Youth Football Season Opens | VideoJoey Whelan | 9/12/2010
The Saints are playing the Packers and the fans are anxious for the decisive snap.
Forget about a potential NFC Championship matchup though, this is opening weekend in the Bismarck Midget Football League and participation is higher than ever.
Dave Sandy, "this year really caught us by surprise. Traditionally we have about 20 to 25 kids extra sign up, we can take 264, so we get about 290 signing up. Then you`ll get a few who drop out and decide to play a different sport. When the season starts you`ll get a few more who drop out. This year we had about 340 kids sign up."
A growing number that has administrators contemplating expanding the 12-team league.
With so many players hitting the gridiron, the reasons for playing are almost as numerous as the players themselves.
Derek Wax, "my dad played football, then I wanted to and I love it."
Stephan Mallery, "I started with flag football and it just got a little too on the lazy side, I wanted to get in some roughing."
Joey Whelan, "the field may not be regulation size, just 80 yards long, and the ball - not as big as most are used to. But the love and dedication these youngsters show for the game rivals that of even the professionals."
Derek Wax, "for the last two weeks we`ve been practicing Monday through Friday and then after this we`re practicing Monday and Thursday."
Dave Sandy, "I got down here at 8 o`clock and there was already a Bengals kid down here. He was on the other team but I was like holly moly."
And these kids come ready to play. After a crash course in beginners football, they`re ready to take the field.
Dave Sandy, "we just focus the first couple weeks on be comfortable in your pads, be comfortable with making contact and then you see as we get three to four weeks into the season, you see these kids start to come out of their shell a little bit."
So you better bring your A game if you want to play with these kids.
As for the Packers and Saints, they finished with a hard earned tie