Pop Warner Football is coming to Valdosta.
The nationally known organization that puts an emphasis on education and developing American youth has been established in the Valdosta area and will begin playing football this August.
James Gatlin, a former Valdosta High football player, started the Valdosta Pop Warner chapter, largely because of its focus on school and athletics.
“The academic requirements — not all our youth leagues in the area require kids to be academically eligible, while Pop Warner requires it,” Gatlin said. “So that is the biggest thing. The second reason, you get to play the best teams in the nation.”
Gatlin’s Valdosta chapter of Pop Warner will feature five teams this season, competing in five different age and weight classes. The teams will be called the Titletown Titans and will compete in the South Georgia Pop Warner League, featuring teams from Moultrie, Albany and Leesburg.
The TitleTown Titans will play their home games at Valwood’s home stadium.
Pop Warner was established in 1929 and contines to grow and serve youth through football, cheerleading and dance, while requiring the participants to maintain academic standards — at least a 2.0 grade point average — in order to compete.
Currently, there are over 425,000 youth, ranging from ages 5 to 16, that compete in Pop Warner organizations throughout the world.
The Pop Warner Football championships are held each year in December and air nationally on ESPN.
Teams qualify for the national championships after winning their league and advancing through the regional tournaments each year.
While participants must maintain academic progress to remain eligible, they must also maintain weight. Not only are Pop Warner’s football divisions determined by age, but also weight.
In the Tiny Mites division, participants may be 5 to 7 years old but must weigh less than 75 pounds. In the Mighty Mites, participants range from 7 to 9 years old and may weigh anywhere from 45 to 90 pounds. In the Junior Pee Wee division, participants are ages 8 to 10 years old and may weigh 60 to 105 pounds. Eleven-year-olds may also play in the division, but must weigh under 85 pounds.
In the Pee Wee division, participant ages range from 9 to 11 years old and must weigh anywhere from 75 to 120 pounds. Twelve-year-olds may play in the division, but must weigh less than 100 pounds.
In the Junior Midgets division, the oldest division for a Titletown Titan team, participants range from 10 to 12 years old and must weigh anywhere from 90 to 145 pounds.
Participants from each age group will be weighed prior to every game.
The Titletown Titans teams will officially begin their seasons Aug. 24, and will play the South Georgia Hawks (Moultrie), Lee County Warriors (Leesburgh), South Georgia Bulldogs (Albany) and the Georgia Sting (Albany) this season.
Currently, all five teams have head coaches in position, but Gatlin said assistant coaches are still needed. Gatlin also said approximately 18 kids are registered for the junior pee wee team, but spots are still available for all five teams.
Gatlin will serve as a head coach, along with former Valdosta Wildcats Dr. Ben Hogan, Randell Reddish, Kendric Berry and David Brinson.
The Titans will have several mini camps and will participant in 7-on-7 passing tournaments this summer.
Interested persons may contact Gatlin, for registration information, dates and all other information, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Pop Warner Football, visit www.popwarner.com.
Pop Warner Football is coming to Valdosta.
- Local Sports
Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon
The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.
South Georgia special for high school coaches
Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.
Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach
Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.
Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth
More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.
Braves trio all business at inductions
The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success
Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.
During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.
Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate
Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.
Hall of Braves
The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
"Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
"The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."
Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches
Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.
Area teams hoping to get over the hump
Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon