A new football league promises to give middle-school-age student-athletes a stronger foundation in both the sport and in serving the community.
Eight teams from the area are participating in the MAC – the Middle-school Age Conference. They will kick off their debut season with a Jamboree from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Bearden High School, according to a press release.
The event will feature plenty of football on the field, but it will also highlight MAC’s academic and community-service partners. Organizers of the MAC want to build character on and off the field. The conference is partnering with the Scarecrow Foundation, an East Tennessee nonprofit created to fight hunger. MAC athletes will have opportunities to volunteer throughout the area.
Knox County’s youth football program organizes teams by age groups. The MAC wants to offer a true middle-school league in which sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders play together, building their skills and preparing them for high school-level programs.
Games will be played Thursday nights at high school stadiums. There will be a junior varsity game at 6:30 p.m., followed by a varsity game at 7:30. The regular season begins Aug. 8. Teams participating are Alcoa, coached by Mike McClurg; Bearden, coached by Nathan Meeks; Carter, coached by Melvin Burns; Farragut, coached by Dee Smith; Gibbs, coached by Joe Currington; Halls, coached by Jake Bishop; Hardin Valley Academy, coached by Jason Lay; and Karns, coached by Al McDuffie.
On the website, www.macfootball.news, Meeks says that there is room for expansion.
The new conference will also focus on academics, providing study halls and free tutoring. The athletes with the top grade-point average in each grade level will be named “Academic All-Americans.” Additionally, there will be awards presented to the players demonstrating the most dedication to character, service and academics.
Saturday’s Jamboree will have food trucks such as Empire Pizza, Uncle Butch’s BBQ and Snow-Cone Eddie on site to help fans stay energized.