Junior Tackle: Flag football teams begin practices

Rochelle Flag Football also opened the 2022 season on Monday, with players ranging from preschool through fourth grade strapping on their flags and taking the field at Rochelle Middle School for their first day of practice. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Over 170 kids signed up to participate this season

ROCHELLE — Rochelle Flag Football also opened the 2022 season on Monday, with players ranging from preschool through fourth grade strapping on their flags and taking the field at Rochelle Middle School for their first day of practice. Rochelle Flag Football will hold its first games of the season on Tuesday, Aug. 9 and Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Helms Park field.

Over 170 athletes have signed up for flag football this season. Rochelle Flag Football features three age-group divisions including the Arena League (preschoolers and kindergarteners), Jungle League (first and second-graders) and NFL League (third and fourth-graders). Practices will run Monday through Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Rochelle Middle School fields.

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids,” RJT Flag Co-Coordinator Johnny Gonzales said. “We have about 80 kids at the third and fourth-grade level and we’re excited to have them all out here. We want the younger kids to have fun and enjoy coming to practice. They learn how to throw the ball, run the ball and play defense. They learn the basic skills that they can carry over to the Junior Tackle level and our ultimate goal is for each of these kids to come back next year.”

The Rochelle Flag Football schedule will feature an eight-week season for each of the three divisions, with the regular season concluding on Wednesday, Sept. 28. The NFL League for third and fourth-graders will include a postseason tournament. Rochelle Flag Football allows young athletes to learn the foundational skills that prepare them for a future in tackle football.

“We have over 100 kids out at the high-school level right now,” Gonzales said. “It’s exciting to see how our numbers at the RJT level translate to the high-school level. Our program includes everybody and it’s a great opportunity for our younger kids to come out and just be kids.”

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