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EJAA players, coaches prep for season

The Unicoi County High School football season is just around the bend, but the Blue Devils aren’t the only ones hitting the gridiron in Unicoi County.
The youngsters of the Erwin Junior Athletic Association (EJAA) are also closing in on the start of their season.
The EJAA will host the annual Watauga Junior Athletic League (WJAL) Jamboree on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Gentry Stadium, according to Jr. Pee Wee head coach David Bell. Action begins at 9 a.m. and the Blue Devils will take the field beginning at 1 p.m.
Children wanting to participate in the five- to seven-year-old Mitey Mites team still have time to sign up, Bell added. Registration will last until Aug. 14 and the children will need a copy of a physical and state identification along with a $45 registration fee.
“They come by the track field at 6 p.m. Thursday or Friday,” Bell said. “The Mitey Mites practice right at the front gate of the track.”
Bell handles coaching duties for the Jr. Pee Wee team. The Grasscutters are led by coach Mike Bowers and the Mitey Mites’ head coach is Steve Pinnell.
While there are more than 50 football players in the league this season, the EJAA received a spike in interest from the ladies. The EJAA typically sees around 40 cheerleaders a year, Bell said, but are near the 60-member plateau for this season.
For the future gridiron stars, they’ll see their fair share of competition in their league, Bell added.
The WJAL is comprised of 11 teams. Along with Unicoi County, other squads include Cloudland, Hampton, Unaka, Elizabethton, Bristol, Johnson County, Johnson City, Happy Valley and David Crockett.
“I think it really helps them to see that level of talent,” Bell said. “They’re able to see those kids they’d see at the high school level now every week.”
A schedule for the regular season was still to be determined before The Erwin Record’s press deadline. For more information, visit The Erwin Record online or a future issue of the paper for information on the EJAA.