Kaptivating Kidz: Tackle football unites kids in Drain and Yoncalla

Kaptivating Kidz: Tackle football unites kids in Drain and Yoncalla »Play Video
Head coach Lori Black helping coach 16 boys from Drain and Yoncalla the basics of tackle football.

DRAIN, Ore. - Sixteen elementary students from Yoncalla and Drain have teamed up for the football season.

"In football we are friends, but in other sports we are competitive," said Austin Frieze, a wide receiver and cornerback.

These fourth and fith graders may be on the same North Douglas team, but they can't decide on a mascot: Are they Yoncalla Eagles? Or North Douglas Braves - in the home of the Drain Warriors?

One thing they have in common: this is their first year in tackle football in the Douglas County youth league.

"It's a little more shock," said Cody Black, a quarterback and cornerback.

"Tackle, not flag," added Dakota Spain, a left guard.

"I just plow 'em over," said Trenton Cook, an outside and defensive tackle.

The players are a long way from college and just learning the game, from the wide receivers with wishy-washy hands - "sometimes I have good hands, and sometimes I have bad," admitted Jimmy Barrone - to the play-breaking backfield. "My blood gets pumping," said running back Chandler Miller.

Even at this level, team cohesion is critical, said quarterback Caleb Parks.

"It can be challenging at some points when sometimes the line will mess up," he said.

This split team is also on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to picking sides in the Oregon Civil War.

But together they are learning to love tackle football.

"It gives you butterflies in your stomach," said Tanner Parks, an offensive and defensive lineman.

"It's pretty fun," linebacker Jake Gerrard said, "playing tackle now."

Send Nick an eMail krupke@kval.com or find him on facebook Nick Krupke KVAL.