Cape Vikings Pop Warner held its first practice for the fall 2021 season Aug. 2 – the first practice since 2019 for the Vikings. The previous season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cape Vikings Pop Warner organization has been a staple in the region since it was previously known as the Sharks starting back in 1995.
President Tiffany Barlow said, “We are so thankful that we can give these young athletes a football season.”
She said this year there are roughly 150 athletes registered, including both football players and cheerleaders, from 5-12 years old. The organization has seen a 40 percent increase in participation, which Barlow states is likely related to athletes wanting to again participate in youth sports and the camaraderie it brings.
The pandemic has added additional screenings and challenges, but the Cape Vikings Pop Warner leadership team has fought hard to bring a season to the youth in the area. Athletes and families had to sign waivers acknowledging that neither athletes nor spectators and family members can come to practice or games if symptomatic or had an exposure. The organization follows a strict algorithm for exposures and quarantining, and is monitored by local healthcare providers.
Cape Vikings Pop Warner is a part of the national Pop Warner organization, which requires strict guidance on academics, athletics and community involvement. Elizabeth Miller, scholastics vice president, said, “It is so great to see all the new faces on the field. We have many kids coming as first-time athletes at ages 10 or older.”
The Vikings have four age groups, 6U/Mitey Mites, 8U, 10U, 12U for football, and Tiny Mite, Mitey Mite, Junior Pee Wee, and Junior Varsity for cheerleaders. The football teams compete with other teams in the Henlopen Conference, including Dover, Smyrna, Snow Hill, Laurel and Delmar. Recently, the Vikings had their first home game at Cape Henlopen High School Sept. 11, with all teams securing wins.
Season sign-ups begin in early April, practices start in August, and games are played until early November depending on rankings and playoff berths. This year’s practices are held at Hudson Fields near Milton, and home games are at Cape Henlopen High School. Cape Vikings is proud of all the local sponsors that have donated to make this season possible. Go to capevikingspopwarner.org for details.