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Pop Warner Knights play in Jamboree

August 22, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

After nearly three weeks of conditioning and hitting each other, the North Fort Myers Red Knights Pop Warner football teams finally got a chance to hit someone else.

Wearing their spectacular new uniforms, the Red Knights travelled to Cape Youth for the annual Jamboree, which brought together North, Cape Youth, Cape Jr., Charlotte and Port Charlotte for a final tune-up before the regular season gets into full swing this weekend when they travel to Fort Myers to play the Lions.

And the word from the coaches was pretty much the same all the way around; We played well, but we have a lot to work on.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers Junior Pee-Wee Kobe Johnson jukes past a Cape Youth player during the annual Jamboree at the Cape Youth football complex on Saturday.


Darren Spires, coach of the Junior Pee-Wees, saw his team play well against Cape Youth, then go to the other field and immediately take on Port Charlotte.

He said the result didn't matter so much as it was a chance to try things with the kids and put them in the best position to succeed.

"It's basically a glorified scrimmage. We were rotating kids in positions they might be playing next week. We also took film to see where they can help us," Spires said. "I thought we all did well, but there's always room for improvement."

Spires was impressed with the offensive line and that his backs hit the holes hard, but the tackling needed work.

"When we get to the point of making a tackle we need to finish it. When we tackle one on one that's one thing. When we're in a game against kids they don't know (it's another.) They will slowly get better each week," Spires said. "Now that they have a game under their belt, we'll get better."

One of the things the kids need to learn is to not use the head, as safety and fear of concussions has made it mandatory for coaches to teach "Hawk" tackling, which keeps the head out of the tackle, something the kids weren't used to when they were younger because it wasn't taught.

Spires' team reached the Peace River Conference playoffs last season and returns many of the same players. Those who left were replaced by former Mitey-Mites who also played in the conference championship game last season.

"It comes down to the coaching. We have some of the best coaches in the area and we'll slowly get them into tackling. It usually gets better as the season goes along," Spires said.

One of the stars of Wyatt Milks, who scored on a short touchdown run in the first game.

"It was cool to have the first touchdown. It was all on the O-line because I couldn't do it without them," Milks said. "We did well. We need to work on the blocking and tackling, but the defense did pretty good."

Keenan Moore, who played running back and linebacker, said the offense did good and liked to see his team score touchdowns.

"We got some good holes to run through, but we need to block more. I did OK, but I need to work on my tackling," Moore said.

Both said they were excited to start the season against a tough Fort Myers team.

"It's exciting because last year they beat us twice, once at our house and the other with a chance to go to Disney," Milks said. "We get them again and hopefully we can get the win this time."



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