Thinking of joining the Dukes? Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions. Please see the "Dukes Overview” tab for more detailed information.
Who can join the Dukes?
A. Any child living in Hillsborough, Manville, Millstone, Flagtown, Belle Mead, Neshanic, or Neshanic Station is eligible. Children must be between the ages of 5 and 15 (as of July 31st) and up to 150 pounds. In general, a passing grade point average of a minimum of 70% is required. The various age and weight ranges are listed under the "Registration” tab of this site.
Does my child have to try out to become a Duke?
A. No. The Dukes don’t hold tryouts for any of their football teams or cheer squads.
Why do you follow an Age/Weight Matrix for football? A. Pop Warner’s age schematic protects lighter/younger players from injury and allows for fair competition. Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. This creates a better learning environment for all the players.
When do we practice? A. For the 2018 season, practice begins on Wednesday, August 1st. During August, all levels practice Monday through Thursday from 6:00 to 8:30 pm (10hrs/week). Occasionally, the practice schedule may change. We do practice and play in the rain; however, we will cancel if lightening is threatening. After Labor Day the schedule will cut back to three evenings per week. The specific schedule is left to the discretion of the individual coaches.
Why do we practice so much? A. Practice is vital to understanding how to play football, how to cheer, and how to avoid injury. Per Pop Warner regulations, we devote four weeks (40 hours total) to physical conditioning. The children are trained in the techniques, strategies, tactics and skills that are needed to play smartly, safely, and are needed to avoid injury. We believe that your child’s development, knowledge and safety as a player or cheerleader depends upon this pre-season conditioning, training, and practice.
Why are vacations in August discouraged? A. The Dukes suggest that summer vacations are taken before the start of the practice season. There is a lot to learn during the month of August. The athletes need to condition and coaches need the month to evaluate and make placement decisions. However, practices in August are usually not held on Friday so that weekends are more open for family activities.
Where do we practice? A. Our practices are held on the field behind Hillsborough Elementary School ( 435 US Route 206). Mid-September, Cheer teams will begin practicing inside schools based on availablity.
When do we play our games?
A. The Jersey Valley Conference typically will schedule 8 football games for the Dukes. The first game tends to be the last Sunday in August with Labor Day weekend off. Our regular season is typically concluded by Halloween. All regular-season games are played on Sundays. The starting times of the games for each level are listed on this site, under the "Football Info” tab.
Where do we play our games?
A. Our home games (4 per season) are played at Hillsborough High School ( 466 Raider Boulevard). Our away games (4 per season) are hosted by any of the other members of the Jersey Valley Conference, occasionally the Dukes will play an out of conference game. None of our fellow-conference teams are more than a 45-minute drive away. Many are much closer. The exact game schedule will be determined and announced by late August.
Where and when will the cheerleaders perform?
A. All of our cheerleaders, cheer for their corresponding football team for home and away games. Our cheerleaders also participate in a minimum of one Cheer Competition per year. The Jersey Valley Conference Cheer Competition typically takes place in a conference area school usually in Mid-October. Should our competition-level squads (Jr. Pee-Wee and above) perform well at this competition; they may be invited to compete in successive Pop Warner competitions.
Who are your coaches?
A. Our coaches are parent volunteers who have years of experience coaching and working with athletes of all ages. All coaches are required to submit to background checks and are required to attend Pop Warner-sanctioned certification classes and coach’s clinics.
Why do I need to complete a WorkBond?
A. Home games are one of the biggest revenue-generating activities for our organization. Because the Dukes are a non-profit organization, run solely by volunteers, we depend upon multiple volunteers to organize and successfully manage a game day. The WorkBond Program is in place as a means of scheduling our volunteer staff and insuring that enough hands are available to complete the number of tasks at hand. For more detailed information, please see the "Workbond” tab on this site.