Grassroots Football - Prior Seasons
Prior Seasons

Prior Seasons (108)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 17:43

2012 GYFL MVP!!!

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The Finalists for the 2012 "Grassroots Andy" Award for the Most Valuable Player of the league read like a who's who of elite 8th grade football players.  Each one of these student athletes were sensational in the 2012 season and each were worthy of winning the most prestigious award that the GYFL offers.

Here is the list of finalists:  Abdul Adamsd (Howard County Stars), Damien Jones (Charles County Heat), Eric Burrell (Howard County Stars), Steven Smothers (Baltimore Metro Stallions), Azariah Bratto-Bey (Baltimore Metro Stallions), Adrian Platt (Howard County Stars), and DeMartez "Petey" Thomas (Southern MD Wildcats).

Abdul Adams: Just a phenomenal athlete.  He did it all for the GYFL Champion Stars.  He was an elite running back who was one of the leading rushers in the league, even while splitting carries with another finalist Adrian Platt.  As a runner, he is fast and powerful.  Doesn't waste a lot of time dancing.  He ran with great body lean, read his holes quickly, made one cut and was downhill all season long.  Great speed and tenacity combined with excellent size.  He was doubly as effective as a defender.  He was a sure tackler from his LB/Safety position.  He caused timely turnovers and converted them to points for his team.  He was also a tenacious return man who consistently gave the Stars great field position.  Adams was the MVP of the Championship game and is taking his talents to Wilson HS, where he will be playing varsity as a freshman.  Adams was named offensive player of the year for the 2012 season.

Damien Jones: This kid is just an animal on the field.  He runs like a madman with power and determination.  He has great speed, but his combination of power and speed was unmatched in the league this year.  He was like a runaway freight train coming through the hole and was one of the top rushers in the league.  Another kid who does very little dancing in the hole.  As a safety, he was one of the most fierce hitters in the league this year.  He was compared to the late Sean Taylor by some who believed he was the best offensive and defensive player in the league.  He will play varsity as a freshman at St. Mary's Ryken this year.  He was named most outstanding running back for the 2012 season.

Steven Smothers: Purely electrifying athlete that is the defeinition of game breaker.  Nicknamed him "Optimus Prime" because when he puts on his uniform, he transforms into a machine.  Simply unguargable as a reciever and kick returner.  Had several game breaking catches and returns for the Stallions this summer.  Very difficult to beat as a corner back with his great instincts and closing speed.  Not afraid to come up and make tackles in the open field.  Will be special at the next level.  Will play varsity for Franklin this fall.

Azariah Bratton-Bey: We call him the Ninja and words can't describe the type of talent this kid has.  Small in stature, but the biggest heart that you will ever see.  As a running back, he just refuses to be tackled by the first or second defender.  He is just relentless with the ball.  He has quick feet, great speed and vision.  He runs so low to the ground that he is hard to even see as a defender and when you finally do see him, he is past you.  You have to see him on film to believe him.  Just a pure winner who excelled on both sides of the ball.  Will play varsity for Millford Mill this fall.

Adrian Platt: Bey and Platt are two of the most unique backs that played in the league this year.  Neither are very big.  Platt has the heart of a lion.  He is also low to ground but his vision is incredible and he will not go down easily.  Has great speed, and is a remarkable return man.  Has all the tools to be a great running back at the next level.  Will take his considerable talents to Landon school in the fall.  He is another kid who excelled as an undersized LB, but will be a great DB at the next level.

DeMartez "Petey" Thomas:  Can't say enough about this kid.  Not big by any stretch of the imagination, but his heart is as big as they come.  Played on a team that did not win a game in two years, but every game he showed up ready to play.  He played every snap on offense and every snap on defense like it was his last.  Hands down the leading tackler in the league this year.  There were games when he had 16 tackles or more.  As a running back he would always get that extra yard whether he had blocking or not.  Has the ability to be a productive runner at the next level, but it is at the LB position that he excels.  Won the award for Defensive Player of the Year.  Will take his considerable talents to St. Mary's Ryken in the fall.  Remarkable that he could be in the running for an award this prestigious on a team that did not win one game.

Eric Burrell: Burrell is simply "The Definition" of a football player.  Consequently, we call him "The Definition."  He was not the best offensive player, according to the Offensive Player of the Year award going to his teammate.  He was not the best defensive player, according to the Defensive Player of the Year award going to someone else.  He did not even win an award for most outstanding player at his position.  So how in the world can he be the GYFL Most Valuable Player and win the 1st ever Grassroots Andy Award?  Quite simply, he is the best football player that we have seen in quite some time.  As a reciever, he didn't lead the league in receptions.  His team did not throw a lot.  But, everytime they did throw the ball his way he made circus catches to win football games.  As a LB, he did not lead the league in tackles.  He had a number of good football players on his team and they shared the load.  But, everytime they needed a big stop to win a football game, it was Burrell who was making the stop.  He was a ferocious tackler and unquestioned leader of a championship defense.  He was a clutch reciever who could always be depended on.  He was a kid that did not even need Grassroots to be honest!  He had already made a name for himself, but he was committed to coming out and proving that he was the best of the best.  He did just that.  He was the kicker, the punter, and the leader of the HC Stars.  He is a great football player who will take his undeniable talents to McDonogh HS where he will play varsity in the fall and leave his mark on the the game.

Ladies and Gentlemen........  Your 2012 GYFL Player of the Year and winner of the first ever Grassroots Andy Award is Mr. Eric Burrell from the Howard County Stars!

Congratulations young man.  Represent the GYFL well and don't forget us on your way to the top.  Stay humble, always put God first, listen to your father, and STAY THIRSTY MY FRIEND!!!!!

Monday, 23 July 2012 15:02

Championship Summary 2012

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Playoff July 14th @ Landon School
6101 Wilson Ln  Bethesda, MD 20817

(6-3) Charles County Heat

   6

(8-1) Howard County Star

13

(7-2) Baltimore Metro Stallions

 24

(8-1) Montgomery County Bearcats

  8


The first ever GYFL Playoffs was a truly memorable experience.  We missed our first slate of games the week before due to extreme heat.  Then the weather report forecasted 50% chance of Thunderstorms and Lightning for Saturday right around game time!  The GYFL Nation did a lot of praying that the storms would not come and the Good Lord delivered once again.  It was a beautiful day!  The temp didn't get higher than 85 degrees and during the second game, the skies got a bit cloudy and we were concerned.  But, the storm never came and the kids had the opportunity play in peak weather conditions.

We had awesome guest appearances like always.  Commissioner Doc Walker graced us again, but this time he brought former NFL star Brian Carpenter and his awesome wife Gabrielle, who runs Excellent Options, which is an educational foundation doing amazing things for the youth of Loudoun County.  Her program was responsible for securing 1.3 Million dollars in scholarship money for the graduates of her program.  Click here to read a Washington Post article on her program. 

One of the top radio hosts in the country Kevin Sheehan of ESPN 980 came out to see what the fuss was all about and left impressed enough to talk about us on the radio Monday afternoon.  We may even get Brian Mitchell out to the Championship game.  You never know who will show up for a Grassroots event, so you have to be there.  The crowd was electric!  The stage was set.

 

Playoff Game Howard County 24 v Baltimore County 6

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We expected this game to be a thriller based on the first game that they played, which was won by Howard County 21 - 20 in one of the best football games in GYFL history.  If any of you haven't t seen that game, you need to check the week 3 Summary page, or find the game on the Video on Demand section of the home page.  It was an instant classic.

After an 8 game grueling season against elite competition, there is going to be wear and tear.  There will be injuries.  Not many kids will be fully healthy and that wasn't the case for these teams.  The good news for both teams was that with the last game of the season being cancelled for heat, both teams had a week off to heal.  Howard County actually had 2 weeks due to a forfeit by Southern MD in week 8 of the season.

They were missing their star FB/LB Sonny Csorba, who will be attending Palotti in the Fall.  For the most part, the Stars had their best players and they were ready to do.  The Heat were missing a couple of key players that had prior commitments.  Matthew Hunt, a massive OL/DL prospect headed to St. Johns in the fall had a prior vacation planned and wasn't available.  Shaquon Dyson, who is a versatile TE/WR/LB for the Heat, who is headed for Leonardtown HS in the Fall was also unavailable due to a prior camp commitment.  Even without those two, the Heat are a deep and talented team that has enough quality players to overcome the losses, just as the Stars have done with the loss of Csorba.

