UpdatedFriday February 16, 2018 byMichelle Benczkowski.

How long is the season?

The football and cheerleading season is approximately 14 weeks long. There are 8 league games played on primarily Saturdays with the exception of Labor Day weekend.  There are playoff games for Freshman, JV and Varsity divisions and potentially a “move-up” game for those on Peewee who will play Freshman the next year. The first league game is usually the last Saturday in August.

*Orchard Park has a Maroon /White scrimmage the Saturday prior to the first regular scheduled game.

*  individual teams have end of year celebrations

 When are the games played?

Peewee division begins at 10:30 am. Freshman game begins at 12:30 pm. JV game follows at approximately 2:30pm and Varsity game follows at approximately 430 pm.

 Where are the games played?

Each squad plays approximately 4 home games and 4 away games during the season. Home games are played at our home field on California Road in Orchard Park. Away games are played at the home field of the opposing team. Transportation to and from games is the responsibility of the parent or guardian of the player. Please see the directions tab on the website for directions.

What teams are in the Empire West Youth Football & Cheerleading league?

Buffalo Gators, East Aurora, Eden, EMW, Hamburg, Holland, Airlanes and Orchard Park are in the Empire West Youth Football & Cheerleading League. You will find a list with directions to all fields on our website  


Orchard Park Football & Cheer is a non-profit, fully volunteer organization that is "dedicated to the development of the hearts and minds of the youth in our community.” There are many opportunities to volunteer from coaching to being a board member, to team parent volunteers. To find out more, contact our Registration Director or any Board Member.  We ask each parent to volunteer as part of the chain gang or 50/50.


Each year the organization does a general fundraiser (raffle tickets) to help keep costs down and replace and buy new equipment as needed. You have already paid for this when you register. You can sell the tickets and make your money back.  We are working towards a new facility.  If you or anyone you know would like to become a sponsor or has fundraising ideas, contact a board member or download the application from the sponsor site. We will be doing different additional fundraisers throughout the season including a pancake breakfast.


How are teams determined?

Squads are determined by age and are based on what age the child will be on August 30th of the year playing. Peewee Division is for children ages 6-7, the child must be six by August 30th of the year playing. Freshman is for children ages 8 and 9. JV is for children 10 and 11 years old and Varsity is for children who are 12-13 years old.   The league establishes "striper" guidelines for players. Players who exceed their age group weight are identified and have guidelines as far as play involvement. Most age groups will have two teams of equal caliber. Team placement is determined by the registrar according to board determined guidelines for the age group. We do not allow team changes unless there is an extenuating circumstance and is reviewed by the executive committee.

What are the costs for the football or cheerleading program?

Registration cost is $265 for football and $240 for cheerleading. Pee wee football and mascots are less. Registration includes all equipment and a jersey. The league does not provide mouth guards or athletic supporters for football players, and undergarments for cheerleaders. 

Do you have hardship applications?

Football and Cheerleading programs require a big commitment. If you or someone you know is dedicated and wants to participate, but registration costs are difficult, you may contact Dave Zarbo at david.zarbo@gmail.com


What is the last day to register for football or cheerleading?

If there are still open slots, the last day to register is August 22, 2018.   


What if I registered and now my child does not want to play? Can I get a refund?

If your child decides they do not want to play after registration, you need to fill out a Refund Request Form. Forms are available for download on the documents page. Refund requests received before the first game will be refunded the entire amount of registration fees minus fundraisers or buyouts. 

How many children are there per squad?

There is a maximum of 35 children per squad on a first come, first served basis. We do have a waitlist. 


What is an equipment deposit?

We require a $50 equipment deposit check when your child is fitted for their uniform/equipment at the beginning of the season. You are responsible for the equipment during the season. This check will be returned to you when the uniform/equipment is returned undamaged and clean when requested at the end of the season.   There are multiple uniform/equipment hand in dates. If the uniform/equipment is not returned before December 31, your equipment deposit will be cashed on January 1. If you fail to return the equipment or it is damaged you will be responsible for the cost to replace or fix the equipment. 


What equipment do I need to obtain for my cheerleader before the first game?

You will need to order at a cheerleading fitting; cheer shoes, briefs, crop top

What equipment does OP provide for my cheerleader?

We loan each cheerleader a uniform skirt and shell. Each cheerleader keeps socks, bow and a warm up suit

Can cheerleaders be less than 6 years old?

We do allow 5 year olds to cheer but they need to be entering kindergarten in the fall of the year prior and they will be a mascot. They learn all the cheers, but do not participate in mounts or competition. There is a maximum of three mascots per squad and parents must stay with the child during practices.

When do cheerleaders practice?

Cheerleaders practice 3 nights a week during the first two weeks in August due to league stunting requirements. They must complete 10 hours of practice prior to stunt participation. They then practice 2-3 nights as determined by the coach. When school starts practices will be 2 nights a week at an area elementary school or All Star gym. We will not know the exact location until the end of August due to district policy.  Practice is usually 6-8pm, but is coach determined.

Do cheerleaders have competitions?

There are multiple competitions each year as part of the competition program. Most are held on Sundays at the end of the season. Competition dates are determined each year from the available options in the area. Competitions may be between mid to end of October and beginning of November. Check the website and talk with your coaches for actual dates. We will have a competition commitment form to be signed to opt out if you so choose.

Football Player 

What equipment do I need to obtain for my football player before the first day of practice?

You will need to have, nonmetal cleats or sneakers, mouth guard that attaches to the helmet, and girdle with integrated hip and tail pad.  You can get these items at places like Laux’s Sporting Goods and Dick’s Sporting Goods.  We have a Dick's day each year where the store will honor an OPLLF discount.

What equipment does OP provide for my football player?

OP loans each player a helmet, shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads and game pants, practice pants and practice jersey.   Please do not wear game pants or game jersey during practice. These are for the games only.


How much playing time do football players receive?

Players at the pee wee and freshman level are guaranteed at least six plays per game, and often receive additional playing time.  Players are coached equally and fully participate in all practices, as well as receiving relatively equal playing time in scrimmages.  Pee-Wee and Freshman levels have different playing time requirements and play "A's" vs "A's" and "B's" vs "B's" to match skill levels and attempt to equalize playing time.

Do you suggest a minimum or maximum weight for football?

We do not have a minimum weight limit for each division. Football is a demanding sport both physically and mentally. We suggest you talk with your child about playing football and their expectations and yours. The Empire West Youth League website has the league rules.

What are the weight limits for football squads?

Peewee maximum weight limit is 90 pounds with over 91 pounds in a "striper" position. Freshman maximum weight limit is 110 pounds with over 111 pounds in a "striper" position. JV maximum weight limit is 130 pounds with over 131 pounds in a "striper" position. Varsity maximum weight limit is 155 pounds with over 156 in a "striper" position.

 What is a “striper” on the football team?

A “striper” is a football player who is over the base weight in their age group. They will be restricted to certain positions of play for safety and have a designation on their helmet. There are specific requirements for safety that need to be followed on the field. The  Empire West Youth (EWYFC) website lists the striper rules for the league.

When do football players practice?

Football squads practice at the coach’s discretion, on weekdays. Typically practices are 6pm-8pm during the summer and then approximately two-three days a week once school starts. Practice dates are determined by coach of each squad. Players must obtain a minimum number of practices (3 helmet and shorts conditioning, 3 full pads no contact conditioning and 5 full pads with contact) in order to play in games.

Other Questions
For other questions, contact a board member