JOHN DAY – The close of the John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation football season was filled with success for young athletes who took to the fields at Grant Union High School for a jamboree Oct. 16.

This year 25 third- through fourth-grade boys fielded the local Red team, and the Black team had 20 fifth- through sixth-grade boys.

Jamborees give young athletes a chance to play a series of games with multiple teams, with 10 offensive and 10 defensive plays for each team, each round.

The Oct. 16 games had the local teams facing Baker City, Burns and Pilot Rock.

“The lightbulb’s going on,” said Bill Copenhaver who co-coached the Black team with Russ Reimers.

Although there were many new, inexperienced players this year, Copenhaver noted that the game at this stage is not so much about winning, but about growth – stats and scores are not taken.

“I’ve been impressed with how they’ve developed,” he said. “There’s a lot to the game and these guys, they’re starting to understand the game.”

Reimers is a parks and recreation district board member, and has helped with the program since its inception eight years ago.

He was also pleased with the improvements.

“The kids played well,” Reimers said. “They finally started playing as a team.”

Both coaches expressed appreciation for the volunteers and parents who help out.

“It’s a great program,” said Copenhaver.

The coaches for the Parks and Rec Red team were Chris Deiter, Joe Radinovich and Davey Blood. 

Art Thunell is Parks and Recreation director.

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