One of the most interesting dynamics of the game was the fact that Aaron Parker, the Heat starting QB who will play for Gwynn Park in the Fall, did not start the game.  Parker is a big strong QB, with a live arm and a lot of ability.  He put his name into the hat of one of the top QB's in the league with his performance this spring/summer.  The Heat are primarily a running team, but the have elite receivers and Parker keeps defenses from stacking the box with his ability to run, pass, and pass on the run.  We think Parker has a chance to be an elite quarterback at the high school level.  He will be playing for an outstanding program at Gwynn Park, run by a high quality coach in Danny Hayes.

Grassroots agenda is varied and versatile.  We attempt to teach a lot of lessons that kids are going to need to make it to the next level and excel.  We want to teach football lessons that our kids will need, but more importantly, we want to teach life lessons.  Commissioner Rick "Doc" Walker and I have never been more impressed with a staff than we were yesterday when we investigated the reason why Parker did not start and did not play until the second half.  I am not going to go into the specifics, but Parker was being disciplined for violating a team rule.  As the QB, Parker must learn that he is the leader of the team and has a highest level of accountability and responsibility.  He is a good kid, but we all have to learn the hard lessons if we are going to be successful.  We respect Coach Terrance Byrd and his staff for standing by their principles.  We respect Aaron Parker and his family for realizing the error, being respectful, accepting the punishment, and supporting his team during the first half.  We believe that the lesson that was taught to the entire team, to Aaron, and to the coaches, will help all of them be better football players, be better young men, and be better leaders.

We are not be any means suggesting that Parker not starting was the reason that the Heat lost the game.  The Stars have only lost one game for a reason.  They are a great team, with great players, and great coaches.   They made the plays that needed to make when they had the opportunities, and Parker does not play defense.  We just felt the need to acknowledge how proud we are of the Heat for making the priority of doing what was "right" before football.  Maybe if the staff at Penn State had done that, kids destinies would not have been altered forever.

Now to the game......

The Heat came out pounding the ground game behind the big offensive line.  Tim Ursery (Leonardtown), Warren Clements (Lackey), Anthony Whigman (Leonardtown), Jamie Higginbotham (Leonardtown), Brandon Spearman, and Terrance Davis (DeMatha) came out dominating the line of scrimmage on the opening drive. Andrew Rothstein (Ryken) added punch to the line of scrimmage. Devin Montgomery started the game at QB for Parker, handing the ball of the always dangerous Damien Jones.

Jones came out running with reckless abandon and something to prove. It looked for a moment like they were going to march right down the field and score, but when they got into the Howard County red zone, the Stars defense stiffened. Montgomery is an elite RB, who was doing an admirable job filling in for Parker and handing off, but there were a number of missed center to quarterback snaps that that were missed during the game. The Stars were able to force a turnover on downs inside their 20 yard line and they got the ball on offense and went on the move.

In the preview, we spoke highly of the Stars offensive line, which is not big, but extremely good. Nathaniel Randolph, Craig Williams Jr. (Bullis), Alex Leger, Michael Coolie (Meade), Harmadu (Hammond), Marquise Chambers, Joe Macklin (St. Johns), and Sean McCutchen were very effective as well. Adrian Platt, Abdul Adams (O’Connell), and Kevin Rankin were relatively successful running the ball, but the Charles County defense gave up very little on the ground early on as Rothstein made a bone crushing tackle on the superstar TB Platt to force a punt by Eric Burrell (McDonogh). 

The Stars punted on their first possession and the electrifying Damien Jones fielded the ball at the Heat 27 yard line yard line.  73 yards later it was quite apparent why Jones is one of the finalists for the GYFL Player of the Year Award.  He sprinted towards the right sideline, picked up a couple of blocks, turned on the speed and was tiptoeing down the sideline at the 30 of the Stars.  He cut back on a dime and sprinted back accross the field for the crowd pleasing 73 yard TD run!  Wait a minute......  The play was called back to the 50 for an illegal block.  So take the points off the board.  The run was so awesome that we had to write about it.  This kid Jones is special.

Both of these teams have explosive offenses and have put up an outrageous amount of points this season. But, the first half turned into a defensive struggle, with neither team being able to consistently move the ball. They both banged at each other all through the first half.  On the possession after the punt return, the Heat were forced to turnover on downs.  Then Howard got the ball back, but could not move it after a big sack by Jaron Bowen from Peppermill Village.  The Stars punted deep into the Heat territory and they had to start at their own 10 yard line.  Star Studded Eric Burrell, another finalist for GYFL Player of the Year lowered the boom on Jones from his LB position and set the tone that the first drive running room would be eliminated.  As the 2nd quarter rolled around, the Heat punted again.

Andrew Rothstein made another solid tackle, before Abdul Adams (GYFL Player of the Year candidate) broke off two big runs and the Stars had taken over momentum.  Armani Ceballo tried a pop pass to Burrell and he was open.  From the sideline, it looked like a sure TD before DeMarco Blount came out of nowhere to make a diving tip to break up the pass completion.  Great play by Blount on what looked to be a certain TD.  On the next play Deandre House, who is one of the best looking 8th grade athletes you will ever see, ran a perfect post route on Perrin Turner, but the pass was low and inside.  It could have been another TD.  One play later, Turner made up for the miscue by having perfect inside out coverage on House.  Ceballos tried to throw the fade pattern to him but the ball was under-thrown and Turner made a leaping interception to get the ball back to the Heat.

After a fumbled snap by the Heat put them in bad down and distance, they were forced to punt after another strong run by Jones got them close to another first down.  Without Parker in a QB, the Heat really didn't  have a pass threat and the smaller Stars were teeing off up front and shutting the Heat run game down.   The Heat punted and forced another turnover on downs on the Stars.  Charles County took over on the 45 yard line, but John Sterling and Lemond Bynoe converged on Jones to hold him to no gain.  They Bynoe was deep in the backfield on QB Devin Montgomery.  The Heat turned it back over on downs after a big stop on the ballcarrier by Criag Williams Jr (Bullis).  On the first play, the Stars went for it all to the high flying Burrell, but the Heat were in double coverage on the right sideline.  Montgomery (Ryken) came over from his safety position and made a beautiful diving interception to give the Heat the ball back at the 12 yard line.  Montgomery is a versatile football player that can play almost any position on the field.  We expect him to have a sensational HS career.  The half ended with the score 0 - 0.  It was a true slugfest.

The second half began with the Stars getting the kickoff.  Terrance "Big Squeal" Davis made a big stop.  On the next play we saw the explosiveness of Player of the Year candidate Adrian Platt.  He blasted 28 yards up the right sideline before being tackled out of bounds by Blount who saved the TD.  Adams got outside for a 10 yard gain before Ceballos rolled out to his right looking for Burrell, who was streaking up the has mark toward the end zone.  He as double covered by Blount and Perrin Turner.  However, when you have an athlete like Burrell, it is foolish to not give him a chance to make a play because most kids his age don't have the athletic ability of this kid, even the very good ones.  Blount and Turner are two very good ones, but Burrell is a freak.  All 3 of them went up for the ball, but Burrell out leaped both of them, made the catch and came down inside the one. Ceballos ran the QB sneak for the first TD of the game.  Blount made a great play to deflect the conversion pass away but the Stars led 6 - 0.

On the next series it looked like the Heat were boosted by having their starting QB back.  The OL began controlling the line of scrimmage again and Jones began to take over the game.  He had a couple of tough runs, then Joshua Chase made a nice run to the Stars 22 yard line.  Jones banged it down to the 7.  Adams came up from his safety position and went very low and took out Jones' shin.  Had Adams not taken out the shins and tried to take Jones head on, it would have been a brutal collision.  Adams is not only a great talent, he is a smart one too.  On the next play Jones scored from the 7 yard line to tie the score. 

