Mighty Mite signups sought

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Football, cheer program entering 57th year

The Mighty Mite football and cheer program is entering its 57th year of competition, and organizers are seeking signups, especially at the younger ages.

Stephanie Mahurin, Monett Youth Football and Cheer board president, said games will start the first weekend of September and last through October.

“Jack Fox started this program in 1964,” she said. “It’s for kids going into third through sixth grades and who live within the Monett school district. Homeschooled and private school kids can play, as long as they live in the Monett district.”

Each grade level has its own team, and the program serves about 90-100 children each season for football and 65-80 for cheer.

“The third-grade team is usually the hardest to get signups for because parents are worried about injuries,” Mahurin said. “Football is a rough-and-tumble sport, and for some, all they see is the injuries.”

Mahurin said in recent years, the program has taken steps to lessen injuries and dispel the stereotypes that have surrounded the sport.

“We have four or five coaches for each team, and all of them are USA Football-certified for concussion protocols, teaching heads-up tackling, hydration protocols, blocking protocols and how to fit equipment properly,” Mahurin said. “That training has led to a decrease in our injures in recent years. Like, if a kid makes a head-down helmet tackle, our coaches will stop practice and explain how to tackle the proper way.

“Our coaches also took a 4-hour child abuse module last year, so our coaches don’t yell at and berate the kids. We foster a positive atmosphere, and the parents and coaches all have to sign a code of conduct before the season starts, and those rules are enforced.”

Monett’s teams compete in the Southwest Conference’s South Division. Other teams in the conference include: McDonald County, Webb City, Seneca, Joplin, Neosho, Mt. Vernon, Carthage, Carl Junction, East Newton, Lamar and Nevada. Cassville participates in another league.

The cost for football or cheer for the whole season is $70, with a $10 discount per extra child signed up.

“Football players also get to keep their jerseys,” Mahurin said. “That’s something we started last year. And, cheer participants get to keep their warm-up jackets, and they get new ones every year.”

Signup fees pay for things like equipment, officials and concessions, which are run by the Monett Cubs Booster Club.

“Games are every Saturday and last through the first of October, then we have a two-week break before having our Super Bowl, and everything wraps up around Halloween,” Mahurin said. “The Super Bowl is fun because we play teams on the other side of the conference we don’t normally see.”

Signups are open at www.monttyouthfootball.com, and football players can participate in passing camps on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:10 p.m. at Burl Fowler Stadium.

The week-long Might Mite Camp is set for July 19-23, from 5:30-7 p.m. each night, also at Burl Fowler Stadium. Due to the turf being replaced, the camp’s location may change.

Mighty Mite representatives will also be available on camp nights with devices to help people sign up if they are not able to on their own.

Those interested in the cheer program can also sign up at the camp. Dates for a cheer camp with the high school cheer team have yet to be determined.

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