both are not only athletic, but super smart kids. They have fit right in with what we want to do this year.” Jackson added.
Two other new players are twins Tyler and Tevin Segers.
“We picked up two very special players in the twins,” Jackson said. “They are both big time playmakers and complement J’Marion (Burnett) in our backfield.”
Returning is a very stingy defense led by linebackers Hugh Wallace Stovall and Landon Marshall. The Pee Wee offensive line will be anchored by Jackson and Thompson, along with three year starter Andrew Mitchell.
“After quite a bit of practice, we just want to hit someone else. I am ready to play and I know the kids are, as well.” Jackson said.
The Mighty Mites will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with all other games to follow. The AYFL Cheerleaders will also be on the sidelines cheering for the Bulldogs led by Vicky Whitehurst and her staff.
Appleyard invites all of the Andalusia faithful to join them in Florala Saturday night.
“Florala has some really good teams and is always great competition. It is the time of year when everyone is ready to see some good football, so come on down to Florala and watch these kids get after it.”