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OYTF 35th Anniversary/History Article from Inside Oswego Magazine

Inside Oswego will coming out in February and the article was put together by Gary Tickle and Bob Perry.

The link to the article is http://emagazines.hibu.com/OSWEGO

Oswego Youth Tackle Football is District 308’s largest and longest tenured youth sports program. OYTF, as it is commonly referred to, is celebrating 35 years in the 2014 season. OYTF has been a part of the Oswego community for so long, we explore the history and stories from past members of this program.

OHS Varsity Football Coach in late 70’s, Glen Posmer, wanted to create a better high school football program. Little did he know that Oswego parents were getting together to make his vision a reality by creating a youth tackle football program for 7th and 8th graders. Boulder Hill residents Bob Smith and Jim Sissom walked into Bob Tripp’s Insurance office looking for insurance to cover a youth tackle program and get it off ground. Bob Tripp agreed that a youth football program was long overdue and drew up the insurance for 1st year and wanted to be involved. These 3 gentlemen along with Bill Carey and Doc Ervin were some of the few men responsible for the first years of OYTF.

In 1979, OYTF started with 46, 7th and 8th grade football registrants. There were no Orange, Blue, White, or Silver teams when the league started. The original 46 players didn’t have any equipment until Bob Tripp contacted Dick Hayden of Hayden sports and told him about OYTF. Dick arranged for Hayden sports to size up the boys for their equipment.

Tom Yuhas Sr. (1980’s and early 90’s):
In the early 80’s, Tom took over as equipment manager. Tom held that position for 10 years and coached another 5 years. Tom had to take the seats out of the family van and load it with equipment to drive to each game. That was until Harold Oliver gave him a hitch and trailer to pull behind his van. Tom remembers a kickoff where the ball hit the OYTF player and the other team recovered. The boy was really upset and so was his team for the turnover. In practice the following week, Tom reiterated to the boys there are 11 players on the field and asked where the rest of you on this play were. What Tom stressed most to the players he coached is “you get what you earn”. A phrase those boys remember to this day.

OHS Head Coach Brian Cooney (1986-1988): Brian played right guard and defensive end until they were up 26 points. That was when he was able to play fullback and tailback. Most valuable thing that OYTF taught was having kids playing multiple positions. Learning multiple positions made football more fun and peaked his interest in the game. OYTF coaching was part of what made him want to go into teaching/coaching. After OYTF he played OHS (4yrs and won 3 state titles), Aurora University (4yrs), and back to teach and coach at OHS for the last 16 years. He has been the OHS Varsity Head Coach for the last 2 years.

Rusty Hyett (1984-1985): Rusty’s favorite memory was when they beat Joliet Warriors by 1 point for the championship. Rusty also enjoyed playing in the All-Star Game at the end of the season on the Oswego High School Field. After OYTF he played 4 years at OHS, and 3 years in college until he got injured his Senior year.

Brian Goodspeed (1987): Brian’s favorite memory was, “Playing at the Joliet Raiders Field was like playing in and NFL Stadium. I loved running out of those cement tunnels.” Brian has been back in OYTF for the past 6 years coaching the Blue Lightweight team. Brian’s brother Joey also played OYTF, 4yrs at OHS, and 9 years in the NFL.

Keith Gardner (1983-1987):
Keith grew up in Oswego, but moved to Kaneland School District in 1987. Kaneland didn’t have a youth tackle program at that time and it definitely showed. Keith recalled, “My freshmen year in 1988, I already knew the basics of football and had a much better understanding of the game than my teammates as I played 5 years with OYTF.” Keith felt that OYTF instilled teamwork, camaraderie, work ethic and a love for the game that still lasts to this day.

Coach Doc Ervin (1980’s): Past players all remembered and talked highly of Coach Doc Ervin. Doc coached 6 years and was OYTF Commissioner for 3 of those years. “The High school football team wasn’t very good” Doc recalls “The skills, attitude and work ethic these boys learned in OYTF really paid dividends as OHS started seeing improvements in the football program.”
The game that sticks out to him was one against Plainfield. They had Mike Alstott on the team (played for the Tampa Bucs from 1996-2007). It was the last game of the regular season and the teams went back and forth. Doc kept Plainfield off balance the entire game. To seal the game, John Harazin ran 80 yards for a touchdown to put Oswego up by 14 points with less than a minute to go. The following week Morris backed out of their game against Oswego because of the way they beat Plainfield.

Tiffany Albright (Blue Cheerleader 1993-1998):
When Tiffany was a Blue Cheerleader, there was a max of 14 girls on each cheer team then there was a waitlist. Her favorite memories are being in the parades, the Superbowl, cheering at the high school game once a year. After OYTF she did OHS Poms (4yrs), college dance (3yrs), and currently coaching high school poms in Maryland. She still has friendships to this day with OYTF teammates. She went to college with a girl she cheered with for a few years and they were in the same sorority. We still keep in touch.

Kaitlin Boyd (Blue Poms 1996-2001):
Kaitlin was a part of OYTF for 5 years. Her favorite memories were Saturday games at OHS and performing on the OHS football field. She really enjoyed being able to meet other kids her age from different schools around the district. She made a lot of close friends from OYTF. After OYTF, she came back as a Choreographer for two years for the Blue JV poms team. OYTF lead to her love of dance, which gave her courage to try-out for Jr. High pom team (2yrs), High school pom team (4yrs), and a college dance team (2yrs). If it weren’t for her love of teaching, she would probably have pursued some type of career in dance. She has always thought about coming back to OYTF and coaching as well.

Bryce Holm (Orange Football 2008-2009):
Bryce started playing football in 3rd grade, but came to OYTF in 7th grade. Some of his fondest memories are the days he spent playing in OYTF. His favorite plays were of Quarterback Jack Kwiatkowski just “chucking” the ball in the air and Bryce would just run under it, catch it, and take off running. It was on this Orange team where Bryce became friends with his new teammates. Some of those teammates remained his teammate all through high school. Bryce was named 1st Team All-State by Illinois High School Coaches Association and will move on to Illinois State to play football in college.

Charlie Smith (Orange Football 2002-2009):
Charlie played 8 years at OYTF and went on to play OHS (4yrs). Older Brother Jake played 7 and his two younger brothers Max and Henry played for Orange in 2013. Charlie remembers OYTF very well and one play in particular. “A play was called where Bryce was getting the handoff coming to my side and I had to block for him. I blocked my assignment and Bryce took off right by me. I just watched him run over about 6 defensive players to score a touchdown. Our 8th grade team had to be my favorite team. I love those guys and still hang out with them today.”

Dan Miller OYTF Board President (2013- )
It’s an honor to lead OYTF forward while maintaining the core values and traditions that were established and built upon 35 years ago. OYTF has seen great triumphs and devastating setbacks over the years. Our solid foundation and extremely dedicated volunteers have stood together to ensure the OYTF community grow and flourish successfully. In our 35th season, OYTF looks to celebrate all of the alumni who have volunteered their time or participated in OYTF. You all have made OYTF THE BEST YOUTH TACKLE FOOTBALL AND CHEER PROGRAM around.

In last 35 years, OYTF has seen many participants come through the program, whether playing football, cheering, or poms. Youth sports teach kids how to be a part of a team and how to win and lose. Most of these kids feel OYTF helped shape them into successful teenagers and adults. OYTF has been going strong for 35 years and will only continue to get stronger.

Registration for the 2014 Season will open in January and in person registration will be in February. For more information about OYTF or to register for 2014, please visit our website at www.oytf.org. Stay up to date on all things OYTF by liking our Facebook page www.facebook.com/OYTFC.

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