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Featherweight Information

2016 Super Bowl Champs

Featherweight Information

Bantam & Feather Weight 2018

Greetings, welcome to the 2018 football season! My name is Doug Thennes and I will be the General Manager of the Cary Jr Trojans Bantam & Feather Weight Levels for the 2018 season.

For most players and parents, the Bantam and Feather Weight levels are the first exposure to both the Cary Jr Trojans (CJT) program and tackle football.  I would like to introduce you to our program and address some of the most common questions.  There will be a PARENT’S FOOTBALL MEETING FROM 6:30 TO 8:00 PM ON FRIDAY JULY 13th in the DOWNSTAIRS MEETING ROOM at THE HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH (2107 Three Oaks Road, Cary).  Please make sure to have a parent attend this meeting if you have any questions about the program/season.

League Structure and CJT Background

CJT participates in The Chicagoland Youth Football League (TCYFL),  TCYFL is comprised of ~42 member communities, based throughout Chicagoland and southeastern Wisconsin.  Each community fields teams at one of 5 levels grouped by age and bounded by weight:  Bantam, Feather, Middle, Light, and Heavy. 

For Bantam, players are typically 7 and 8 year olds (Sept 1 cutoff date) weighing less than 95 pounds (8 years old) and 100 pounds (7 years old).  There may also be some 9 year olds weighing less than 65 pounds.

For Feather, players are typically 9 and 10 year olds (Sept 1 cutoff date) weighing less than 105 pounds (10 years old) and 110 pounds (9 years old).  There may also be some 11 year olds weighing less than 75 pounds.

Most of Cary’s games will be against teams from our surrounding suburbs.  Examples of our opponents include: Crystal Lake, Prairie Ridge, Lake-in-the-Hills, Huntley, McHenry, Barrington, Lake Villa, Antioch, Buffalo Grove, Grayslake.  Geographically, the furthest opponents are Plainfield, Western Kenosha County, and Zion.

CJT was a founding member of TCYFL, and generally has one of the highest helmet counts in the program.  CJT home games are usually played at the Cary Jr High.  Combine for both Bantam & Feather this year will be on the field north of the baseball field at Lions Park. Practice for both levels will be held at Deerpath Elementary School (east side grass) while Lions Park undergoes renovation to its “lower bowl”.

Season Schedule

The season consists of both a conditioning and combine session, followed by practice and pre-season games, then a (9) week regular season followed by up to (3) weeks of playoffs.  The season runs from late July through early November.

July 7 - Equipment Pickup-Lions Park CJT Shed (next to preschool). 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

July 10 - Equipment Pickup-Lions Park CJT Shed (next to preschool). 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

July 13 – Bantam Parents informational meeting, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Holy Cross Lutheran Church, lower level

July 23 – Jul 25 - Combine conditioning stage.  Helmet, mouthpiece, cleats, cup, shorts, t-shirt.

July 26 - Combine shells stage.  Helmet, mouthpiece, cleats, cup, shorts, t-shirt.  Add shoulder pads.

July 31 – Aug 3 - Combine full pads stage.  Add pants/pads.  Player to player contact gradually introduced.

Aug 6 - Teams are announced. Team practices begin.

Aug 6 - 10 - First week of practice. Most teams will practice 5 nights per week at the discretion of the head coach until school starts.

Aug 13 – 17 - Second week of practice. Most teams will practice 5 nights per week at the discretion of the head coach until school starts.

Aug 18 -Pre-season games.

Aug 22 (D-26 school begins).  From this date, most teams will practice 3 nights per week at the discretion of the head coach.

Aug 25 or Aug 26- First regular season game.

Oct 20 or Oct 21 -Last regular season game.

Oct 27/28, Nov 3/4, Nov 10/11 – TCYFL Playoffs /Super Bowl Games

Equipment Pickup & Uniform Information

CJT staff will fit shoulder pads and helmets for each player.  Players will go home with their equipment that day.  In the event that a player cannot attend one of the equipment day sessions, the equipment shed will also be opened after the first few days of combine.  Additional pickup days may be scheduled and will be announced.

Game Uniform Summary:

CJT game jersey (provided as part of your registration fees).  This usually arrives around the date of our first pre-season game.

CJT provided helmet and shoulder pads

White Game Pants with integrated pads Snap-in pads are not allowed in TCYFL.  These can be purchased at sporting goods stores.

Dark Blue game socks

Athletic Supporter and cup Can be purchased at sporting goods stores.

Cleats Metal spikes are not allowed.

Mouth guard Can be purchased at sporting goods stores.

Practice Uniform Summary:

Same gear requirements as the game uniform (cleats, socks, mouth guard, cup, helmet, pads).

Jersey – Any jersey that is big enough to fit over pads.  It does not have to have the CJT logo.

Pants with integrated pads can be purchased at local sporting goods stores.  It is recommended to have a dedicated pair of practice pants.  Many parents opt for black pants, which will be easier to keep clean, but also will be warmer in the early season practices.


