The Woodland Panthers youth football team practiced with the St. Scholastica Saints on Wednesday, Oct. 7 as part of the school's fall Community Day.
"We gave the team a choice," said Greg Carlson, head coach of the Saints. "It was between going out and collecting for the food shelf, or having a youth team come to campus. The decision was unanimous."
The Woodland Panthers is a youth team with players from 4 grade to 8 grade in Duluth. They are having a fun season and are pretty successful, the team members said.
After the Saints practice was over, the young team was invited on to the field. From there they were split up by position and learned some of the practice routines of St. Scholastica.
Stephen Voelkner is a captain of the St. Scholastica Saints, and also a former Woodland Panther. "We showed them the basics of football and what we (Saints) do at practice every day," Voelkner said. "It was really great to see the program I started in still going strong."
The Saint players and coaches taught and practiced with the Panthers for an hour after practice, 30 minutes on offense and 30 minutes on defense. The Panther coaches didn't attend, but parents were on the sideline to watch as practice went on in the cold.
Mikael Evans, another captain on the Saints team, said he was very impressed with the intensity of the kids. "It was really neat to see how aggressive and intense they were," Evans said. "With this kind of intensity level at this age, it'll make them that much better when they get older."
After the practice was over, both teams met in the middle of the field. Coach Carlson gave a pep talk and let one of the youth break down the team. "I let a younger guy break down the team because I wanted everyone to feel like as much of a football player as the next guy, and not feel like they are older, younger or any better or worse than anyone on the field," Carlson said.