Junior Rebels support Ridgewood football
Josh Karkoszka, 3, of Harwood Heights runs laps with the Junior Rebels. His three older brothers play for the Junior Rebels and Josh is an unofficial team mascot. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 28, 2012 10:29AM
NORRIDGE — A couple of Ridgewood graduates have started a traveling football team to support Ridgewood’s high school team.
More than 60 kids have joined the Junior Rebels football program this year, and one from last year, Vinny Scaletta, now plays varsity as a freshman.
“Our goal is to have more kids sign up for football at Ridgewood,” said Mike Giovannielli of Harwood Heights, team commissioner.
Giovannielli played football for Ridgewood in 1989. He helped start the team after talking with Pat Rossi, a defensive coordinator for the varsity.
“We’re trying to make the lives easier for the coaches here,” Giovannielli said.
While the Junior Rebels are an independent team, they are affiliated with the Rebels football program and try to use the same drills and terminology to prepare players for when they enter high school.
The team started practicing in August and plays Sundays in September and October in the Central Suburban Youth Football League, which includes Deerfield, Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Niles West, Northbrook, Skokie, Wilmette and Winnetka. A $150 registration fee includes a helmet and shoulder pads, plus a jersey.
The Junior Rebels head coaches, Brian Harrigian of Norridge and Dan Santucci of Norridge, both played football for Ridgewood and graduated in 2001.