This year combine will run from 5:30-7:30 pm at Deerpath Elementary School.  The first week of combine will be held Monday – Thursday 5:30-7:30 pm.  The second week of combine will be held Monday – Thursday 5:30-7:30 pm and Friday 5:30-6:30. The first three days for every player will be in a helmet, mouthpiece, cleats, cup and supporter, shorts, and a t-shirt. We are mandated to have six hours of conditioning before moving into shells (helmet and shoulder pads). The 4th practice for each player will be in helmet with mouthpiece, shoulder pads, cleats, cup, shorts and t-shirt.  Once a player has completed his six hours of conditioning they can practice in full pads. The boys will check in everyday and their attendance will be logged.   Players that miss combine practices will be held out of contact drills until meeting the six hour requirements.

Please contact me prior to July 23rd if your child will miss a significant amount of combine practices.

The goal of combine is to slowly ramp up conditioning, education, and skills to a point where players are ready to participate in contact football.  We also want them to have a little fun and make some new friends.

Throughout combine and the season practices, CJT staff will ensure that players of similar size and aptitude are participating with/against each other.  We will not place a 2nd year 90-pound player in a contact drill against a 1st year 45-pound player.

This year, during the first week of combine (conditioning), we will merge the Bantam and Feather levels.  This will give Bantam level kids the opportunity to learn techniques from the Feather level kids as well as give Feather level kids an opportunity to learn leadership skills in helping the Bantam kids.  This is only for the conditioning section of combine (week 1).  Once we move out of conditioning, we will group kids based on level, then on weight, skill, and other factors.

Traditionally, the weather during combine is very warm.  Please make sure that your player comes to combine with an adequate amount of water.  We recommend a half-gallon to gallon size with a flip up lid.  The flip-up lid allows players to grab a quick drink without taking off their helmets. 

Team Selection

As it stands now, we will have two (2) teams at Bantam and two (2) teams at Feather. At the Bantam level, we will have a Premier and Ultimate team.  This year, TCYFL provided programs with an option to play 8v8 (Flyweight Rules) or 11v11 (standard rules).  CJT will be playing 11v11 (standard rules).  The “Big 10 and PAC” at Bantam is replaced by “Premier and Ultimate”.  Teams in the Premier division will play against other town’s teams in the same division. (e.g. Crystal Lake Premier would play Cary Premier and CL Ultimate would play Cary Ultimate).  At Feather, we will have one Big-10 team and one Pac team.

Regardless of the team your child gets placed on, all teams at both Bantam and Feather will emphasize instruction, development, and participation.  Big-10/Premier will, however, be the most competitive of the two divisions. Because of the difference in level of competition, it is important for players to be evaluated to ensure they are placed at a level that will allow them to successfully develop.

TCYFL will also continue its flexible scheduling.  Each year, the first 3 games will be set for scheduling purposes.  After week 3, the league will do schedules on a week by week basis to matchup teams with similar records to create more parity in the games.  This avoids an 8-0 team playing a 0-8 team the last week of the season.  The one downside to the flexible scheduling is the schedules will come out a little slower than in the past.  However, I do believe that this is a fair trade off in order to have teams playing other teams with similar records and skill sets.


We continue to have improvements to our players’ safety protocol each year. All of our coaches are required to have a basic training in concussion awareness as well as attendance at a Positive Coaching Alliance meeting as part of their certification.  In addition, CJT and the TCYFL continue to teach USA Football’s Heads-Up Tackling technique and the utilization of “air” and “bag” drills to lessen direct contact. 

Team Positions

Beyond head coach, each team has many important roles to fill.  Please consider taking an active part in your son’s football experience.

Team Mom: The glue that holds the team together!  Coordinates team rosters, uniforms, fundraising, and best of all, team parties!

Team Photographer: Be on the field with the team to capture great photos of their blocks, tackles, and touchdowns.

Team Doctor:  No, you do not have to be an RN or MD, but a dedicated person to help treat the bumps and scrapes received in practices and games is a huge help.

Team Videographer: With 11 players on the field from our team, it can be difficult for the coaching staff to follow each player on each play.  High quality game footage allows the coaches and parents to see how our players are doing, and more importantly, it allows coaches to create practice plans for both team and players.  This improves both player safety and performance.

Field Marshal: This person acts as an ambassador to our visiting teams.  The Marshal helps coordinate and supervise game day activities for both teams, including weigh-in and roster collection.

Assistant Coach: TCYFL allows (6) badged coaches per team on the sidelines, and we have a series of training requirements for these coaches.  Please contact me immediately if you have an interest in being an assistant coach.

We realize that not everyone can make every practice and game.  There are plenty of other opportunities to help.  Get out on the field and grab a bag during practice, run the first down sticks during a game, or help out one of the other Team Positions. The more helping hands the better at this level.  CJT welcomes your support!

Again, this is the first of many communications you will be receiving for the 2018 season. There is going to be a lot more information to pass on and I wanted to open the lines of communication and give everyone a point of contact.  If there are ever any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. There are many things that need to be accomplished to make this a successful year for all of our players and I appreciate everyone’s assistance.  Finally, I would recommend that everyone visit the Junior Trojans website for updates and more information.

Thank you,

Doug Thennes

cell: 847.828.4725

  Level GM

Doug Thennes

Level GM

Phone: 847-828-4725

  Level Mom

Jill Thennes

FW Level Mom

  Football GM
Keith Battaglia

Keith Battaglia

Football Director

  CJT and Level News