Pop Warner team pushes for big return

The Lower Sussex Indians Pop Warner football team has their game plan in place for the 2019 season. All they need now are some players and cheerleaders to put that plan in motion.

The Indians will be hosting an early registration event at the Lower Sussex Little League’s Pyle Complex on Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in hopes of getting their “family” back together again. Interested individuals should go to the conference room above the snack bar, and bring along with them a copy of their birth certificate and a current physical. Registration forms will be available on-site.

The cost to register prior to June 1 is $100. However, after June 1 it goes up to $125. The registration fee covers the player’s helmet, pads, game uniform, practice jersey, insurance and referee fees for the season.

This season, the organization is also offering a sideline cheer opportunity in which the cheerleaders will participate during home and away games, but there will not be a competition cheer team. The registration fee is the same for cheer as it is for football, and covers uniforms, equipment and insurance.

The organization is also reaching out to local businesses in hopes of generating some sponsorships for the teams. All donations are tax-deductible as they are a 501(c)(3) organization.

For more information, check out their website at www.lowersussexindians.com.


Team still recovering from brief change in leagues


After a brief stint away from Pop Warner, the Lower Sussex Indians returned to the Henlopen Conference last year, and are now hoping to get word out about their transition back to their familiar roots.

Jim and Michelle Gates have been involved with the organization for eight or nine years now, and Michelle really has been the point-person in bringing them back to Pop Warner and the Henlopen Conference in particular. They are hoping that as word spreads that they are back in Pop Warner, more and more people will come back to the organization to help with their registration numbers.

“We struggled with enrollment last year because parents still thought we were playing in the other league,” Jim Gates said. “We just want to get the word out that we are back! We play the same schools as Indian River does: Cape Henlopen, Smyrna, Laurel.”

Pop Warner allows for kids to compete with other kids that are of similar age and size. It is the only youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict age and weight matrix that is designed to reduce the risk and reality of injuries.

The Indians provide teams in four divisions: Tiny-Mite, Mitey-Mite, Junior Pee Wee and Pee Wee.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Pop Warner is actually safer than soccer. Pop Warner football has 12 percent fewer injuries per capita among 5- to 15-year-olds than organized soccer in the same age range.”

The Gateses said Lower Sussex Indians Football and Cheer is about community. It’s about providing a safe environment for young athletes to learn commitment, teamwork, dedication and respect. It’s about teaching them that hard work — both on the field and in the classroom — provides them with opportunities now and in the future.


By Jason Feather

Staff Reporter