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May 16, 2013

Pop Warner Football coming to Valdosta

VALDOSTA — 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 titletowntitansfootball@gmail.com.

To learn more about Pop Warner Football, visit www.popwarner.com.

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