Prep Sports

River Kings growing indoor football with youth league

HS journalism: Through Partnership with Boys and Girls Club, 5 teams are learning the game

Players gather around Myke Darrough (second from right), director of partnerships and promotions for the Cedar Rapids River Kings, and Torryon White (center, gray sweatshirt) as they shout “team” in a huddle during practice at the Polk Alternative Education Center in northeast Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Players gather around Myke Darrough (second from right), director of partnerships and promotions for the Cedar Rapids River Kings, and Torryon White (center, gray sweatshirt) as they shout “team” in a huddle during practice at the Polk Alternative Education Center in northeast Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — There is much more to football than just catching and tackling.

According to Myke Darrough, the Cedar Rapids River Kings’ partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs for the first Youth Indoor Football League aims to teach just that.

“There’s more to the game than talent,” said Darrough, director of community partnerships and entertainment for River Kings. “In football, what a lot fail to realize is that it’s 90 percent business, 10 percent talent.”

Business, according to Darrough, means knowing how to carry oneself outside the arena as a professional. Regarding professionalism, league teams even have a dress code for every game.

As far as the remaining 10 percent is concerned, the kids have been working on fundamental drills and technique, according to Deronte Strong, a fourth-grader attending the camp.

“We’ve been doing three-step slant drills,” Strong said. “We’ve been stretching.”

There are 60 players spread across five teams in the league — the Little Kings, Southside Saints, Polk Panthers, Olivet Oilers and Taylor Texans. Each team also has worked on learning the key differences between indoor football and outdoor football.

“It’s eight men on the field,” Darrough said of the indoor version. “You have less blockers, but you have more explosive scoring.”

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Aside from teaching kids about how the game works and how to carry themselves, the River Kings organization is hoping to have a positive impact on the community.

“We want to be able to provide the entertainment for the community to come out and enjoy and to make this family-friendly,” Darrough said.

For Torryon White, a coach in the league, another primary goal of the youth program is to get more kids playing the game.

“Hopefully (the league) will bring out more parents to bring their kids to have fun,” White said.

This youth league also is forging connections between the players. Many of the participants have the goal of making new friends at the camp, too.

“The partnership that has been created with the Cedar Rapids River Kings and the Boys and Girls club is exciting,” Lori Ampey, director of programming and outreach for the BGC, wrote in an email. “This program will teach life skills not just football. Most importantly this will bring hope and opportunity for their futures.”

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