On Tuesday, August 23rd, members of the 2021 Mid-America Regional Champion Hampshire Jr. Whip-Purs were honored by State Senator Dave Syverson and State Representative Jeff Keicher with a joint resolution honoring their commanding 2021 victory over the Michigan state champions and their academic achievements.
“As someone who played on the line in high school, the lessons you learn out there on the field and in the huddle are so important on teamwork and perseverance, on how to lift up another player or handle a difficult situation,” said Keicher. “When you’re off the field you’ll carry those lessons into your everyday life – through high school, college, families and careers. You’ve all worked so hard, and we join your parents, coaches and community is showing our tremendous pride in what you’ve accomplished.”
The 2021 Jr. Pee Wee team went into the season as an underweight, unranked underdog. The team lost its starting quarterback Logan Legge early on in the season when he suffered a broken arm in a tough loss to a much larger Rockford team. With back-up quarterback Rielan Berry under center, the 11-year-old members of the Jr. Whip-Purs rallied for their injured teammate and went undefeated during the remainder of the season, eventually beating Rockford for the Illinois State Championship. During regional competition, the defensive unit held their opponents scoreless, winning the Mid-America Regional Championship game by a score of 34 to 0 against the Michigan State Champions. The Mid-America region includes teams from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Legge and Berry were named team co-captains, with both athletes joining several teammates in being recognized as All-American Scholars with a 96% minimum grade point average.
“Thank you to Senator Syverson and Representative Keicher for taking the time to honor our athlete’s hard work. We are extremely fortunate have such supportive state and local officials behind the Jr. Whip-Purs,” said Jr. Whip-Purs President Jesus Martinez. “Next year we hope to come back with a few more championships, and our organization’s first national title.”
During the 2021 season, three Jr. Whip-Purs teams made it to the IL State Championships in their respective division. The Mighty Mites (9 year old division) and 13U teams were runners up.
The Hampshire Youth Football and Cheerleading Association (commonly known as the Hampshire Jr. Whip-Purs) is an Illinois not for profit organization designed to prepare young athletes to excel in athletics and academics from kindergarten through junior high school. The organization is the largest program in Illinois currently fielding 13 football teams and 4 competitive cheerleading teams, and is affiliated with American Youth Football and Cheerleading Association. We emphasize teamwork, discipline and a sense of community pride for our 400 registered athletes, and serve as a feeder program for Hampshire High School Athletics. Participating athletes primarily reside in the communities of Hampshire, Gilberts and Pingree Grove.