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PHOTO CAPTION:  Cheerleaders and uniformed flag football participants storm the field to the cheers of parents and family members in a rousing opening ceremony, Saturday.

November 8, 2013
By Serena Valdez, Hawaii Army Weekly Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Nov. 1, 2013) -- Football fever is upon U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

In a ceremony at Watts Field, Saturday, nearly 400 boys and girls ages 5-13 welcomed the start of youth flag football season by running through inflatable tunnels complete with banners, fog machines and screaming cheerleaders, whose season also started Saturday.

The 25 co-ed teams and 15 cheer squads are part of the Army Hawaii Child, Youth and School Services Sports and Fitness Programs, aimed at providing children from military families a place to have fun and participate in competitive sports.

"We're actually one of the largest programs at the Army, worldwide," said Brendyn Agbayani, CYSS youth sports director.

"In 2010, we won the Youth Sports Excellence Award (through the National Alliance for Youth Sports), beating out other military branches," Agbayani noted.

The ceremony, here, certainly was worthy of the National Football League, as former Dallas Cowboys tight-end Doug Cosbie, who is now head coach at Kamehameha Schools, served as special guest speaker for the event.

"Every ceremony, we try to get a guest speaker who had influence in our community or was big in the sport," said Agbayani, who is looking forward to this football season and the success of the program.

"We feel good. Our numbers are steadily increasing, and we have a lot of good coaches who best represent our program. We couldn't do this without their support and the team moms' support," Agbayani said.

Games are every Saturday at either Watts Field or Aliamanu Military Reserve.

The eight-game season ends Dec. 21.