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Aug. 21—Justin McKinney was looking for a spot for his son — sixth-grader Jaxon — to play tackle football and decided there was no place like home.
Jaxon had played Pee Wee football in Allen for the past couple of years but that program wasn't going to field a team in 2021. So Justin decided to gauge the interest locally to see if there were enough players to form an Ada Pee Wee team and he was overwhelmed at the response he received.
"I decided to see how much interest there would be if I was to bring the program back to Ada so I put a post on Facebook and made a Peewee Football Page and it caught fire," McKinney told The Ada News. "The interest has been huge."
McKinney is carrying a giant 60-kid roster into the Pee Wee Cougars' season-opener on Aug. 30 against Stratford at East Central University. The team is comprised of players entering grades 3-6.
"I could have probably signed up 10 or more after the deadline," he said.
McKinney said his players are eating it up.
"The kids are super excited and coming along real well," he said. "It's new to most of them but they're loving every second of it. I have a total of four kids that have ever played tackle football before so we're a work in progress."
McKinney believes having a Cougar Pee Wee team will only strengthen the entire Ada football program.
"If taught correctly, the Peewee Football program is a huge asset to the junior high and high school programs," McKinney explained. "I feel that if we can teach the kids to get in a stance correctly, tackle and block correctly, know positions and line up correctly, we have put them ahead of the game for junior high."
McKinney has picked the brain of new Ada High head coach Brad O'Steen and plans to pattern his Pee Wee team in the image of the current high school squad.
"We do our best to mirror the offensive and defensive schemes of the junior high and high school program so when they get in junior high they will know the language and positioning used and what those coaches want from them," McKinney said. "We want to be an addition to the Ada football program and excite the kids about playing football on Friday nights."
The Ada Pee Wee players are constantly told they are "RAD", but not just because they are cool. McKinney said RAD stands for Respect, Attitude and Discipline.
"If you ask any of them in town what 'RAD' means, they'll tell you. This will be instilled in them," he said.
Plans are already in the works for the Cougar Pee Wee guys to attend an Ada High football game as a unit and McKinney hopes to get his bunch to an East Central University home contest to watch head coach Al Johnson's Tigers too.
"We are wanting to get community involvement and get the town pumped up about football. Coach O'Steen and Coach Johnson both have been very helpful to our program," he said.
30 STRATFORD, 6:30 p.m.
11 at Wewoka, TBA
14 COALGATE, 6:30 p.m.
21 WEWOKA, 6:30 p.m.
28 at Konawa, 6:30 p.m.
5 at Coalgate, 6:30 p.m.
12 at Stratford, 6:30 p.m.
19 KONAWA, 6:30 p.m.
23 Pee Wee Championship, TBA