Photos by Michael Ramirez
Friday nights will be football nights for Gonzales youth that participate in the Shield Bearers Flag Football League. Games start at 5:30. Below, Breyannalee Tello of the Vikings heads toward a Packer ball carrier during Friday flag football contest in Gonzales.

GONZALES — Youth football kicked off Friday at Dick Force Stadium in Gonzales with the start of the Shield Bearers Flag Football League.

The new flag football league for boys and girls ages 5 to 17 is part of NFL FLAG and governed by USA Football. NFL FLAG allows the participants in local leagues to play in official NFL team jerseys.

The Shield Bearers are a newly formed booster club for the Gonzales High football program.

The Shield Bearers will be supporting the Gonzales football program by helping buy equipment, feed athletes, send them to camps, and provide community outreach opportunities to help kids become better members of the community.

The non-profit group wants to raise funds to buy needed safety equipment and technological upgrades. Safety upgrades include helmet and shoulder pad repairs, Iron Neck Pro Concussion Prevention System Guardian Cap Head Protection. Technology needs include video cameras, SkyCoach video system, and headset systems.

Gonzales assistant football coach Eddie Ramirez is the chairperson for the Shield Bearers Flag Football League and is pleased that the program will help introduce Gonzales youth to the game of football.

“One of the problem is that we haven’t had a youth football program in Gonzales for a few years and we have kids that go out for football at the high school with no football playing experience,” said Ramirez. “We have a chance with the flag football program to teach the kids some real basics of the game and also teach the players how to be part of a team. The young kids are learning the basic football vernacular from offense to defense. At this point we have 85 kids with six teams in the mini division and four junior teams. We are all booked up and have a waiting list.”

Teams in the mini’s are the Falcons, the Ravens, the Bengals, the Bears, the Vikings and the Packers. The junior team are the Jaguars, the Texans, the Titans and the Saints.

Practices are Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for everyone. Games will take place every Friday at Dick Force Stadium starting at 5:30.

In last week’s games, the Vikings defeated the Packers, 26-18; the Bears beat the Bengals, 42-34; and the Ravens beat the Falcons, 40-36. In the junior games, the Titans shutout the Saints, 42-0, and the Texans defeated the Jaguars, 44-18.

On Friday, in the mini division games, scheduled are: Vikings v. Bears; Packers v. Ravens; and Falcons v. Bengals.

In the junior division, games include: Texans v. Titans; and the Saints v. Jaguars.

For more information on the Shield Bearers or the flag football program, visit the website

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