Plum youth football players gear up for playoffs
The Plum Midget Football Association has had a successful season all around.
At the 11-12-year-old level, the Little Mustangs, coached by Ryan Miller, are 6-1 with a playoff berth locked up.
The 9-10 age group, the Stallions, coached by Jimmy Reese, have a 5-2 record and also have clinched a playoff berth. The 7-8 team, the Colts, coached by Luke Linhart, is 3-4 coming off of a championship season. And the flag football team, the Ponies, coached by Joel Kline, is 3-2-2.
“The goal right now, especially for the Little Mustangs and Stallions, is to win the championship,” program president Dale Mitchell said. “The kids are improving every week; they are just real fun to watch.”
“As a developmental league, we want the kids to continue to grow and learn the game,” vice president Sean Hartley said. “This is the first time in nine years that the Stallions have made the playoffs, so we are excited about that.”
The kids have continued to impress the heads of the league by working together and continuing to improve every week.
“It is amazing at that age how well these kids work as a team,” Mitchell said. “We have teams that are not particularly the biggest kids, but they play hard, are technically sound and focus on the fundamentals. It is nice to see football played like that.”
“It is fun to watch the kids enjoy the moment and play as hard as they do as a team,” Hartley said. “They give it 100 percent every week and continue to improve and develop. That is what we mainly want to focus on as an organization.”
With society constantly critiquing the dangers of football, Plum has put a major focus on technique and playing the game the right way. They want to continuously preach the fundamentals and staying consistent throughout the game.
“One aspect of the game that has really impressed me is the teamwork and communication between the players,” Mitchell said. “One guy that we are real excited about is running back Eric Moore on the Little Mustangs. We are excited at the progress him and his teammates have made throughout the years, and we look forward to him moving on to higher levels of football.”
Said Hartley: “The team effort is there week in and week out. We have enjoyed coaching and watching these kids grow since the flag football level. They are all friends, so the chemistry continues to grow and we are confident that it will translate as they move up leagues.”
With just one game left in the regular season and two teams locking up playoff berths, the PMFA is looking forward to championship-caliber football.
“Right now, we are focused on next week and finishing out the regular season strong,” Mitchell said. “But come playoff time, we have the Big East trophy on our mind. That is the goal.”
Plum will finish off the regular season with games Saturday, at home against McKeesport. The playoffs for the Little Mustangs and the Stallions will begin Oct. 21.
“The goal here is to continue to improve and compete, but we also want to win,” Hartley said. “We are excited for the playoffs, but win or lose, we are proud of all of the accomplishments these kids have achieved at every level.”
Cody Scott is a freelance writer.