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Local sports: Youth football stock Wildcats
As the Oak Harbor Wildcats enjoy an outstanding football season, credit deservedly goes out to the players and coach Dave Ward and his staff. Their accomplishments, despite the recent stadium distractions, demonstrate what a well-coached and motivated team can achieve.
But while we shine the light on their season, take a moment to thank an indirect contributor to their success. Until a few years ago, backyard football was about as close any of our younger folks came to playing this sport. John Dumas and a wide supporting cast changed all that. Instead of our youth having to wait until high school to play organized football, they have the opportunity to develop their skills while learning valuable teamwork at a much earlier age.
When I played sports, football was not on the list until my freshman year in high school. It definitely showed, too. Leadership, self-discipline and the ability to focus on a common goal are just a few of the character strengths these kids learn while having fun. The Oak Harbor Youth Football League is a model organization because John Dumas, his volunteer coaches, officials, cheerleaders, and parents have opted to come together as a team to support the teams.
When these kids get the opportunity to try out for the Wildcats, they do so with the added preparation provided by our youth football league. If you look at the Wildcats today, you'll find some of the first participants who learned their initial skills from Pee Wee through Midget, Junior and Senior divisions. No doubt that Dave and his outstanding staff have developed Oak Harbor into a well-deserved football power. But the next time you cheer them on, clap a little longer for an organization that has your future generation of football stars ready to take the field.