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Young Bucs Get Taste of High School Football

RBR Varsity players prepare their young protégées for the high school gridiron during summer practice to strengthen division football program.

At this age the young ones look up to the high school players like NFL stars,” says American Youth Football (AYF) Red Bank Buccaneer’s President Scott Navitsky. 

The young ones, he referred to, are the AYF players ages 7 to 13 from the Red Bank Regional (RBR) sending towns of Little Silver, Red Bank and Shrewsbury. They proudly donned their maroon football jerseys (nearly identical to their big brother Buccaneers) while, for the second year, the AYF allowed the RBR football players to lead the day’s practice. 

The players instructed the students in drills used at the high school and offered rationale for each move. Camouflaging helmets attached to little bodies nodded continually in understanding and admiration. While, the high school students were in charge for just one day, they have been a presence all year at the AYF practices as volunteers to the coaches.

RBR Athletic Director Del Dal Pra, who has his three sons in the AYF program, comments, “Most of our boys came up through the AYF and this evening marks the beginning of relationship-building between the future Buccaneers and their upper classman."

The day also reflects a deeper relationship that has been forged over the past few years between the high school football program and their natural feeder AYF program. The AYF, the successor to the Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading program, organizes football and cheerleading for the three sending towns to RBR.

President Navisky believes he already sees the benefit to that relationship noting that this year’s freshman team at 40 is the largest in the school’s history. RBR’s football program has also been improving steadily over the past few years.  This year’s freshman team also went to the AYF conference championship last year and enters RBR looking forward to a bright future. President Navisky also has three sons in the program with his oldest transitioning to the RBR Freshman team in September.

Navitsky adds, “We firmly believe, as does RBR’s football coach and athletic director, that a successful football program starts at this level (with the AYF players.)”

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Peter W Bennett August 21, 2012 at 12:42 AM
This exactly what we need to get back on track. In my freshman year, 1974, had two full squads which would play two separate teams on Saturday! Over 100 players tried out for the freshman squad. Pop Warner football us prepared us for Buccaneer Football which was the varsity was undefeated our freshman and sophmore years. (CJ Group II State Champions 1975 Junior year record was 8-3 and my senior year, we were 10-1) Peter Bennett Class of 1978
Fred M August 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I always wondered what happened to the Bucs Football program . Up until about 1982 Red Bank football had dominate teams..The stands were always full. Crowd was standing room only..Must of been 200 people in the Band...I though maybe it was that the athletes were tougher those days..We used to see football, basketball, baseball pick up games in the neighborhoods all the time...I remember in these Football pickup games , there would be half the bucs football team playing with half the kids that didn't play on the team in a pick up game...We still played tackle without any equipment.. Today, this doesn't happen anymore.. I always thought kids back then were just tougher...This doesn't seem to be the case...RFH still has competitive football program..I chatted with a coach one day few years back and he tells me that in the 70's a coach would grab a player by the collar and yell at him trying to get a point a cross..Coaches can't do that anymore or lawsuit etc..Lot of RBR Alumni would love to see the Glory Days return..

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