In elementary school, Jacob Schurz would see his friends wearing Mesa Youth Football League team jerseys. He would play quick games with them during recess and was inspired to play with them on a real team. This year he did just that. Now 13 years old and in the seventh grade at Stapley Junior High School, Schurz joined the Mesa Youth Football League’s Bobcats team.
“My friends at my school played, and [when] I asked if I could play with them, they told me to go to one of their practices,” said Schurz. “I went and the coach said I could join, but I would have to lose some weight.”
Due to the requirements to play on the team, Schurz had to lose at least 18 pounds to be eligible. He worked extra hard, cutting down on portion sizes of the food he ate, running extra laps after practice and eating healthier foods.
“I ate a lot of Subway [sandwiches],” said Schurz, explaining one strategy for helping him lose the weight.
Schurz played lineman, guard and tackle for the Bobcats. His favorite play was during the team’s last game of the season, against the Firebirds from Scottsdale’s Youth Football League. The Bobcats almost had an undefeated season, but they were dominated by the Firebirds twice, knocking the Bobcats out of the running for the championships.
“In our last game, against the [Chandler Youth Football League] Panthers, I was put in a new position that I haven’t played before. I ended up tackling the other player with the ball,” said Schurz, who added that, for him, the best part of playing football was “hitting and tackling.”
Prior to playing football with the Bobcats, Schurz played basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball on different teams in Salt River. This school year at Stapley Junior High he wants to play on the intramural flag football team so by the time he gets to high school he can play on the Mountain View High football team.
“It was a learning experience for me not knowing about football, and it was kind of scary because it was an on-hands sport,” said Schurz’s mother, Susanna Guerrero. “I am proud of him. He showed a lot of sportsmanship in his games, he took a lot of injuries, and he would hurt a little but he would brush it off and get right back out on the field. It was exciting to watch him this season; he is a good kid.”
For more information about youth football and cheer in Mesa, visit www.mesayouthfootball.com.