At that point the Heat had appeared to take over the momentum and forced a quick punt.  But the Heat got a penalty for running into the kicker.  The Stars got a second chance but they still couldn't convert.  Jordan Holmes made a big play in the backfield on Adams.  Isaiah Purvis sacked Ceballos on the next play and Charles County had all the momentum.  Burrell got off a great punt and the Heat were back in business.  Then Burrell took over on defense.  After a 9 yard run by Jones and a first down catch and run by Montgomery, Burrell made a monster stop.  Then Trey Simpson got into the action with a big hit.  Burrell again on the next play with a knockout blow and the Heat turned it over on downs.

The 4th quarter started with Abdul Adams making a highlight reel run.  He got the ball and headed to the right side, he spinned off of a tackle and brought it back to the left.  He punished a DB by lowering the shoulder then turned on the speed and went for 20 up the left sideline.  House threw a bone crushing block for him.  The next play was a momentum changer.  The handoff was fumbled and Charles County had two chances to recover the fumble with great field position, but the Stars stayed after it and came up with the ball.

Platt made a nice run to the right side for 8 yards.  Adams broke off another great run of 20 yards.  Platt went for another 8 and the Stars had all the momentum.  Big Squeal made a super stop in the backfield that gave the Heat life.  On the next play, Ceballos tried to go over the top to Burrell, but Myles Plummer had great coverage and inside position.  The ball was under-thrown and the Heat made the 3rd interception of the day.  The defense was bending, but it did not break.  After an in-completion by Parker, Trey Simpson made the play of the game.  There was a heated debate with a couple of the Stars coaches regarding how often they actually create game changing strips and turnovers and the coaches pointed out they they have done it often during the season.  After seeing what Simpson did to Jones on the next play, I am becoming a believer and thinking they are actually teaching their kids how to hold up the runner and go for the strip.

Jones broke into the secondary and was being held up by Craig Williams Jr.  As Jones continued to fight for more yards, Simpson joined the tackle, but instead of trying to take Jones to the ground, he began snatching at the ball.  He jarred the ball loose and recovered the fumble!  After a nice run by Platt to the 13, the Heat caused a 3rd and 4, but an offsides call gave the Stars the ball at the 7.  After 3 costly interceptions, none of us thought the Stars would call another pass play for Ceballos, but that is exactly what they did.

Ceballas had House on a skinny post and he put the ball right on him.  He had inside position on the long-armed Myles Plummer and he had inside position.  House got his hands on the good pass and it looked like it would be complete at the 2, but Plummer did not give up on the ball.  He wrapped his right hand around House and got it on the ball, then pulled it out before House could bring it in for possession.  Great play by Plummer.  Devin Montgomery came up from his safety spot to make 2 big tackles and push it to forth and goal from the 7.  Once again, there was no way T.  White would call another pass play would he?  Well guess what.......  When you have a player like Burrell for 3 months and you will never have him again, I guess you just have to ride him.

He spread out wide right with Turner on him one on one.  He ran a hard post at the end zone and created space.  Blount came over from his safety position, but he was a split second too late.  Ceballos put the ball right on the money and Burrell made the play like he ALWAYS does.  Eric Burrell...... 6 points....  TD!  After Ceballos made a great ball fake and rolled out to his left for the extra point conversion, he hit House in the back of the end zone for the extra point.  The score was 13 - 6, Stars with 2:31 left on the clock.  That was plenty of time for the Heat.

Jones got a great Kick return out over the 50, which put the Heat in position to make a thrilling comeback.  But, disaster almost struck on the next play with a fumbled exchange between Parker and Montgomery.  This time there were 2 Stars who had a shot at the ball to end the game, but they did not get it.  The Heat recovered but they lost yardage.  On the next play, Parker threw a quick screen to the receiver in the right flat, but Deandre House smelled it and was all over it.  He pushed the receiver backwards and Simpson finished him off.  On 4th down and about 20 yards to go, Parker was flushed out of the pocket towards his own sideline.  As a right handed player, he would have had to throw across his body to try to make a play, but with it being 4th down he had no choice other than to throw it up and see what happened, or the game was over.  He chose to run out of bounds short of the first down....... Game Over!  Congratulations Stars.  They knelt down twice to run out the clock and advanced their way to the championship in style.

 

Playoff Game #2  Baltimore Metro 24 Montgomery County 8

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The score for game 2 was not as close as the first game, but it was not any less exciting.  This game had big plays, big runs, special teams and may have been more exciting actually.  Kasim "The Dream" Hill was back at QB for the Stallions after missing a couple of games with a concussion.  If there is a better 7th grade QB in the area, I most certainly have not seen nor heard of him.  He is on his way to Gilman middle school in the Fall for his 8th grade year.  The kid is big, fast, mobile, has a strong arm and is very accurate.  It is almost unfair for him to have the receivers to throw to.  Morgan Scroggins AKA "Next Level Slim" is just a fabulous football player.  He is one of the best 8th grade cornerbacks in the area, as well as one of the best receivers.  This kid has not been 100% physically all year, but makes big plays every time he touches the ball.  He will take his considerable skills to Calvert Hall in the Fall and he already has a scholarship offer to Youngstown State in his pocket before he touched a high school field.  Scroggins can do it all on the football field and will be an absolute star at the next level.  I don't think there is any doubt about that.

On the other side, Hill has Steven "Optimus Prime" Smothers to throw to.  I take a fair share of heat from some people that think I pour too much praise on this kid by stating that I believe he will be the next Stefon Diggs.  Only time will tell whether or not that is true.  When I say that, I am referring to the type of player, the style of play, and the whole package that he brings to the game.  At this stage of his development as an 8th grader he is dominant with the ball against his peers, and if he continues to develop as I believe he will, I see no reason why he can't be in Stefon's class as a senior.   But as an 8th grader, all you have to do is watch the film and let it speak for itself.  I call him "Optimus Prime" because when he puts that  uniform on he transforms into a football playing machine.  As a corner, he has shutdown capabilities.  As a reciever and kick returner, he is just spectacular and don't apologize for stating it.

Hill even has other weapons on the perimeter.  Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks (Gilman) is a hard hitting safety who loves to hit on defense, but is a very capable receiver as well.  Juan Campbell is small in stature, but big in heart and ability.  He is a game breaker type of kid who has a knack for the big play this summer.  The Stallions have an offensive and defensive line that plays with heart and passion.  Jonathan Tynes is the QB of the line at center, Javon Childs, Myron Turner, Montrez Watt (who is a versatile athlete that can play many positions), and Dujuan Dallas all bring the noise and did a good job blocking for star running backs Azariah Bratton-Bey, AKA "The Ninja" and The Law Firm Johnson Lloyd.  They all had big games on this day.

The undefeated Montgomery County Bearcats were trying to do something that had never been done before in the 3 year GYFL history and that was go through the season undefeated.  We had not had any team make it through the regular season undefeated, much be crowned as an undefeated champion.  Baltimore won the first championship with 2 losses and DC won last year with 1 loss on their record.  The Bearcats were trying to do the unthinkable and were the favorites to get it done.

They are very deep and loaded at every position.  They are a hard nosed, bread and butter running team, that will hit you with the slant, the 9 cut, and the wheel route when you give it to them, but for the most part they rely on great offensive line play and terrific running backs and they have a host of them.  Kyle Loughner, Cody Peterson, Charlie Siarkas, Jack Stubbs, and newcomer Kojo Dingle have been dominant all year long.  7th Grader Jalen Lea was nursing a bad foot and did not play much offense on this day, but he Bearcats have plenty of depth.  Lea will be one of the most highly sought after prospects in the 8th grade class this year.

We are looking forward to seeing him dominant national competition this year on the Maryland State Team for FBU.  Lea will not only be a national name locally, but after FBU, he will be a nationally known commodity, just as Terrance Davis, Lo Lo Harrison, and Steven Smothers became after FBU.  On another note, any parents of rising 6, 7, or 8 graders who believe their son has elite talent would be remiss not to attend the FBU evaluation this coming Saturday morning,  July 21st from 10am to 2pm at Riverdale Baptist School prior to our Championship game.  FBU is where the best in the country come out and show their stuff and you need to be there.  Click here for registration information. 

