Cooperstown Youth Football will kick off its season with a special road game.
According to CYF President Kim Burkhart, about 85 club players, coaches and family members will attend Colgate University’s season-opening football game against Villanova, which starts at noon Saturday, Aug. 24 in Hamilton.
“We did this for the first time last year, and the kids and the parents all loved it,” Burkhart said. “So when they called and invited us this year, we were all on board.”
The Cooperstown players, who can start playing youth football in third grade and continue in the league through eighth grade, will get to go to the team’s “fun zone” before the game, meet “Raider,” the school mascot, go in bounce houses and play games. Before the kickoff, the youth players will line up along the tunnel from the locker room to cheer for the college players as they take the field. Afterward, the youth players will be invited onto the field again to meet the Colgate players.
“We didn’t just go to the game last year,” Burkhart said. “The kids had a whole football experience. They got to meet players who were role models for them, players who play their sport at the college level. They got to speak with the players. And the Colgate players were so nice. They actually asked our kids questions, about what positions they play and about their lives in general.”
Burkhart said the Red Raider players weren’t the only ones being kind to the club.
“Colgate was so great and so accommodating to us last year,” she said. “They donated tickets for us to auction off for our fundraiser, and they gave us hockey tickets to give to the kids ... They are very generous.”
Colgate plays Division I football in the Football Championship Series subdivision, and is in the Patriot League.
Burkhart, who is a third-grade teacher at Milford Central School, said she first got involved with the college sports programs when she taught at Sherburne-Earlville Central School. Colgate is about 10 miles north of Sherburne, and the Red Raider sports programs were sometimes “adopted” by the S-E school kids, she said.
“So my family started going to a lot of basketball and football and hockey games at Colgate, too,” she said. “They have great sports teams.
“And the Colgate season opener this year is against Villanova, which is really exciting,” she said.
The CYB group has tickets in a special section near the Colgate band and cheerleaders. Burkhart said tickets are still available in the group section, as long as people get in contact with her before Saturday.
Email Burkhart at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Greg Klein, staff writer, can be contacted at email@example.com or 607-441-7211.