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Pop Warner and USA Football have joined forces for a pilot program called Rookie Tackle, a transitional program for kids between Flag Football and Mitey Mites and it is already generating plenty of excitement in Pop Warner.

Rookie Tackle was created to introduce tackle football to younger players, and was created with input from youth football league leaders throughout the United States, who have modified the rules of the game based on player development.

Hill Country Pop Warner is one of 10 pilot programs for USA Football’s “Rookie Tackle”. The program keeps rosters of players down to a choice of 6 on 6, 7 on 7, or 8 on 8.  The reduced rosters, plus a smaller playing field (generally 40 yards long) gives young players a chance to play tackle football without the pressure of playing on an NFL sized gridiron against 11 man rosters. 

Rookie  Tackle is a “bridge-game” between flag and 11 player tackle that creates a best – practice pathway that allows youngsters to get a feel for the great game of football by playing a number of different positions in every game, two point stances, no special teams, and with coaches on the field helping to instruct, inform and encourage each kid out there.

What a great way to get a better coach-to-player ratio going, at an early stage, to work on the solid fundamentals of the game.  And, what a great way for parents to feel comfortable about their child’s transition into tackle football at a well run, safe and all-inclusive level.


  • Fosters Participation: Allows leagues with limited registered players to field more teams.
  • Players Rotate Positions: Participants rotate and learn multiple positions and skills on offensive and defense.
  • Smaller Fields: Scaled to create an appropriate playing space for the age and abilities of younger athletes.
  • Maximize Field Space: Allows leagues to utilize field space more efficiently.
  • Smaller Rosters: Provides a greater coach-to-player ratio to foster individual attention and skill development.
  • Increased Activity: Rule modifications result in more snaps on offense and defense for younger players.

At a time when sound development, and greater opportunity, in all youth sports is more vital than ever, the partnership of USA Football and Pop Warner will be a HUGE addition to programs far and near.

For more information on “Rookie Tackle “ Football, see the USA Football website at


Eastern Plains Thunderhawks
Pikes Peak Pop Warner, PO BOX 424
Peyton, Colorado 80831

Phone: 719-649-9432
Email: [email protected]
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