I go into great detail about all these tremendous athletes in the Playoff Preview so I won't bore you with the accolades and superlatives again.  To see a detailed synopsis on all of the players for Mo Co, as well as the other 3 playoff teams, CLICK HERE.  I get very excited when I think about these kids and I find myself wanting to talk about them to the detriment of the write up sometimes, so I just caught myself.  Read the preview to learn all about Hill, Stott, Beander, Wanat, Woodyard, and all the big time talent on the Bearcat roster.

To the game.......

Moco started out controlling clock like they do so well.  They ate up much of the first quarter with the ground game using Lee, who started in place of the hobbling Daqwan Hill.  Lee is lightning and Hill is Thunder.  They will make a dynamic duo at Good Counsel in the future that may make fans forget about Wes Brown and Dorian O'Daniel if you can believe that.  Lee started it off with some good tough runs, as did Wanat.  Doc Bonner, the 6th grade sensation at QB failed to connect with multi-talented Juron Woodyard on a post pattern with 6th grade DB from Baltimore (via Delaware) Tavion Washington broke on the ball and made a great deflection.  Tavion is a baller and takes after his big brother Taj who is a playmaker for the Stallions.  A couple of plays later, Bonner threw the same pattern and Woodyard made the catch in front of Smothers. 

Myron Turner and the Baltimore boys stiffened up and stopped the Bearcats on downs inside the red zone.  When the Stallions took over, their running game was stopped in it's tracks early on, but on 4th down they ran a fake punt and AZ Bratton-Bey took the fake up the middle, made a move, hurdled over a defender and exploded 30 yards up the field for the Stallions giving them momentum.  Hill threw the fade pattern to Scroggins up the left sideline.  He made a great catch, but made it out of bounds due to the outstanding coverage by 7th Grader Carleton Taylor (Gilman Middle).  This kid is going to be awesome a the next level and we would love to get him on the FBU team this year.  On the next play we had an Optimus Prime sighting.  Hill hit Smothers on a quick out.  He shook the first defender and showed the quickness with a burst up the right sideline for 20 yards.  As the quarter changed, the Stallions found themselves in 4th and long.  Hill threw another fade pattern to Scroggins, but Taylor was in great coverage once again and forced the incompletion.

On the Bearcats next possession, 7th grade phenom Marvin Beander broke off a quick 8 yard run, but the Stallions defense stopped the Bearcats on 2 straight plays and forced them to punt.  What made them punt the ball to Smothers was beyond my comprehension, but they did.  Smothers did what he does.  He fielded the punt at this own 27 and transformed into Optimus.  He scooted up the middle, broke to the outside, turned on the jets, shook a couple of defenders and he was gone.  He had one man to beat, and that man was Carlton Taylor.  Taylor gave great effort to put himself in position to try to make a play.  A Baltimore defender trying to help his team was overzealous and made a bad block in the back on Taylor.  Smothers scintillating TD return was brought back to the 33 yard line. 

On the following play, Zionnez Spencer came in at QB.  "Zeke" is an exceptional athlete who is a better runner than Hill.  Baltimore likes to keep the defense guessing.  Spencer was being flushed out of the pocket to his right and threw off of his back foot.  The ball hung a bit and Juron Woodyard read the play from beginning to end.  He jumped the route and picked the ball off at the Bearcat 26 yard line.  Woodyard showed a burst of speed that was absolutely remarkable.  Juan Campbell has excellent speed and he was the intended receiver.  Woodyard pulled away from Campbell and outran Spencer who can also fly and had an angle on him.  Juron Woodyard is a speedster who took the INT all the way back for 6.  Instead of Baltimore being in the lead on Smother's exciting return, Woodyard upped the ante with the Pick 6.  Bonner kicked the conversion, which gave the Bearcats and 8 - 0 lead.

Baltimore got the ball back and "The Ninja" went to work.  He got the hand off at the 24 with no where to go, so it seemed.  Bey made a quick move and dipped inside.  He bounced out to the left sideline and turned on the burners.  60 yards later, Woodyard pushed him out at the 15 yard line.  Woodyard may have been the only DB fast enough to keep Bey from scoring.  Two tough runs by Johnson Lloyd got the ball in the end zone for an 8 - 6 score after the failed conversion.   When Mo Co got the ball, Jonathan Lee and Beander moved the chains.  Then "The Takeover" Eric Arvinger made a big stop in the backfield to slow the Bearcats roll.  On the next play, Bonner put one up over the middle and The Law Firm Johnson Lloyd stepped in front of it and picked it off, bringing it back into Bearcat territory.  The kid Johnson is just a football player's football player.  He is big, tough, smart, and athletic.  He has a bright future.   As the clock ran down in the 2nd quarter, Hill tried to throw the fade route to Scroggins again, but that man Taylor was in his hip pocket and picked the ball off in the end zone.

The second half started off with a bang, courtesy of Smothers.  He took the kickoff at the 20 yard line, transformed into Optimus Prime ran straight through the heart of the coverage team and by the time he hit the 50 yard line, it was a wrap.  He sprinted the last 50 yards like he was running in his own track meet with no competition.  It was 12 - 8 just like that!  On defense, AZ Bey and Johnson Lloyd made consecutive stops, then Bonner tried to hit Stott on a slant.  As Travon Stott and Morgan Scroggins lined up one on one against each other, we were looking at 2 Division 1 prospect football players go head to head.  There were D-1's all over that field but the Stott/Scroggins, Smothers/Woodyard matchups were particularly interesting.  On this play, Scroggins jumped the route and made a perfectly timed interception for the Stallions.

On the next possession, "The Ninja" bounced outside again for a nice run.  After he was forced out of bounds, he kept running and Stott kept coming.  He made contact with Bey, or Bey made contact with him depending on your vantage point.  After Bey went down and popped back up, the bone from his elbow was clearly dislocated and horrified all of us who saw it.  I began screaming for the trainer, while Bey tried to grab his elbow, hide it, and go back out on the field.  The kid had a dislocated elbow and did not even flinch.  He didn't cry.  He didn't frown.  He appeared to be more angry with us for calling the ambulance.  Azariah Bratton Bey is not only one of the best football players that I have seen in Grassroots this year or any other year.  He is one of the toughest kids I have ever seen.  Doc Walker was in disbelief at the toughness of this kid.  As was Brian Carpenter.   Bey is headed for Milford Mill in the Fall and I expect that he will have an unreal HS career.  I pray that he focuses on his grades and continues to play with the passion that he currently does.  he reminds me of Ray Rice.  He is very special. 

The loss of Bey seemed to inspire his teammates.  After a few unsuccessful attempts downfield, from about the 20 yard line, Smothers was one on one with Stott.  Hill threw the fade route.  Smothers got to the outside of Stott and he could feel Smothers to his right, but he lost sight of the ball when he turned his head.  Smothers slipped back inside of Stott in the end zoneand made the diving catch for the TD, pushing the score to 18 - 8 with a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  Beander slipped up the middle for 10 on the draw.  Then Arvinger stopped Wanat in the backfield.  After Beander made a couple more slick runs to move the chains, Bonner tried to go back upstairs to the end zone against Scroggins.  Going against Scroggins was a mistake as he picked off his second pass of the day to thwart the Bearcat comeback as the 3rd quarter came to an end.

Cedric Content (Blake) made another outstanding football play on Zeke Spencer.  Content is another in a long line of elite defenders that wear the Bearcat uniform.  His potential is limitless.  On the next drive, Jonathan Lee made a couple of big time runs to move the chains and get the Bearcats down to the 20 yard line and back in the red zone.   There was enough time to get back in the game if they could score on this possession, and they had the momentum.  But, on the next play Bonner tried to throw the slant to Stott, but Taj Washington had dropped under the curl and Juan Campbell was over the top.  Stott could not get to the spot and Campbell made another great interception on his 10 yard line.  The Stallions when from defense to offense in a hurry and Campbell had a convoy.  Taj Washington showed a level of unselfish teamwork that lets you know how passionate he is about his teammates.  He ran for 60 straight yards making blocks.  Troy Hollis gave the same effort and Campbell showed great running skills as he weaved his way to about the 30 yard line, then cut all the way back across the grain for a 90 yard return.  Jonathan Wanat showed tenacity in chasing him all the way down the field but Campbell was too fast.  90 yard TD..... Game OVER!

