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Dallas Youth Football Taking New Course

Fifth-eighth graders now will play in a Pop Warner league based in Albany.

DALLAS -- Dallas officials have elected to join the MidValley Pop Warner League (MVPW) for the 2011 youth football season.

Starting with the 2011 season, fifth through eighth graders in Dallas are eligible to play football in the MVPW, which is based in Albany. First through fourth graders will continue to play through Dallas Kids, Inc., as they have the past few years.

Seventh- and eighth-graders in Dallas played football through LaCreole Middle School the past few years. Expected budget cuts in Dallas and elsewhere mean that no longer is a viable option.

The change was made after two meetings that included Dallas football coach Bill Masei, Dallas athletic director Tim Larson, Quarterback Club president George Naughton, Dallas sports coordinator Dave Brautigam and Kids, Inc. representatives.

"With a lot of the budget cuts that are going on around the state of Oregon, your options are pretty limited as to what you can do with your football program," Dallas sports coordinator Dave Brautigam said. "This is one of the few options we have, and it's the best option we have.

"From my perspective, joining Pop Warner puts everything under one umbrella. You have an expectation and a consistency of what's expected from players, teams and coaches."

Pop Warner football is for ages 8-14 with varying weight limits for different levels. Registration will be from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. May 24-26 at LaCreole Middle School.

The cost of registration is $220 per player, an increase of about $90 per player. Scholarships and payment plans are available. Those who qualify for free or reduced lunch plans also might receive a discount.

"Part of the issue is the uncertainty related to school district funding," Naughton said. "One proposal on the table right now is to eliminate middle school athletics. Everyone wants to make sure the kids will have a chance to play football this fall. We decided to go with Pop Warner where we know they will have that opportunity. It's best for the kids.

"Another benefit is that the kids in the younger ages now will be playing the same people they'll be playing all through high school. In the past, our younger kids played mostly against kids who went into 4A schools. This will be something that will benefit the entire football program."

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