MILLEDGEVILLE — Approaching their second year in existence, the Baldwin Bulldogs Youth Football Association looks to open up its season Saturday, Aug. 24 at home against the North DeKalb Chargers.
Similar to its inaugural season, the association hopes to continue changing the culture of youth football in Baldwin County this year.
“We have study hall for the kids. We’re trying to put more emphasis on that because I know last year we kind of ran out of time,” Rance Williams, director, said. “We’re doing some more community projects. That way we can be more community-oriented.”
For Williams, the travel football experience is about rallying the community and building up the “whole” kid, not just football players.
“I feel like if you do something in the community, the community will give you the support you’re looking for. Those folks are looking for support,” he said. “It helps build the character of the kids and build the whole person. We’re trying to get their mindset away from the evil things of the world that are out there now — we’re trying to build a better person, not just a better football player.”
Many of the young players in the association this fall are returners; however, Williams said there is a large group of newcomers who have not experienced what travel football has to offer.
“Looking to have a lot of fun, as well as the kids being able to learn and pick up where they left off. We have a large number; we have some that are not returning, but a large number returning from last year,” he said. “But we also have a lot of new guys. Still giving the kids the opportunity to play kids they’ve never played before and go places they’ve never been before.”
Adding to the experience, the league announced recently that Born to Compete will now be involved to help rank the players on both a state and national level, as well as film many of the contests throughout the season.
“Basically, were just trying to build off of last year,” Williams said. “We’re not looking to be a few seasons, then done. We want to build off of each year.”
Head coach of the 11- and 12-year-old team, Daryl Ingram, said he believes the players are hungrier than ever to get out and compete this season, especially having seen what it takes to do well last year.
“Basically, it’s the same guys that are returning from last year, and they are [hungrier] than last year,” Ingram said. “They’re more focused and more determined because they want the team championship this year. I see more leadership.”
With five home games and five away, the Bulldogs look to get their season kicked off at home against the Chargers of North DeKalb, with the first contest of the day beginning at 9 a.m.
“Our first game is North DeKalb, and they’re a new team in the league, but they’ve been in the league before. They’re a big team, and when I say big I mean large in numbers,” Williams said. “We have a few other new teams in the league, so we just want to show them what it takes to play travel football.”
For more information about the Baldwin Bulldogs Youth Football Association schedule or how to get involved call Williams at 478-456-3915, Ingram at 478-457-4291 or Jessie Washington at 478-453-3236.