There was still some time left on the clock, but the Bearcats don't have a quick strike offense and kept the ball on the ground for the most part.  Lee made some more tough runs, but on the first pass attempt, Brandon Freeman got a big sack on Bonner.   After a great effort run by Lee, Bonner hit Woodyard on a sweet 20 yard pass and catch.  When it looked like Mo Co might be able to get back on the board, Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks made a got a sack on Bonner.   Then Spencer sacked Bonner and he coughed up the ball that was recovered by Shanks.  Shanks returned it 25 yards before being brought down.  All that was left was for Hill to take a knee 3 times and run out the clock. 

Congratulations Baltimore Metro Stallions for a great playoff game!

Monday, 23 July 2012 14:12

2012 Championship Game Summary

Written by

Championship July 21st @ Riverdale Baptist
1133 Largo Road Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

(7-3) Baltimore Metro Stallions 6; (9-1) Howard County Stars 24


On Saturday July 21st, Grassroots Bowl III brought an end to the 3rd season of the GYFL.  It was an amazing ride!  For the first 3 years, we never had 1 drop of rain at any of our games and we always considered that a blessing.  This year we did have to cancel 1 week of games due to intense heat and we had our Championship Game was in danger of being rained out!  One of the things we always do is thank God for the way He has blessed the league and our kids since the very beginning of this concept.  We set out on a mission to provide an outlet for youth football players to maximize their abilities, to play against elite competition that would make them better, and to showcase their talent like never before.

In three years, we have more success stories than I can even begin to mention.  God has been so good to us, so I don't even think about questioning the rain for Grassroots Bowl III.   It changed some things for us for sure.  We had partnered with Extra Point Productions to run the game day operations.  Tony Kennedy and his staff were going to "set it out" for the kids and the fans with some pre-game festivities that would have invigorated the crowd.  We were planning to break out the tents and put the smoke machines out so that the teams would get the experience of blasting through the smoke and the starters on offense for Baltimore would be announced the way the NFL does it, and the Howard County defense would be announced.  You can't do all of that stuff in the rain, so our plans were thwarted.  We tried our best to compensate, but we fell short a bit on the secondary introductions.  We had a DJ scheduled to come out and he actually came and set up, but the rain was getting on his equipment and he had to shut down.

With that being said, we were stunned to have the crowd that we had in that rain.  I looked up and saw all of those people and I couldn't believe it.  I can't thank you guys enough for coming out and supporting us.  I learned a lot about the GYFL fans!  You guys are in it with us no matter what I love you for it.  I dont' believe God makes mistakes so whatever His reasons were, we got the rain and we proved that we could persevere through it.  Maybe that was the message.  The kids came out and played their hearts out and we are so proud of them all.

To the Game.......

 

Championship Game: Howard County 24 vs Baltimore Metro 6

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Friday, 20 July 2012 17:21

2012 Championship Game Preview

Written by

Championship July 21st @ Riverdale Baptist
1133 Largo Road Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Football University Evaluation (All  6th, 7th, and 8th Graders 10am
(7-2) Baltimore Metro Stallions vs (8-1) Howard County Stars
  5pm


The Championship Game will be phenomenal guys.  We are pitting two of the elite teams in the league that are at the top of their games.  Try to get there early as we will have some pre-game pageantry and excitement for you!

As far as the teams go and trying to pick a winner, I just can't do it!!!!  Both teams are just too good.  I will never underestimate the Stars, their kids, and their coaching staff again.  I am just afraid to pick against them.  Every time I pick against them, it puts the other team at a disadvantage because Coach T. White and his star studded coaching staff take it personally.  Then they tell the kids and parents and they get pissed off.  By the time the parents get through with the kids, they play with a fury that is unfair to the competition.  So, I just can't pick against them.

On the Baltimore side, they are the same way.  The kids don't feel like they get the respect that the other kids get.  The feel marginalized and overlooked at times.  They play with a chip on their shoulder the size of a brick. They get mad when I pick against them too.  They have too much talent and speed already, so to add fury and anger to the mix is a bad mixture for the opponents.  I am going to leave my picks for next season's opening round of games.

In this case, it is too close to call anyway.  Both teams are absolutely loaded.  Neither are very big up front but they are very good.  They both have mind boggling athletes at all the skill positions, and they are well coached.  For those that did not get a chance to read the playoff breakdown, I will provide one last breakdown of the players strengths and weaknesses.  In the event where I know which high schools kids are going to, I will list them.

Stars Outlook:  On the offensive line, they don't have a bunch of big name stars.  They have a group of disciplined and focused football players that consistently open up holes against defensive lines that outweigh them week in and week out.  It doesn't matter to these kids.  Their technique is flawless and they go about the business of getting it done.  Offensive linemen rarely get shine.  It is the ones that don't care about the shine that go the farthest.  With that being said, I try to consistently give these kids shine because they are the ones that make it possible for the glamour boys to do their thing.  Nathaniel Randolph, Craig Williams Jr. (Bullis), Alex Leger, Michael Coolie, Harmadu M, Marquise Chambers, Joe Macklin, and Sean McCutchen all get it done.  The have consitently opened the holes for Abdul Adams (O'Connell) and Adrian Platt to put their hats in the race for GYFL Player of the Year.  Adams and Platt are both finalists, but they can thank the offensive line, FB, TE and the WR's who have sacrificed their games to block for them.  No running back can thrive without an effective offensive line, so kudos to this group.

As I said in the playoff preview, their WR core is second to none in the GYFL.  De'Andre House (Hammond) is as wonderful an athlete that you will see at this age.  He threw a block in the playoff game that made my teeth clinch.  He has the ability to play D-1 football.  He has size, speed, hands, an the whole package.  Trey Simpson is cat quick and elusive.  He can break a game at any moment.  Simpson is a shutdown corner who saved the game last week with a strip and fumble recovery.  Aaron Hansford (St. Johns) is a big physical receiver with speed that can make plays, who had a shoulder injury in the playoff game that limited him. 

I repeat again, Eric Burrell (McDonogh) is arguably the best player in the GYFL, and he showed it on offense and defense in the playoff game.  He jumped a whole foot over two defenders to make a circus catch last week to put the Stars in position for their first score and caught the game winning TD pass.  As a LB, he led the charge is  slowing down Damien Jones last week, which is not easy to do.  Kid is a Great football player and the sky is the limit for his potential.  I will leave it at that.  You figure out the rest.  If he stays hungry and humble, watch out.

At QB, the Stars have two kids who are capable of winning for them.  Armani Ceballlos is the starter and has been solid all year finding Burrell and House, just as he did in the playoff game.  He had a rough passing day overall, but when the chips were down and the Stars needed a big throw, Ceballos made the throw.  Keshaun Ebron (O'Connell) is a sensational athlete who can do it all from the QB position.  He is a dual threat QB who can run and throw.  The Stars use their QB's interchangeably and keep defenses off guard because they are so different.

In the backfield, the Stars are absolutely loaded.  They lost one of the best players on the team and in the league as far as I am concerned with FB Sonny Csorba (Palotti) went down with a foot injury, but the Stars rolled on.  Abdul Adams is a game breaking type runner with outstanding speed and decision making.  He hits the hole hard and fast every time, makes one cut and he is off to the races.  He has done it against the good teams and the not so good ones.  He is like an ax that just keeps chopping away at the tree until it finally falls.  He had a run last were where he started to the right, spinned to elude a defender, cut back the left side of the field, lowered his shoulder and mauled a cornerback, then turned on the jets.  He has it all.  Great player with a bright future.

Adrian Platt is flat out special!  This kid is extremely durable.  He runs violently, never afraid of contact.  He can shake and bake when need be.  He can run you over if need be.  He has a vicious spin move and if he sees a crack he will NOT get caught.  Great KR man as well.  Both of these kids will be elite at the next level.  His vision is superior.  He is a very patient runner who is always poking and prodding and looking for a crease.  When it he finds it you can forget about it.  Very special player who will excel at the next level.

