DENVILLE, NJ – More than 300 people, from athletes to cheerleaders, to coaches, to parents and other community supporters, gathered at Gardner Field in Denville for the annual Denville Blue Angels Football pep rally on Aug. 29.
Each category of players ran across the field, crashing through paper banners to present themselves to family and friends. Cheerleading squads of every level followed, giving performances to pump up the players and crowd for the 2019 season.
Even the Color Guard of the Denville American Legion Post 390 and Denville Mayor Thomas Andes attended to help launch the new season.
“The Denville Blue Angels organization has a proud history that started in 1957,” said Denville resident Joe Rodriguez, the program’s president and a Blue Angels coach.
“We are run by a nine-member board and raise all of our own money through fundraisers and registration. We use these dollars to provide our kids the best equipment available to them. We are currently a program of about 130 [football players]. Our cheerleading program has about the same number of girls in it.”
In Denville, the Blue Angels program has flag football for kindergarteners to second graders, which currently has 35 kids registered. Tackle football is for third to eighth graders and includes about 100 participants. The Blue Angels cheerleading program has separate squads of girls who cheer at every level. Both football and cheerleading programs are run and coached by volunteers, who are usually parents of players.
“The Blue Angels teaches us teamwork, while having fun and making friends,” said eight-year-old cheerleader Michela Garland, of Denville, who has been with the program for three years.
Garland’s friend and teammate, nine-year-old Juliana Andersen, of Denville, felt the same way.
“With the Blue Angels, you have a lot of fun with everyone in doing different cheers and learning new techniques,” said Andersen, who has been on the squad for five years.
Teamwork was a common word among both girls and boys during the pep rally. Twelve-year-old running back and wide receiver Vincent Rodriguez, of Denville, echoed similar sentiments playing as a Blue Angel in his hometown.
“This is a great program that helps kids make new friends through a sport that’s fun to play,” said Vincent, who has participated in the program since kindergarten.
“It teaches you teamwork, how to run fast and good techniques. I think we’re going to do [well] this season.”
“The Blue Angels is very supportive and teaches kids about being a great team player,” said Denville resident Liz Pereira.
“The games are always great, and I enjoy seeing the excitement in their faces.”
Pereira currently has two sons who are Blue Angels, Lucas (9) and Bennett (6). Another one of her sons, Nathan (14), played with the Blue Angels through his final season last year.
All home games will be played at Veterans Memorial Field on Zeek Road. The turf field ultimately will include a brand-new bleacher system, scoreboard and state-of-the-art sound system at the completion of the Vamp Up Vet’s Field project co-chaired by Laura Wagner and Linda Rodriguez. Currently, $125,000-$135,000 have been raised for the field improvements.
Last year, the Vamp Up Vet’s Field co-chairs organized a food truck festival to raise money for the project. Another food truck festival will be held this year at Gardner Field on Oct. 6, 12-6 p.m.
The Denville Blue Angels season starts Sept. 7, at Veterans Field, at 10 a.m. To learn more about the program and how to get involved or donate to Vamp Up Vet’s Field, visit https://dbafootball.com/.
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