The Boys Of Fall

Seniors Coach Youth Flag Football

Submitted Photo
Team Spirit: The Patriots coached by Colton Munn (21) and Kaden Conrad (21) pose for a silly picture. “I would highly recommend coaching flag football,” Conrad said. “Because it gives us an opportunity to teach kids the game of football while also letting them have fun doing it.” The team finished the season with a record of 3-5.

This fall, a few high schoolers gave back to the community in the best way they knew how. They helped the Gretna Youth Sports Foundation (GYSF) as coaches for third grade flag football. The coaches consisted of GHS seniors both on the varsity football team and off.
“I think the high schoolers give a great example to the younger kids,” GYSF treasurer/coordinator Nikki Howell said. “It shows them what they can become if they strive to continue to learn and practice their fundamentals, and sets an example of teamwork. It also gives them a mentor.”
The high schoolers gave up countless hours to help their team. Beginning preseason with hour-long practices twice a week. Then as the season started practices were held every Saturday morning and games every Sunday.
“I wanted to coach kids in flag football because I like helping young football players develop their fundamental skills to carry the sport into their future,” senior Kaden Conrad said. “My favorite part about coaching was watching the kids get better every day and watching them compete in games.”
Most youth sports organizations use parents or paid coaches to manage their teams. But GYSF wanted to find a way that would mean more to the community.
“Our board was deciding whether to use a company at first,” Howell said. “But the first thought that came to our mind was to use the players. We did it because it supports the community, and that’s really what our organization is all about.”
For the young coaches, there were some things that they had to learn themselves before they could start coaching their players.
“I learned from the kids that not all of them are going to be as easy to coach as some may think,” Conrad said. “They require good discipline and they need to be taught to focus and stay on track for our season goals.”
Conrad, senior Luke Figi and senior Colton Munn were the only three coaches who were not on the varsity football team while coaching. Seniors Creed Leathers, Tanner Hall and Colby Scholl were all on the team. This advantage gave them a leg up when they started coaching.
“We used a lot of the same game plans and same sayings that we hear every day in football practice,” Leathers said. “And it transferred over to our younger kid’s practices. We were able to do things a lot more efficiently and not have to waste time trying to come up with drills. It required a lot less effort on our end.”
Whether the coaches played football or not they all recognized the importance of coaching beyond the game. Coaching more than the fundamentals of football.

Connor Bulgrin

“We taught them how to be disciplined, more than anything,” Leathers said. “And just the basics of football. We taught them the importance of listening and being disciplined when they play football and also in their lives. And the respect they should have towards adults.”
Over the past several years the GYSF flag football program has focused on more than just the fundamentals of football. It cares about the entire community, and this has benefited the players, coaches and the organization.
“We have enjoyed all the years of high schoolers,” Howell said. “That’s why we expanded from just letting them ref to actually coaching a team, and that has been amazing. We have had lots of positive feedback from the parents and players about it. Me personally, I have enjoyed watching the boys grow up from playing Pee Wee football to the young men they are now.”