Defensively, just like with the Heat, the OL double as DL and do a great job with Randolph and Williams being the standouts.  Platt doubles as a LB, along with Burrell who is big time.   From the defensive backfield, the Stars throw a stream of athletes at you who all tackle well.  Lemond Bynoe, Jaquan Bell, John Sterling (Palotti), all contribute heavily to the Stars defense.  House and Simpson hold down the corners and are elite.  Aaron Hansford makes huge plays on the defensive side of the ball.

This is ateam that has no weaknesses. 

Stallions Outlook:  Baltimore is loaded with talent once again. As I said last week, this team looks similar to the 2010 team that won the inaugural GYFL Championship, but they may even be better.   They did not have a QB on that team that could destroy you through the air like they have this year.  They had very good receivers then, but not like the ones they have now.  They had an excellent running back then, but not the depth that they have now.

They don't have quite as dominant a OL and DL as they had in 2010, that was anchored by Raymond "Hungry Jack" Jackson, who gobbled up offensive lineman like breakfast, and Orlando "Little Zues" Brown who was massive at 14 years old.   But, these kids are tough in the trenches and battle tested. They are not very deep there, but they are very good. Javon Childs brings the beef to the OL. Jonathan Tynes brings the stability and experience. Myron Turner, Dujuan Dallas, and Montreze Watt bring the toughness. Murad Hussain does an outstanding job at the TE/DE position. Turner and Watt are relentless and passionate.  They bring the fire to the team.

The WR’s for the Stallions are insane. Morgan Scroggins “Next Level Slim” has already been offered a scholarship by Youngstown State before he set foot on a high school field. He has the speed, the hands, and the quickness to make big plays in an instant. Scroggins has an amazing interception last week against the Bearcats.  You could see his entire skillset on the leap, the catch and the run back.  The ceiling for this kid is so high you need a ladder to paint it.  He is the ultimate shutdown corner breaks on the ball and has instincts like a cat.  He doubles as a game breaking WR who can catch anything with the speed to go to the house.  He can run back punts, he can run back kicks, and he can even play QB if  you need him to.  He will be a star at Calvert Hall.  Unbelievable talent.

Steven Smothers, AKA “Optimus Prime” is one of the most exciting 8th grade receivers that we have seen in 3 years and has been dubbed the Next Stefon Diggs by many, including me. He can do it all. He is fast, explosive, has great elusiveness, and a passion to be the best. he was a one man wrecking crew last week against Baltimore.  He ran a punt back 73 yards for a TD, where you saw the whole package.  It was called back by an unnecessary block in the back, but he had done his damage and showed off the skills well before the block.  He caught a TD pass, where he had to make a beutiful adjustment to the ball, then make a diving catch on a future D-1 DB.  He capped off the day with a scintillating 80yard kickoff return right through the heart of the defense.  He was uncatchable by the time he hit the 50 yard line.  Kid is ridiculous.  Franklin HS is getting a game breaker with this kid.  Watch out HS and college football.  Here comes Optimus Prime.  I call him the head Transformer because when he puts on the uniform, he just transforms into a machine!

Taj Washington is a versatile athlete that can play any position on the field. He can catch it, run, and from what we hear, he can throw it too. Juan Campbell broke the DC game open with a catch and TD run in the final 2 minutes. He doesn't get a lot of action from the WR position, but he has proven what he can do when he touches the ball.  He did it once again in the playoff game.  Kid has an uncanny knack for the football and the endzone.  Had I not already given the nickname "Pick 6" to Trevon Diggs, this kid would have it.  Gotta think of another one for him.  Special player.  Picked one off Saturday and took it back 80 yards to seal the deal for the Stallions.

The RB’s are fabulous. Johnson Lloyd “The Law Firm” is one of the most complete backs in the GYFL. He runs very hard and tough.  May be going to Millford Mill.  He is not a game breaker, but he has good enough speed. He is a terror between the tackles, as he showed on his TD run last week.  The HS coaches are Riverdale Baptist in PG County were asking me about him this week. His running mate Malik Alston is a tank with legs. He pulverizes defenders with his power. He has a low center of gravity and is tough to tackle.

Azariah Bratton-Bey, AKA “AZ”, AKA “The Ninja” is just ridiculous with the ball in his hands. He is not big by any means like Alston and Johnson, but he is quick as a hiccup and runs as hard as any 200lb running back. He refuses to go down on 1st , 2nd, or 3rd contact. The kid plays football like he is playing for his life. He has the game breaking speed.  I have never seen a tougher kid than Bey, as exemplified by his being taken to the hospital last week.  This kid got hit and pushed slightly out of bounds.  Either he didn't realize he was out of bounds, or he didn't care and wanted more contact because a second defender was coming at him and he lunged back into him to get some more.  When he hit the ground his elbow pops out of the socket. 

I see it and almost start crying like a little girl calling for the trainer.  He never cries, never flinches, or even looks like he is hurt.  He tries to hide it and go running back onto the field!  We force him to sit down and it is clear that his elbow is dislocated and grotesque.  All he wants somebody to do is pop it back in so he can go play.  Kid never cried or even grimaced.  He just went to the hospital, called me later that night to see if he could play in the championship game with a cast.......... NO KID!  You have done enough.  I love this kid.  He reminds me of Ray Rice.  He will be one of the best HS football players in the state.  I hear he is going to Milford Mill.  That means we will need to start following Milford Mill because wherever "The Ninja" is going to be playing, that is where I am going to be on Saturdays.  The Stars are fortunate that they don't have to see him, but it evens the playing field but the Great FB Sonny Csorba is out for the Stars, so checkmate.

The QB is a 7thh grade sensation named Kasim Hill. Kasim has missed two games with a concussion but was back for the playoff game where he was not lights out, but very productive.  Maybe I put too much pressure on this kid by hyping him so much, but I stake my reputation on my belief that he will be the number 1 QB in the State before he graduates from Gilman.  I believe that he is that good.  My old QB Chris Baucia is his QB trainer and will be coaching him up for 4 years.  He will get plenty of time to develop because they won't need to throw him to the wolves over there at Gilman.  He is a good athlete that can run when he has to, but he is not a runner. He is a pure drop back passer that can make all of the throws. He is calm, cool, collected and has all the poise that you want in a QB. We expect him to have a standout HS football career, but he still has to get through the 8th grade. He will have a ton of weapons to get the ball to on Saturday with Smothers and Scroggins.  Expect a bid day from him.

Defensively, once again the OL double as DL. Childs and Turner lead the way from the DT positions, but Eric Arvinger absolutely takes over games with his speed rush off the end. Therefore, we gave them the nickname “Takeover.” He was not dominant in the  playoff game, but played well.  Hit me on facebook later to tell me that he would not disappoint me in the Championship game.  I was happy with what he did last week, but he is a perfectionist and a pass rushing aficionado.  Watt has a motor that won’t quit for the Stallions. Travon Hollis was injured in practice and was not able to play last week or this week, but he is a menace and has been all year.  His brother Troy Hollis terrorizes from linebacker and DL positions, along with Alston.  The Hollis Twins will be at Calvert Hall terrorizing opponents in the MIAA for 4 years. 

Lloyd and Hussain are solid and effective as well. In the defensive backfield, Scroggins and Smothers are both shutdown corners who excel in man to man coverage. Campbell is equally as effective. Taj Washington plays big in the secondary and his 6th grade little brother Tavion is a future star who made an amazing pick against DC to get them to the playoffs. The Stallions control the safety position with Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks covering sideline to sidelines and unloading on receivers and running backs.  Shanks is a ball hawk who loves contact and will have a great career at Gilman.

Monday, 16 July 2012 20:14

2012 Playoff Summary 7/14

Written by

Playoff July 14th @ Landon School
6101 Wilson Ln  Bethesda, MD 20817

(6-3) Charles County Heat

   6

(8-1) Howard County Star

13

(7-2) Baltimore Metro Stallions

 24

(8-1) Montgomery County Bearcats

  8


The first ever GYFL Playoffs was a truly memorable experience.  We missed our first slate of games the week before due to extreme heat.  Then the weather report forecasted 50% chance of Thunderstorms and Lightning for Saturday right around game time!  The GYFL Nation did a lot of praying that the storms would not come and the Good Lord delivered once again.  It was a beautiful day!  The temp didn't get higher than 85 degrees and during the second game, the skies got a bit cloudy and we were concerned.  But, the storm never came and the kids had the opportunity play in peak weather conditions.

