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Ready for some football?

Washington County Junior Football League begins season

Washington County Junior Football League begins season

September 06, 2005|By TAMELA BAKER

HALFWAY

tammyb@herald-mail.com

They say Labor Day marks the end of summer, but nothing says fall like football.

So it's fitting that Labor Day and the season opener for the Washington County Junior Football League coincide.

Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway was the place to be Monday morning as young players and cheerleaders assembled for the first day of play. All of the teams, even the ones that weren't on Monday's game schedule, lined up in their uniforms ? flanked by cheerleaders in theirs ? while parents, grandparents and other fans applauded and younger siblings played on the park's swings and slides.

It also was a day for renewing acquaintances.

"I haven't seen you since last year," called one mother to another.

One woman sported a T-shirt with the words "Cheerleading Mom," leaving little doubt why she was there.

Soon, the players were ushered off the field (except for the teams playing in the first of several games Monday, who warmed up on opposite ends) while the combined group of cheerleaders, some so small their uniforms seemed a little baggy, performed the official first cheer and a routine to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell crooning "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

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Never mind that the music was recorded years before they ? and some of their parents ? were born.

Members of the Hagerstown Boys & Girls Clubs followed with a hip-hop routine, and then it was time for football.

As the Bears and Packers took the field, Terry Gossard, 13, sat at a picnic table waiting for his turn to play. A member of the Steelers, one of Hagerstown's teams, Terry was beginning his last season in the league, playing tight end. Last year, the Steelers went to the playoffs, but lost in the second game. This year, he predicted the team would do well again.

Asked what he had learned while playing football in the league, Terry had a practical answer: "Don't eat before games and practices."

Even as he was speaking, two of his teammates sat down at the table having just visited the concession stand; one with chicken, the other with fries.

Ricky Hashmall, 13, was about to start his first year playing defensive end with the Williamsport Vikings, last year's county champions. Ricky said he was excited, but not nervous.

He also was boldly optimistic.

"I think we're gonna defend our title," he said.

"We like it to be fun for the kids, but it's also a learning experience," Boonsboro Titans coach Tom Samples said. There are 43 Titans this year, fifth- through eighth-graders, and all get to play, he said. They started practicing five days a week beginning Aug. 1, he said. Practices were reduced to three days when school started, and now that the season is under way, will be limited to two practices in addition to a weekly game.

Shortly after the first game began, a group of Hagerstown Dolphins cheerleaders ? two sets of sisters ? huddled. The youngest, 5-year-old MacKenzie Wintermoyer, stood with her parents, Ty Wintermoyer and Dawn Scibilia, and her best pal, 6-year-old Racheal Horman. It is the first year of cheerleading for both MacKenzie and Racheal. MacKenzie's older sister, Macy Scibilia, 12, cheers, too.

MacKenzie said her favorite part was "when we did all them dances."

"She's trying to learn all the moves," said her mother, Dawn Scibilia.

Pointing at MacKenzie, Racheal said her favorite part was "dancing with her."

Racheal's older brother Patrick, 10, plays on the team. Her older sisters Melissa, 9, and Jennifer, 12, also are cheerleaders. Their father is a coach.

"Everybody but Mom" is involved, said their mother, Beatrix Horman.

But the Dolphins don't play their first game until tonight. So these families had another plan.

"Now we're all going for ice cream," Dawn Scibilia said.

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