Football fans, meet the Mokena Junior Griffins.
On Feb. 25 and March 3, registration will be held at the for a new Mokena youth football team.
The new team was not designed to compete with the Mokena Burros, but to offer an alternative for kids too big for the Burros' weight classes, Coach George Metanias said. Lower weight classes and cheer will also be offered.
The Junior Griffins will be in the River Valley Youth Football League, the home of such teams as the Frankfort Falcons, the New Lenox Junior Knights, the New Lenox Junior Warriors and the Orland Wolves.
"There are a lot of kids in Mokena if they're heavier than what the Burros offer, they go in Frankfort," said Metanias, who coached for the Burros for 15 years. "We want to make it so they can stay in Mokena and play in Mokena."
In the Southwest Midget Football League that regulates teams for the Burros, the heaviest weight class is the Varsity Heavyweight class where 13 and 14 year olds can weigh up to 170 pounds.
But by the River Valley League rules, 12- to 14-year-old Varsity class players in the Striper and Double Striper categories can weigh up to 225 pounds.
Stripers and Double Stripers have different rules for play and can only play certain positions in order to keep things fair for the smaller children. Their helmets are marked with large, visible stripes.
No more than three Stripers or Double Stripers are allowed on the field at the same time and there can never be more than one Double Striper on the field.
Although providing a place for the heavier Varsity students to play was one of the major reasons the organizers set up the Junior Griffins, they will also offer Junior Varsity, Lightweight and Super Lightweight teams, as well as two flag football teams and cheer.
Metanias said this will help parents so they don't have to ferry different children to different groups.
"You'll be able to go to one place and be able to take care of everything," he said.