New and returning football players took to the practice fields this week to get ready for the 2019 season. Five local programs have football teams for ages 6 to 14 and cheer programs that also compete in regional and national events.
The Tracy Raiders begin their 46th year with practice this week at Ritter Family Park, the former Tracy Ball Park. The Raiders have 145 kids — 110 football players and 35 cheerleaders — and they’re still taking sign-ups. The Raiders had two Delta Youth Football League champions last year in the novice and varsity teams. They will open their season on the road Aug. 24 against the Stockton Titans, and they will host the South Stockton Vikings on Aug. 31 for their first home game.
The Tracy Rampage began its seventh year with practices Monday at Poet-Christian School. Under a new athletic director, Garren Harris, the Rampage has 115 kids signed up: 94 football players and 21 cheerleaders. The junior varsity players who won the NorCal Youth Football and Cheer North Conference title are back on the varsity team this year. The Rampage will open the season at home against the Modesto Raiders on Aug. 24 at Kimball High.
The Tracy Buccaneers, now in their 16th year, started practice this week at Ritter Family Park. The Buccs also play in the NorCal league. So far they have 145 kids, 115 football players and 30 cheerleaders, with spots still open at the varsity level (ages 12-14). The Buccs will host the NCYFC Round Robin on Aug. 17 at Kimball High and will open their season on the road Aug. 24 against Lodi Colts.
The Tracy Volunteers began their practices Monday at Monte Vista Middle School. The program is in its second year as the Volunteers, and its 17th year overall in the DYFL, having played as the Tracy Cougars before the name change. They will begin their season with a home game against the Northwest Trojans on Aug. 24 at Tracy High. There is still time to sign up for both football and cheer.
The Mountain House Junior Mustangs will begin their eighth year next week. This year, the local program has moved to American Youth Football, a nationwide program, and will be in the AYF NorCal Football and Cheer league. They will start practice Monday at Questa School. The Junior Mustangs also plan to host a local “Turkey Bowl” on Thanksgiving weekend, pending confirmation from Tracy’s football teams.