The Sierra Youth Football League allowed teams to start practice last week. Teams were allowed to begin non-mandatory conditioning workouts last month.
The league offers five divisions, for kids ages 5 to 14. Participants are divided into teams based loosely on their geographic location. The aim is to keep young athletes together from the same region as they grow up.
There are 10 areas, the 10 Washoe County High Schools: Damonte Ranch, Galena, Hug McQueen, North Valleys, Reed, Reno, Spanish Springs, Sparks and Wooster. Some outlying areas, including Susanville and Fallon also have teams.
Sparks High assistant football coach Greg Shugar is the area coordinator for the Sparks area. Shugar said the Sparks area will only field one team (collegiate division), which he admitted isn't optimal but he's excited to see the season get underway.
"We're happy for the kids participating," he said. "Any kid we can help pass on the great game of football is important. The game has taught many of us a lot and that's the reason why we all help, to pass it along."
The Sparks High football program has hosted a youth camp to get more future SHS athletes playing no the gridiron.
"It's something (SHS head football coach) Rob (Kittrell) and I looked at," Shugar said. "We have to get more kids in our area playing football. That's our main focus and the biggest reason I got involved again with SYFL. I've seen what the Fernleys and Fallons have done with their youth programs and we at Sparks have to keep up."
The annual SYFL experience is scheduled for Aug. 10 in Carson City. The event features a day of scrimmages. Season-opening games are slated for Aug. 24. Teams play their regular season finales on Oct. 19 and the playoff season follows.
For more SYFL information, check out the league's web site at: gosyfl.com