Tackle Football FAQ

Following are frequently asked questions about tackle football. For more information, please contact the VP of Football.

Players must be between the ages of 7 and 14 years old by August 1st of the current year and cannot be in High School. After the first week of practice, athletes are placed on a team based on age, weight, and ability.

  • Striper Ruler – For safety reasons athletes who exceed specific age + weight requirements (noted below) are not allowed to throw, catch or run the ball, but instead will be trained as lineman.  These athletes will have a red stripe placed on their helmet, designating them as “stripers”.
  • Players will be weighed before the start of each game to ensure they meet the weight requirements.  Players must weigh in wearing the following equipment (socks, game pants with pads, and game jersey). Each week a half-pound is added to the weight limit to allow for athlete growth. BGYFL weight chart 2023-2024


Panthers is a 100% volunteer run program.   There are plenty of opportunities to get involved.  You can help at any of the following levels:

  • Board Member
  • Head Coach
  • Assistant Coach
  • Team Admin
  • Spirit Wear Sales 
  • Event Planning
  • Fundraising

If you would like to get involved, please Contact Us.

Additionally, each team will be required to provide the following volunteers for each Home Game:

  • Chain Gang (consists of 3 individuals to hold: two yard markers and the down marker)
  • Scoreboard
  • Announcer

If your athlete’s team is the first game of the day, parent volunteers will be needed to help setup the field.

If your athlete’s team is the last game of the day, parent volunteers will be needed to help take down the field and put the equipment away.

The Panthers play regular season games against teams affiliated with the Bill George Football League.  Some of the towns include Lombard, Carol Stream, Bartlett, Park Ridge, Oswego and Geneva; for additional information and directions, please visit our BGYFL page.

The 2024 season begins July 25th.  New this year, BGYFL football teams have 7 days of practice (instead of 5) prior to placing athletes on teams.  Similar to last year, the first two days of practice are non-contact days for each athlete.  For example, if you are not present for practice on July 25th, your non-contact days are July 26th and July 29th.  Teams will play either 8-9 games with 4-5 games being Home games and the remainder being away games.  Each team typically plays 2 pre-season games.  For the season, we expect to have pre-season games on the weekends of August 10th and 17th.  First regular season games begin the weekend of August 24th.  BGYFL plays games on Labor Day weekend.  Some, but not all teams make the post-season playoffs.  Playoffs begin the week after the regular season ends and could last as many as three weeks.  The 2024 Super Bowl is the weekend of November 8th-10th.

Tackle Football practices five times per week until the start of the Downers Grove (District 58) school year.  Practice begins July 25th and runs Monday through Friday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at O’Neill Middle School (635 59th St., Downers Grove).  Once school starts, Tackle Football will practice three days per week. You will be notified of practice days and location by your head coach.  Most, but not all tackle football teams practice at Doerhoefer Park.

Players should wear their helmets, practice jersey, mouth guard, shoulder pads, rib vest, practice pants, athletic supporter and cleats to practice.  Please bring a large jug of water.

All athletes that registers for Panther Football will be placed on a team after the first 7 days of practice. Tackle football players are placed on a team based primarily on age, weight, ability.  Our current levels include: 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, JV, and Varsity.  Levels with a large number of registered athletes will be divided into multiple teams and placed into a division (Gold Division 1, Gold Division 2 or Silver).  

1. At the 8U level, the Head Coaches will attempt to split the athletes into teams that are of approximately equal ability.    All 8U teams play in the same division (i.e., there is no Gold/Silver division)

2. For all other levels, The BGYFL has three divisions – Gold Division 1, Gold Division 2, and Silver.  Head Coaches conduct player evaluations during the first 7 days of practice and are responsible for placing each athlete on a team.  The assignment of each player to a team will be dependent upon a variety of factors, including athletic and football ability, experience, attitude and coachability.  Head Coach decisions are final.  

We strive to make tackle football a competitive, fun and safe experience for everyone, which is why we don’t honor athlete requests to play on a specific team or for a specific Head Coach.  

Panthers is a non-profit organization.  In addition to providing the following football equipment (see chart below), registration fees help cover league fees, uniforms, helmets, should pads, rib vests, referees, park field usage costs including lights, insurance cost, and other equipment. Each athlete will also receive $100 in raffle tickets, paid as part of their registration fee.

Families keep all proceeds from raffle ticket sales.

Aside from having to purchase the following mandatory items:

  • Athletic/Protective Cup
  • Cleats
  • Socks

Many teams will contribute money towards team centric events that occur throughout the season such as yard signs for homecoming,  pink socks for Breast Cancer Awareness month, etc.  This will be communicated by either the Head Coach or Team Admin.

As part of your registration fee, you are provided with $100 of raffle tickets. Athletes are encouraged to sell these raffle tickets to offset the cost of football and cheer.  Families keep the proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets reducing the overall cost for families.  Completed raffle ticket stubs should be returned to the treasurer by August 9th to be included in the drawing.

Refunds requested in writing before June 10th are eligible for a full refund of the registration fee paid (less the cost of raffle tickets and net of any discounts), provided all equipment and uniforms are returned within two weeks of the refund request.

Refunds requested in writing between June 11th and July 15th are eligible for a refund of up to 50% of the registration fee paid (less the cost of raffle tickets and net of any discounts), provided all equipment and uniforms are returned within two weeks of the refund request.  Only those athletes whose registrations had been paid in full at the time of the refund request are eligible for a 50% refund.  Athletes whose registrations were not paid in full at the time of the refund request will receive a prorated refund (e.g., less than 50%). 

No refunds will be provided after July 15th for any reason, including injury.  There are no refunds for Panther pre-season camps for any reason (including injury or illness).

To request a refund, please send an email to Jen Larson at treasurer@pantherjrfootball.org