In annual tradition, Hoosick Falls hosts youth football players

Hoosick Falls high school players work with youth football players at Wednesday's practice.
ADAM AUCOIN BENNINGTON BANNER
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HOOSICK, N.Y. — While the Hoosick Falls football team is focused on preparing for the start of the 2018 season, the team took some time to help mold the next generation of Panthers at practice Wednesday night.

As they've done for more than 20 years, the team hosted players from Hoosick Falls Youth Football program to warm-up and work on skills with the high school players.

Each youth player was matched up with a different high school player, who they stayed with throughout the start of practice.

The high school players started by showing the youth players their stretches and warm-up routine, before breaking down into specific drills with the young guys.

The high school players were tasked as a support system to the younger kids and showed them the ropes of technique and the kind of work ethic they show on a daily basis and quick to give pointers.

After the drills, the high school team went into its own practice on one side of Ken Baker Field, while the youth team practiced on the other half.

Having done it for so long, it's become a tradition that everyone involved looks forward to.

For the youth kids, Wednesday will be a day they remember as they grow up in the game.

"It's really neat to build a connection with older guys," said Hoosick Falls coach Ron Jones. "They will remember who they had. If we had our game jerseys on, they would definitely remember and be like 'that was my guy.'"

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With the tradition going on for so long, most of the guys suiting up for the high school team remember being in the same spot as the youth players are now.

"Some of these guys probably remember one or two of the guys that they matched up with," Jones said. "It's a fun thing. It's good for the little guys and good for my guys. We keep doing it because we love it."

When it comes to high school football, it can be tough to find the time to give back to the game. With sports and school and life getting in the way, it's tough to see the impact a person can have on those who look up to them. Traditions like Wednesday's allow that opportunity for the Hoosick Falls players.

"You want to talk about an easy community service project," Jones said. "We can make a little bit of a difference and do something we enjoy. It's a great thing."

Not only does it help out the younger guys, but it allows the high school players to learn in their own right and become leaders.

"I'm making them teach, so if you can teach it, you become a better learner yourself," Jones said. "That's part of the insanity here. They have to speak up and be leaders."

Hoosick Falls begins its 2018 slate September 1 against Whitehall on the road.

For a photo gallery, visit https://mng-nenivt.smugmug.com/SPORTS/Hfyouthfb/.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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