June 15, 2018

Kids Football League continues to grow.

As KFL enters its sixth season this summer, the addition of two new participating counties is just another example of the organization's development over the last several years.

Hancock County and Breckinridge County teams will now play in KFL, joining Daviess, McLean and Muhlenberg counties on the gridiron.

The league started out with around 320 football players and cheerleaders in its first year, according to KFL president Todd Humphreys, but that number is expected to exceed 700 this upcoming season.

"When we started this, we just wanted to do things differently and give kids a different option," Humphreys said. "I just wanted them playing football, no matter where it was. What I never realized is that some of the the biggest holes we're filling are in these surrounding counties."

For youth football teams in other counties, Humphreys noted, consistency has been an issue. It's not uncommon for teams to drive more than an hour to play, only for their opponents to compete at a different age level or sometimes not even show up at all.

By joining the league, every team will have a set schedule of opponents and regular guidelines across the board. Each squad will also receive uniforms, equipment and other amenities already available to KFL teams.

"We're kind of becoming our own 3rd Region," Humphreys said. "It's been a very busy, very active, but productive offseason."

The option for expansion into other nearby counties is always open, as well.

"The extra work doesn't bother us," Humphreys said. "It's about if we can continue at the same level. As long as we can continue to offer what we feel like is an excellent league and everything we offer with academics, character lessons and athletics -- if we can keep doing that, then we'll continue to add to it."

KFL has also added a new Rookie Tackle division, in an attempt to help "bridge the gap" between flag and tackle football.

The flag football division is for 5-8-year-olds, while tackle football is for third-through-sixth grades. The Rookie division will be available for first-and-second-graders who want to move out of flag but may not be quite ready for full 11-on-11 contact.

Instead, the Rookie division will be played on a smaller field with less players -- eight against eight -- so younger participants can learn the game at a more suitable pace.

"As far as I know, we'll be running the only one in western Kentucky and southern Indiana," Humphreys said.

Humphreys worked closely with former Marshall University and NFL quarterback Chad Pennington to help develop the Rookie Tackle program, which Pennington helped implement in a league in central Kentucky.

"This allows the kids to actually learn plays and get more exercise, too," Humphreys said. "What they did in Chad's league last year was they put little GPS monitors on the kids to track their movement from a physical fitness standpoint.

"What they found out was the kids who played Rookie Tackle were 48 percent more active than kids who played 11-on-11. There are less kids out there and more of them are moving."

From a participation standpoint, KFL officials also believe it will provide another avenue for kids to join the sport.

"I really feel like it's going to be a lot of fun," Humphreys said. "I think the kids will like it. If there are kids out there who are missing out, we're trying to give them another place to make football available to play."

KFL registration is now open through the league's web site at kidsfootballleague.com or through live registration at Academy Sports on July 7-8.