Starting this fall, there will be just one way for Farmington football players of all ages to do things: the Tiger way.
One year after taking over management of the seventh grade football program, Farmington High School's football booster club will add the city's third- through sixth grade to its list of responsibilities.
"I had some new ideas and we started talking," Fischer said. "They just felt like it was better for us to proceed with running it."
In addition to a new game day, the reconfigured football program will also change the way players are grouped. In previous years, third and fourth graders played together and fifth and sixth graders played together. Starting this fall, each grade will have its own league, a change Fischer said should improve safety at an age when one year can mean big differences in a player's size.
For Fischer, though, the biggest advantage — at least eventually — will be having players learn the same system and the same terminology from the beginning of their competitive football careers.
"This is kind of our long-term goal," said John Reed, vice president of the football booster club. "We'd like to bring this all together to have a cohesive program and teaching kids the terminology, base offense, base defense, so each year we can have a progressive learning environment.
"We want every team to be running a similar practice so it doesn't really matter which team your son or daughter is on. They're going to get the same experience."
The booster-controlled league will also add some variety to the competition schedule. Instead of competing only against other Farmington teams, the booster-run league will add games against teams from Lakeville. The idea, Reed said, is to give players a chance to see how they stack up against kids from other cities.
"We're going to introduce just a little bit of competition, but it's still going to be a developmental league," Reed said.
Reed said players will get a chance to play multiple positions so they're don't get pigeonholed early as a lineman or a quarterback and miss the chance to develop other skills.
The boosters took over seventh grade football last year after the school district cut the program as part of budget adjustments. Reed said the first year went well. The club was already planning to take over eighth grade football this fall. Adding the youth program to the mix is a big job, but Reed is confident the club will be able to handle it.
"It's probably a little bit more than we wanted to do, but it is certainly something we're capable of," he said. "I think we'll have as good a success as we did last year."