Dan Garrett began working with the Effingham Junior Football League in 1989, the second year of the city's football league.
He enjoyed watching the kids play the game of football and develop their skills.
Now, as the league prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary Saturday at Effingham High School, he still sees some of those kids from the '80s and '90s-- as they watch their own kids play in today's league.
"We are actually coaching kids today that were kids in the program when they were kids," said Garrett, who is in his second term as the JFL president. "We're into our second generation."
The league has blossomed from its initial roots of seventh and eighth grade teams with no conference, to full programs for the fifth and sixth grades as well as a conference of seven other teams. Scott Mosher founded the league in 1988, serving as its president until 1991 when Garrett took over. He left in 1998, and came back last year after Rick Schmidt stepped down as president.
The JFL had its annual season-starting Jamboree last Saturday, featuring 10 minute scrimmages on both offense and defense. The season proper begins Saturday afternoon, with Effingham taking on Charleston in all four grade levels.
The fifth-graders kick things off at 10 a.m. and the sixth-graders play at 12 p.m. After the sixth-grade game, the JFL is hosting a ceremony for any of its alumni from throughout its 25 years of existance.
"All (former) players, coaches, board members," said JFL vice president Kathleen Smith. "Anybody that's had a hand in it, we just want to get some recognition. It takes a lot to put this program on."
The seventh-grade game will begin at 2:30 p.m. and the eighth-grade will close week one at 4:30 p.m.