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Parents, coaches concerned after youth football team deemed ‘too rough’ following numerous injuries

Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-02 23:42:08-04

SALEM, Utah  -- Parents and coaches are worried after a youth football team has allegedly caused multiple injuries to players of opposing teams.

On Saturday, Lone Peak’s 8th-grade football team went head to head against the undefeated so far, Salem Hills Skyhawks.

Head coach of the Lone Peak Knights, Richard Van Komen, told Fox13 that he knew how tough their opponent was going to be. Van Komen had heard of some injuries allegedly caused by the toughness of the Salem Hills team, so he called two of the coaches of teams they had previously played.

“In talking to both of their coaches, (it) indicated this team doesn’t belong in our league,” Van Komen said.

Koman got nervous, and he said to protect his players, he told the conference officials that he would like to forfeit the game against the Skyhawks.

“They said if you forfeit, you will be suspended from coaching your team,” Van Komen said.

During a phone conversation, President of the Utah Youth Football Conference, Cole Cooper, told Fox13 that their number one concern is the safety of the players, and they are looking at the situation very carefully right now.

According to Cooper, no serious injuries or concussions have been reported to the conference and there is an equal number of linemen on both teams. Players are weighed in before the season, and if they weigh over 165 lbs., then an “X” is put on their football helmets.

Right now, Cooper said there are three “X” men on both the Lone Peak and Salem Hills squads.

The decision of whether to move the Salem Hills team up to an older age division is still up in the air, and the football conference is waiting for another game or two before evaluating those options.

If you’d like to hear from parents and what they have to say about this situation, watch the Fox13 news story above.

Cole Cooper with The Utah Youth Football Conference released the following statement:

"The Utah County Football Conference (UYFC) believes that the merger of the previous Utah County youth football leagues (formerly the UCFC and CYFL) into one conference means a stronger and more competitive feeder program for our High Schools. The Lone Peak 8B team in question was 2-0 going into yesterdays game, they had also played for the 7B championship the previous year. Lone Peak currently has on their roster 3 X-men the heaviest kid weighing 203 lbs. and an additional boy who qualifies for mid-season weigh-in (X-men being defined as someone over 165 lbs). Salem Hills also had a record of 2-0 going into Saturdays game and they also have 3 X-men heaviest being 198 lbs.

There are currently 18 teams in this B division and our board proposed before the season began that we would reevaluate this grade after week 4. We knew before the season started that evaluating teams would present a challenge for our new conference and we committed ourselves to being flexible this season and move teams around if necessary. Player safety is always a major concern and we will continue to monitor this situation and make changes to this grade or any other grade. Finding a balance between competition and confidence is key to allow these boys to develop."