The Biddeford Recreation Department’s Flag Football program plays an important role as the feeder system for the Biddeford High School program. At top left, a Biddeford flag football player gets away from two defenders during a drill on Monday evening. At bottom left, Mike Fecteau, the Youth Sports Coordinator for Biddeford Recreation, talks to some players on Monday. When you look at the best high school football programs across the country, all of them have one thing in common – a strong feeder program. The 2015 version of the Biddeford High School football team is proof of that as almost all of the current Tigers once played in the Biddeford Recreation Department’s Flag Football program – and that feeder system is still alive and well.
“It’s a starting point for these kids,” said Mike Fecteau, who is the Youth Sports Coordinator for the recreation department.
Fecteau, who is also the Biddeford Middle School football coach, is running the flag football program, which was created by Biddeford varsity coach Brian Curit.
“I loved it. I thought it was fun,” said Curit of coaching the flag program.
Curit said he created the flag football program to give young athletes – like his son, and current Biddeford starting quarterback, Joey – an opportunity to start their football careers. “The way I looked at it, soccer was (getting) kids when they were four or five years old, I thought it was critical that kids that liked football had a place to play,” said Curit. “I thought it was a good way to get their feet wet.”
The success of the program is evident as the Biddeford High School team is currently 3-2 and in the playoff hunt – and it all started back when they were wearing flags and not pads.
“All the kids that are playing (varsity football) now, just about all of them started with flag football,” said Curit.
PAT MCDONALD/Journal Tribune Curit is happy to have someone like Fecteau running the flag program.
“Mike is an excellent coach,” said Curit, who knows Fecteau has what it takes to lead young athletes. “Of course he’s my middle school coach and does an outstanding job with those kids. It’s great to have him down there.”
Fecteau believes the flag program provides the five-through-seven year olds a chance to learn the game without the danger of full contact.
“(Flag football is great) for five-to-seven year olds, kids who love the game of football, but are just not ready for tackle. Some of these kids probably want to play tackle, but I think another year playing flag helps them develop and gain more confidence,” said Fecteau. The Biddeford Flag Football program focuses on teaching the basics, according to Fecteau.
“We don’t really play many games ... we do a lot of skills with them,” said Fecteau. “We show them different pass routes, we show them how to throw a football, catch a football, what offense is, what defense is – you know all the basic stuff they need to learn for the next level.”
Fecteau believes the program is going to continue to grow in the years to come.
“We have 30 kids in this program and it seems like more and more kids are getting involved,” said Fecteau. For Fecteau, running the program is a rewarding experience. “It’s just good to see them competing against their friends, they are having fun doing it and they are learning the game of football,” said Fecteau.
NOTE: For more photos from the Biddeford Recreation Flag Football Program check out Sunday’s Journal Tribune.
— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at email@example.com or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @ JournalTsports.