There are memories of better days at the Sakonnet Schooners Pop Warner Football program. There were days when their football and cheer numbers were robust, and the association was a vibrant part of the community. Over the years, however, the numbers started to dwindle, and what was once a respectable association could barely find enough kids to participate.

"When my husband and I were kids, the Sakonnet Schooners were a real part of the community here," says current president Amanda Morton. "Somewhere along the line, that was lost."

In fact, numbers became such a problem this season that there are allegations that some serious Pop Warner violations were committed. Morton acknowledged that under the previous president, there were instances of some funny business happening with player physicals.

"There were instances of missing paperwork, kids missing physicals, kids' names appearing on rosters and we weren't even sure if they were really playing," said Morton.  This tipped off the RISMA (Rhode Island Southeastern Massachusetts) Football and Spirit conference and Pop Warner back in August that there was a serious problem in Sakonnet.

But the Schooners want to (and should) tuck those dog days of summer into the past. The president and vice president have has been replaced and a new board of trustees has been put in place to help with the rebuilding.  Former President Heath Romano has been suspended from participating in any way with Pop Warner for three years.

"RISMA asked everyone to leave because no one wanted to place the blame on anyone else," said Morton. "RISMA had no proof of who was responsible."

Now, newly-elected president Amanda Morton and her vice president Keith Almeida are working hard with the new board of trustees to somehow piece the association back together.

"I got in here and realized that we have barely any equipment. Our cheer squads have literally zero uniforms. None. We have some football equipment, but we're not sure what we have because the players are currently using it to play on other teams," said Morton.

"We really need sponsors to help bring us back," she said. "We're going to have a spaghetti dinner in December. We're going to have our kids back in the community helping to volunteer. We'll have them getting involved with arts and crafts at the senior center. We just want to get the Schooners back into the forefront of the community, but we're not going to be able to do it without the help of local people that care about these kids."

What happened to these kids was unfair. They paid the price for adults making some very irresponsible decisions, leaving the kids to serve a year's suspension for Sakonnet.

None of the kids did anything wrong, and none of the current administration had anything to do with the actions that led to the suspension.

People interested in volunteering or donating to the Sakonnet Schooners can find more info on the Schooners website or on their reactivated Facebook page.

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