CLEWISTON — After a summer consisting of intense and strenuous training camps, the Clewiston Cougars Pop Warner Football team are prepared for yet another season.
Opponents will be from Ft. Myers, Riverdale, Sarasota, Cape Coral and even local towns such as LaBelle; all a part of the Peace River Pop Warner league assigned and based on the region’s location.
Clewiston Cougars is a branch of the national Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS), a non-profit organization that provides youth football, cheer and dance programs for participants in 42 states and several countries around the world.
Consisting of approximately 325,000 young people ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, it is the largest youth football, cheer and dance program in the world that trains young individuals to compete successfully.
Both the players and coaches have spent numerous hours equipping themselves to produce effective results on the field for the upcoming season.
Similar to Clewiston High School’s own varsity football team, the Cougars also train in the offseason; leaving no room for slack during the summertime.
The coaches put the team through a series of intensifying drills during training, along with a few scrimmages to practice strategies in a real life game-setting.
“Whenever they do good on and off the field we reward them. It’s a great feeling [when] everybody’s on board … everybody’s doing a great job in this organization. We’re just going to continue to do a great job and show the community what it’s all about,” stated Eddie Warren Jr., President of Clewiston’s Pop Warner Youth Football Program. Warren has been working in the Clewiston Cougars Football program for the past 12 years and this will be his first year as President.
Alongside Warren is head coach Johnathan Coleman, who has been coaching the young players the game of football for 7 years. “They have taught me how to just be more joyful, to be more of an influence. They have taught me to be more positive in my life instead of negative, because win or lose we just want to have fun,” stated Coleman.
Coach Gerardo Rangel Sr. has also assisted in the Cougar program for 3 years, dedicating his time and effort to watching the young men grow as a team consistently.
“I want them to look at me not only as a coach, but as a friend. I look forward to seeing them graduate and then maybe one day they’ll be out here coaching these other kids too,” he said.
The Pop Warner Organization not only emphasizes the importance of athletics, but also the significance of academic success, fundamental values, skills and knowledge that young people will use throughout their lives; while also building leadership skills.
Quarterback of Clewiston Cougars Pee-Wee division (ages 9-12), Gabriel Rangel also expressed about the upcoming season, “I want to inspire my teammates to play their hardest, by never letting them down and never giving up. My goal this season is to get to the playoffs.” This will be the third year
Rangel has lead his team as quarterback for the Pee-Wee division of Cougars.
Rangel’s teammate Chauncy “Chump” Cobb, running back of Jr. Pee-Wee division also adds, “I want to achieve my goals this season and put in one-hundred percent for my coaches when I come out here.”
The Clewiston Cougars expect to reap excellent results this season as they bring their skills to the field, victory or no victory.
The annual Cougar’s Jamboree will be held this Saturday, Aug. 13 at Cane Field, with the first game beginning at 9:30 a.m. Clewiston Pop Warner board members and coaches encourage the community to come and support alongside the team and cheerleaders.