We had awesome guest appearances like always.  Commissioner Doc Walker graced us again, but this time he brought former NFL star Brian Carpenter and his awesome wife Gabrielle, who runs Excellent Options, which is an educational foundation doing amazing things for the youth of Loudoun County.  Her program was responsible for securing 1.3 Million dollars in scholarship money for the graduates of her program.  Click here to read a Washington Post article on her program. 

One of the top radio hosts in the country Kevin Sheehan of ESPN 980 came out to see what the fuss was all about and left impressed enough to talk about us on the radio Monday afternoon.  We may even get Brian Mitchell out to the Championship game.  You never know who will show up for a Grassroots event, so you have to be there.  The crowd was electric!  The stage was set.

Both games were extremely entertaining and exciting. 

 

Playoff Game #1 Howard County 13 v Charles County 6

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We expected this game to be a thriller based on the first game that they played, which was won by Howard County 21 - 20 in one of the best football games in GYFL history.  If any of you haven't t seen that game, you need to check the week 3 Summary page, or find the game on the Video on Demand section of the home page.  It was an instant classic.

After an 8 game grueling season against elite competition, there is going to be wear and tear.  There will be injuries.  Not many kids will be fully healthy and that wasn't the case for these teams.  The good news for both teams was that with the last game of the season being cancelled for heat, both teams had a week off to heal.  Howard County actually had 2 weeks due to a forfeit by Southern MD in week 8 of the season.

They were missing their star FB/LB Sonny Csorba, who will be attending Palotti in the Fall.  For the most part, the Stars had their best players and they were ready to do.  The Heat were missing a couple of key players that had prior commitments.  Matthew Hunt, a massive OL/DL prospect headed to St. Johns in the fall had a prior vacation planned and wasn't available.  Shaquon Dyson, who is a versatile TE/WR/LB for the Heat, who is headed for Leonardtown HS in the Fall was also unavailable due to a prior camp commitment.  Even without those two, the Heat are a deep and talented team that has enough quality players to overcome the losses, just as the Stars have done with the loss of Csorba.

One of the most interesting dynamics of the game was the fact that Aaron Parker, the Heat starting QB who will play for Gwynn Park in the Fall, did not start the game.  Parker is a big strong QB, with a live arm and a lot of ability.  He put his name into the hat of one of the top QB's in the league with his performance this spring/summer.  The Heat are primarily a running team, but the have elite receivers and Parker keeps defenses from stacking the box with his ability to run, pass, and pass on the run.  We think Parker has a chance to be an elite quarterback at the high school level.  He will be playing for an outstanding program at Gwynn Park, run by a high quality coach in Danny Hayes.

Grassroots agenda is varied and versatile.  We attempt to teach a lot of lessons that kids are going to need to make it to the next level and excel.  We want to teach football lessons that our kids will need, but more importantly, we want to teach life lessons.  Commissioner Rick "Doc" Walker and I have never been more impressed with a staff than we were yesterday when we investigated the reason why Parker did not start and did not play until the second half.  I am not going to go into the specifics, but Parker was being disciplined for violating a team rule.  As the QB, Parker must learn that he is the leader of the team and has a highest level of accountability and responsibility.  He is a good kid, but we all have to learn the hard lessons if we are going to be successful.  We respect Coach Terrance Byrd and his staff for standing by their principles.  We respect Aaron Parker and his family for realizing the error, being respectful, accepting the punishment, and supporting his team during the first half.  We believe that the lesson that was taught to the entire team, to Aaron, and to the coaches, will help all of them be better football players, be better young men, and be better leaders.

We are not be any means suggesting that Parker not starting was the reason that the Heat lost the game.  The Stars have only lost one game for a reason.  They are a great team, with great players, and great coaches.   They made the plays that needed to make when they had the opportunities, and Parker does not play defense.  We just felt the need to acknowledge how proud we are of the Heat for making the priority of doing what was "right" before football.  Maybe if the staff at Penn State had done that, kids destinies would not have been altered forever.

Now to the game......

The Heat came out pounding the ground game behind the big offensive line.  Tim Ursery (Leonardtown), Warren Clements (Lackey), Anthony Whigman (Leonardtown), Jamie Higginbotham (Leonardtown), Brandon Spearman, and Terrance Davis (DeMatha) came out dominating the line of scrimmage on the opening drive. Andrew Rothstein (Ryken) added punch to the line of scrimmage. Devin Montgomery started the game at QB for Parker, handing the ball of the always dangerous Damien Jones.

Jones came out running with reckless abandon and something to prove. It looked for a moment like they were going to march right down the field and score, but when they got into the Howard County red zone, the Stars defense stiffened. Montgomery is an elite RB, who was doing an admirable job filling in for Parker and handing off, but there were a number of missed center to quarterback snaps that that were missed during the game. The Stars were able to force a turnover on downs inside their 20 yard line and they got the ball on offense and went on the move.

In the preview, we spoke highly of the Stars offensive line, which is not big, but extremely good. Nathaniel Randolph, Craig Williams Jr. (Bullis), Alex Leger, Michael Coolie (Meade), Harmadu (Hammond), Marquise Chambers, Joe Macklin (St. Johns), and Sean McCutchen were very effective as well. Adrian Platt, Abdul Adams (O’Connell), and Kevin Rankin were relatively successful running the ball, but the Charles County defense gave up very little on the ground early on as Rothstein made a bone crushing tackle on the superstar TB Platt to force a punt by Eric Burrell (McDonogh). 

The Stars punted on their first possession and the electrifying Damien Jones fielded the ball at the Heat 27 yard line yard line.  73 yards later it was quite apparent why Jones is one of the finalists for the GYFL Player of the Year Award.  He sprinted towards the right sideline, picked up a couple of blocks, turned on the speed and was tiptoeing down the sideline at the 30 of the Stars.  He cut back on a dime and sprinted back accross the field for the crowd pleasing 73 yard TD run!  Wait a minute......  The play was called back to the 50 for an illegal block.  So take the points off the board.  The run was so awesome that we had to write about it.  This kid Jones is special.

Both of these teams have explosive offenses and have put up an outrageous amount of points this season. But, the first half turned into a defensive struggle, with neither team being able to consistently move the ball. They both banged at each other all through the first half.  On the possession after the punt return, the Heat were forced to turnover on downs.  Then Howard got the ball back, but could not move it after a big sack by Jaron Bowen from Peppermill Village.  The Stars punted deep into the Heat territory and they had to start at their own 10 yard line.  Star Studded Eric Burrell, another finalist for GYFL Player of the Year lowered the boom on Jones from his LB position and set the tone that the first drive running room would be eliminated.  As the 2nd quarter rolled around, the Heat punted again.

Andrew Rothstein made another solid tackle, before Abdul Adams (GYFL Player of the Year candidate) broke off two big runs and the Stars had taken over momentum.  Armani Ceballo tried a pop pass to Burrell and he was open.  From the sideline, it looked like a sure TD before DeMarco Blount came out of nowhere to make a diving tip to break up the pass completion.  Great play by Blount on what looked to be a certain TD.  On the next play Deandre House, who is one of the best looking 8th grade athletes you will ever see, ran a perfect post route on Perrin Turner, but the pass was low and inside.  It could have been another TD.  One play later, Turner made up for the miscue by having perfect inside out coverage on House.  Ceballos tried to throw the fade pattern to him but the ball was under-thrown and Turner made a leaping interception to get the ball back to the Heat.

After a fumbled snap by the Heat put them in bad down and distance, they were forced to punt after another strong run by Jones got them close to another first down.  Without Parker in a QB, the Heat really didn't  have a pass threat and the smaller Stars were teeing off up front and shutting the Heat run game down.   The Heat punted and forced another turnover on downs on the Stars.  Charles County took over on the 45 yard line, but John Sterling and Lemond Bynoe converged on Jones to hold him to no gain.  They Bynoe was deep in the backfield on QB Devin Montgomery.  The Heat turned it back over on downs after a big stop on the ballcarrier by Criag Williams Jr (Bullis).  On the first play, the Stars went for it all to the high flying Burrell, but the Heat were in double coverage on the right sideline.  Montgomery (Ryken) came over from his safety position and made a beautiful diving interception to give the Heat the ball back at the 12 yard line.  Montgomery is a versatile football player that can play almost any position on the field.  We expect him to have a sensational HS career.  The half ended with the score 0 - 0.  It was a true slugfest.

