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Gridiron Glory Days

The Denmark News - Staff Photo - Create Article
Duck Creek Winery north of Denmark where October's 7 on 7 tournament will take place.
Lead Summary

7 on 7 football tournament set for Duck Creek this fall

By Jacob Heiser

A one-of-a-kind event is taking shape for this October with a celebration of Denmark Viking Football past, present and future being its main intention. On Saturday, October 14th, Duck Creek Winery just north of Denmark is set to play host to the first ever "Gridiron Glory Days"--a 7 on 7 football tournament aimed at both raising funds for Denmark Youth Football Gridiron Boosters as well as promoting a "culture of football" in the Denmark community.

The Gridiron Glory Days tournament is the brainchild of Denmark native and DHS class of 2010 alumni Ryan Henderson. Henderson says that a few years ago, he found himself fondly reminiscing about and missing his time spent on the football field in high school. "There is nothing in the world like high school football," states Henderson, noting  his time playing in college never captured the same feeling the "Friday night lights" of his high school years had. "I wanted to get that feeling back for past players," he says, explaining how the idea of an alumni 7 on 7 tournament began to take form.

Then, like so many other things, Henderson's plan hit the unexpected roadblock that was the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020. While the new world created by the pandemic put Ryan's plans on hold temporarily, the idea never truly faded from his mind and came back to the forefront earlier this summer. Henderson says he decided to try again and, after starting to put feelers out to fellow DHS football alumni, he was met with a great deal of interest and support.

Henderson says his goals for the event are "honoring players and coaches past and present" and "bringing the whole community out to support football in Denmark". He hopes the event serves as an opportunity for community members of all ages to come together and enjoy some "good old-fashioned football". He states he truly wants this to be a multi-generational event adding he would "love to see some of the 'old-timers' participate". Ryan also sees the event as a great opportunity to raise much-needed funds for the Denmark Youth Football Gridiron Booster Club in order to continue promoting the game in our schools at all ages and levels.

The first ever Gridiron Glory Days tournament is set for Saturday, October 14th at Duck Creek Winery. Starting at 9 a.m., participating teams will compete in a "round robin" to determine seeding before competing in the main single-elimination tournament starting around 10 a.m. Food and drinks will be available throughout from local vendors including Duck Creek. While the event will prominently feature past DHS Viking football players and coaches, participation is open to all ages 18 and over, not just DHS football alumni. Teams are asked to please register with organizers in advance to avoid confusion on the day of the event.

While the event is almost two months away, it has already required a great deal of time and effort from organizers. Henderson has already completed the difficult task of securing a venue for the event and is currently in the process of obtaining insurance for the day of the event. He says they will be in need of a number of volunteers and all are welcome to help out stating, "anyone who wants to partake, we'll find something for you to do". If you or someone you know are interested in playing in or helping with the event, please contact Ryan either through the Gridiron Glory Days Facebook page or his email rhollywoodhendo@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

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