For the first time ever, Barrington Pop Warner will offer flag football.
Members of the local league's board of directors voted Thursday night, Dec. 7, to offer a flag football option in addition to the tackle football teams already available.
Some board members are hoping that the addition of flag football to Barrington Pop Warner will serve as a new attraction to a league that has faced dwindling enrollment with its tackle football teams.
Other board members are concerned that offering flag football will further reduce the number of boys and girls who will sign up to play tackle football in town.
Last year, Barrington was only able to field two tackle football teams — a Junior Pee Wee team with players between the ages of 8 and 11, and a Junior Varsity team with players ages 12 to 14. One year earlier, Barrington had five Pop Warner teams, ranging from a Mighty Mites squad to an Unlimited team.
Other local teams have experienced similar drop-offs in enrollment — the Sakonnet Schooners program in Tiverton was only able to field three teams this fall — while some teams, such as Dighton Rehoboth, pull players from multiple towns to ensure full rosters.
Barrington Pop Warner officials plan on advertising the flag football option through Facebook posts and flyers, and also agreed to open registration at an earlier date, and at a reduced rate.
Barrington youngsters will be able to sign up for tackle football, flag football and cheerleading starting on Jan. 1, 2018 — the early registration fee is $100.
The earlier registration date will help league officials determine whether there will be enough players to field Barrington tackle football teams next fall.
During Thursday night's meeting, members of the Barrington Pop Warner board of directors agreed to have an official vote at their March 2018 meeting, where they will determine whether to field local football tackle football teams or to send Barrington players to the East Bay Warriors program. (East Bay currently draws children from Warren, Bristol, Swansea and a few other communities.)
Barrington officials are also committing to an increased recruitment effort. The league will likely offer a football combine/flag football tournament event this winter at the Sherwood indoor facility in Seekonk, as it did last year.
Barrington Pop Warner is offering a cheerleading tumbling program on Monday nights at Barrington High School. The program has a general session from 6 to 7 p.m., and an advanced session from 7 to 8 p.m. There is a $10 fee for the drop-in program.
Flag football ages
According to the official Pop Warner website, the age range for flag football teams includes:
• Cat — ages 5 to 6
• Cub — ages 5 to 7
• Bobcat — ages 8 to 10
• Wildcat — ages 11 to 13
• Panther — ages 14 to 16
• Challenger, for players with special needs — ages 5 to 18
Registration information will be available in the near future through Barrington Pop Warner's website.