Junior high team wins division championship
Jun 29, 2018 03:49PM
● By Greg James
The UGTFL held its junior high and high school championship games at Herriman High School. (Greg Baird/UGTFL)
By Greg James | [email protected]
West Jordan can claim a 2018 junior high division girls tackle football championship.
“It was great, a fantastic season,” West Jordan Junior High girls coach Shawn Goutz said. “We had girls that had a lot of fun. We had several first-year girls that got some touchdowns for us. It was a great season for us. Playing the championship game at Herriman High was great. I loved it as much as the girls did.”
The West Jordan team had 18 girls; five of them are first-year players. The team members live in West Jordan High School and Copper Hills High School boundaries, and their season lasted five games, plus the playoffs.
“We had quite a few girls that were playing for their first time,” Goutz said. “We had some linewomen that played well, and it was amazing to help these girls learn the game.”
The league is a full-contact all girls football league. It is the first of its kind in the nation The players live in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties and play with smaller teams and modified rules.
It began from the exposure of Sam Gordon and her viral video. Gordon recently won the NFL game changer award.
“The girls listen so much better than the boys,” Goutz said. “I coach boys in the fall, and after a year or two they think they know everything, but the girls pay attention. We also have much more range in ability. Every year we have girls that have never played football. They do not know anything about the game.”
The challenge is covering the basics for the new girls and teaching more experienced players .The design of the league makes it less time consuming. The elementary-age girls practice two times a week, and high school and junior high teams practice three times each week. They then play a game on Saturday for five weeks.
“There are so many other things going on like soccer and stuff, but we have a very high retention rate,” Goutz said. “Once they try it, they stick around. When the girls talk about playing, they light up. When my daughter talks about the league, she brightens up.”
Laura Goutz and Gordon are among the top recruiters for the league. Laura was voted MVP of her team by her teammates. She attends Elk Ridge Middle School. She plans on playing next season in the high school division.
“I cannot recruit players like my daughter can,” Goutz said. “Her enthusiasm and excitement is incredible.”
There are five clubs at the high school level. By Utah High School standards to be a club there must be a teacher representative, a student leader and 11 supportive signatures. West Jordan, Herriman, Bingham, Copper Hills and Bingham have clubs in place.
“We need to find ways to work with the elementary schools to expand the game,” Goutz said. “The lawsuit is still in place (against the UHSAA and school districts), but we are still increasing.”
The league uses certified coaches similar to what Ute Conference uses for the boys.
“The league comradie is incredible,” Goutz said. “When my daughter started playing four years ago, she had never played and was shy. She has made lifelong friendships. The do sleepovers and all the things kids do with their friends. That is honestly the best thing. It is competitive, but they show friendship and work with the other teams too.”