LOCAL TEAMS DEFECT FROM POP WARNER

rumson-dawgsThe Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs in action against Manalapan. (Photo courtesy of Pim Van Hemmen Visuals. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When gradeschool-aged football players from Middletown, Red Bank and elsewhere suit up for the gridiron later this year, it may be hard to tell any difference on the field. The uniforms will look the same, the team names will remain and the players are, for the most part, the same that have been on the field their entire recreational careers.

But there will be one major change from decades past.

The Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs will be the only local team left in the 50-year-old Jersey Shore Pop Warner League, facing teams from places such as Asbury Park and Brick Township. The others will play for a league that’s supplanted Pop Warner as the leader in recreation football — one that bills itself as “the largest youth football and youth cheer organization on Earth.”

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