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  • The Black Hills Junior Football League was formed in 1994. The formation was the result of a double levy failure in the North Thurston School District. The league was founded by John Sanders, a local youth coach, when the School District gave the go-ahead. 


  • John invested his time, money, and at times his health to get the league started. The league started off fast. Within nine days, and 168 kids, middle school teams were formed and practices were held. 


  • The first BHJFL game was played on September 17, 1994 at South Sound Stadium, where the Warriors defeated the Wolves.  The Totems (who later became the Storm) won the first league championship. The first season ended when the BHJFL All-Star team defeated an All-Star team from Juneau, Alaska. 


  • In 1998 the BHJFL allowed teams from the Tacoma area to enter the league. In 2000 John stepped down as league president, handing the reigns to Charles Farrar, who became the second league president. 


  • In 2001 the BHJFL started three youth division teams (4th, 5th and 6th grade). The Tigers, Crusaders and Ravens (later named the Raiders) played in a division formed with teams from Orting, Bethel and Lakewood. The Crusaders won the first Youth Division Championship. The following year the league started three more youth teams, the Wildcats, Hurricanes and Bulldogs. 


  • The league suffered the loss of a fine young man and former player, Brandon Johnson. The league named its All-Star MVP award after Brandon. The first winner of the award was Amir Dunn of the Storm. 


  • In 2004 the league started it’s Bantam Division made up of second through fourth grade. The Cougars won the first Bantam championship. 


  • In 2005 the league expanded out of the Lacey area, bringing in Yelm, with new teams and new friends. Also in 2005 the league cheer competition was started. 


  • In 2007 the league was hit with our biggest tragedy. Our beloved cheer coach from the Wolfpack, Elizabeth Roberts, was killed in an act of domestic violence after spending her day at the fields. The BHJFL honors Elizabeth each year with the Cheerleader Spirit Award. The first winner was Stevi Strahan of the Wolfpack. The league also started a fund for her three children and holds an annual fund raiser for Safe Place. 


  • In 2015 the league started a Flag Division for Kindergarten through second grade. The Bengals won the first Flag championship. 


  • 2016 saw the start of our new spring NFL Flag football season. The league continues to run a full spring and fall football season to date.


  • In 2018 the BHJFL started our extreme cheer team the Black Diamonds. The Black Diamonds have gone on to win numerous competitions.   

  • At the end of the 2020 season, Chuck Farrar stepped down as league president and turned the reigns over to Ruben Ramirez, who then became the third president in league history.

  • Through out its history, the BHJFL has built great relationships with leagues from Seattle, Tacoma and all around the South Sound. The BHJFL will continue to provide the best football and cheer programs in Thurston County.

Key Dates

1994: The League is Formed

9/17/94: First Game played

2001: Youth Division Starts

2003: Brandon Johnson Memorial Award Starts

2004: Bantam Division Starts

2005: Yelm Teams Start

2007: Elizabeth Roberts Memorial Award Starts

2015: Flag Division Starts

2016: Spring Flag Starts

2018: Black Diamonds Cheer Starts

League Founder

John Sanders

League Presidents

2021 to Present: Ruben Ramirez

2000-2020: Charles Farrar

1994-1999: John Sanders               

League Vice Presidents

Phillip Crump, 2020 to Present

Bill Ward, 2015-2017

Dave Nickel, 2001-2002

John Sanders, 2000-2001

Charles Farrar, 1999

Wes Hamilton, 1997-1998

Randy Worrell, 1995-1996



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