The second half began with the Stars getting the kickoff.  Terrance "Big Squeal" Davis made a big stop.  On the next play we saw the explosiveness of Player of the Year candidate Adrian Platt.  He blasted 28 yards up the right sideline before being tackled out of bounds by Blount who saved the TD.  Adams got outside for a 10 yard gain before Ceballos rolled out to his right looking for Burrell, who was streaking up the has mark toward the end zone.  He as double covered by Blount and Perrin Turner.  However, when you have an athlete like Burrell, it is foolish to not give him a chance to make a play because most kids his age don't have the athletic ability of this kid, even the very good ones.  Blount and Turner are two very good ones, but Burrell is a freak.  All 3 of them went up for the ball, but Burrell out leaped both of them, made the catch and came down inside the one. Ceballos ran the QB sneak for the first TD of the game.  Blount made a great play to deflect the conversion pass away but the Stars led 6 - 0.

On the next series it looked like the Heat were boosted by having their starting QB back.  The OL began controlling the line of scrimmage again and Jones began to take over the game.  He had a couple of tough runs, then Joshua Chase made a nice run to the Stars 22 yard line.  Jones banged it down to the 7.  Adams came up from his safety position and went very low and took out Jones' shin.  Had Adams not taken out the shins and tried to take Jones head on, it would have been a brutal collision.  Adams is not only a great talent, he is a smart one too.  On the next play Jones scored from the 7 yard line to tie the score. 

At that point the Heat had appeared to take over the momentum and forced a quick punt.  But the Heat got a penalty for running into the kicker.  The Stars got a second chance but they still couldn't convert.  Jordan Holmes made a big play in the backfield on Adams.  Isaiah Purvis sacked Ceballos on the next play and Charles County had all the momentum.  Burrell got off a great punt and the Heat were back in business.  Then Burrell took over on defense.  After a 9 yard run by Jones and a first down catch and run by Montgomery, Burrell made a monster stop.  Then Trey Simpson got into the action with a big hit.  Burrell again on the next play with a knockout blow and the Heat turned it over on downs.

The 4th quarter started with Abdul Adams making a highlight reel run.  He got the ball and headed to the right side, he spinned off of a tackle and brought it back to the left.  He punished a DB by lowering the shoulder then turned on the speed and went for 20 up the left sideline.  House threw a bone crushing block for him.  The next play was a momentum changer.  The handoff was fumbled and Charles County had two chances to recover the fumble with great field position, but the Stars stayed after it and came up with the ball.

Platt made a nice run to the right side for 8 yards.  Adams broke off another great run of 20 yards.  Platt went for another 8 and the Stars had all the momentum.  Big Squeal made a super stop in the backfield that gave the Heat life.  On the next play, Ceballos tried to go over the top to Burrell, but Myles Plummer had great coverage and inside position.  The ball was under-thrown and the Heat made the 3rd interception of the day.  The defense was bending, but it did not break.  After an in-completion by Parker, Trey Simpson made the play of the game.  There was a heated debate with a couple of the Stars coaches regarding how often they actually create game changing strips and turnovers and the coaches pointed out they they have done it often during the season.  After seeing what Simpson did to Jones on the next play, I am becoming a believer and thinking they are actually teaching their kids how to hold up the runner and go for the strip.

Jones broke into the secondary and was being held up by Craig Williams Jr.  As Jones continued to fight for more yards, Simpson joined the tackle, but instead of trying to take Jones to the ground, he began snatching at the ball.  He jarred the ball loose and recovered the fumble!  After a nice run by Platt to the 13, the Heat caused a 3rd and 4, but an offsides call gave the Stars the ball at the 7.  After 3 costly interceptions, none of us thought the Stars would call another pass play for Ceballos, but that is exactly what they did.

Ceballas had House on a skinny post and he put the ball right on him.  He had inside position on the long-armed Myles Plummer and he had inside position.  House got his hands on the good pass and it looked like it would be complete at the 2, but Plummer did not give up on the ball.  He wrapped his right hand around House and got it on the ball, then pulled it out before House could bring it in for possession.  Great play by Plummer.  Devin Montgomery came up from his safety spot to make 2 big tackles and push it to forth and goal from the 7.  Once again, there was no way T.  White would call another pass play would he?  Well guess what.......  When you have a player like Burrell for 3 months and you will never have him again, I guess you just have to ride him.

He spread out wide right with Turner on him one on one.  He ran a hard post at the end zone and created space.  Blount came over from his safety position, but he was a split second too late.  Ceballos put the ball right on the money and Burrell made the play like he ALWAYS does.  Eric Burrell...... 6 points....  TD!  After Ceballos made a great ball fake and rolled out to his left for the extra point conversion, he hit House in the back of the end zone for the extra point.  The score was 13 - 6, Stars with 2:31 left on the clock.  That was plenty of time for the Heat.

Jones got a great Kick return out over the 50, which put the Heat in position to make a thrilling comeback.  But, disaster almost struck on the next play with a fumbled exchange between Parker and Montgomery.  This time there were 2 Stars who had a shot at the ball to end the game, but they did not get it.  The Heat recovered but they lost yardage.  On the next play, Parker threw a quick screen to the receiver in the right flat, but Deandre House smelled it and was all over it.  He pushed the receiver backwards and Simpson finished him off.  On 4th down and about 20 yards to go, Parker was flushed out of the pocket towards his own sideline.  As a right handed player, he would have had to throw across his body to try to make a play, but with it being 4th down he had no choice other than to throw it up and see what happened, or the game was over.  He chose to run out of bounds short of the first down....... Game Over!  Congratulations Stars.  They knelt down twice to run out the clock and advanced their way to the championship in style.

 

Playoff Game #2  Baltimore Metro 24 Montgomery County 8

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The score for game 2 was not as close as the first game, but it was not any less exciting.  This game had big plays, big runs, special teams and may have been more exciting actually.  Kasim "The Dream" Hill was back at QB for the Stallions after missing a couple of games with a concussion.  If there is a better 7th grade QB in the area, I most certainly have not seen nor heard of him.  He is on his way to Gilman middle school in the Fall for his 8th grade year.  The kid is big, fast, mobile, has a strong arm and is very accurate.  It is almost unfair for him to have the receivers to throw to.  Morgan Scroggins AKA "Next Level Slim" is just a fabulous football player.  He is one of the best 8th grade cornerbacks in the area, as well as one of the best receivers.  This kid has not been 100% physically all year, but makes big plays every time he touches the ball.  He will take his considerable skills to Calvert Hall in the Fall and he already has a scholarship offer to Youngstown State in his pocket before he touched a high school field.  Scroggins can do it all on the football field and will be an absolute star at the next level.  I don't think there is any doubt about that.

On the other side, Hill has Steven "Optimus Prime" Smothers to throw to.  I take a fair share of heat from some people that think I pour too much praise on this kid by stating that I believe he will be the next Stefon Diggs.  Only time will tell whether or not that is true.  When I say that, I am referring to the type of player, the style of play, and the whole package that he brings to the game.  At this stage of his development as an 8th grader he is dominant with the ball against his peers, and if he continues to develop as I believe he will, I see no reason why he can't be in Stefon's class as a senior.   But as an 8th grader, all you have to do is watch the film and let it speak for itself.  I call him "Optimus Prime" because when he puts that  uniform on he transforms into a football playing machine.  As a corner, he has shutdown capabilities.  As a reciever and kick returner, he is just spectacular and don't apologize for stating it.

Hill even has other weapons on the perimeter.  Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks (Gilman) is a hard hitting safety who loves to hit on defense, but is a very capable receiver as well.  Juan Campbell is small in stature, but big in heart and ability.  He is a game breaker type of kid who has a knack for the big play this summer.  The Stallions have an offensive and defensive line that plays with heart and passion.  Jonathan Tynes is the QB of the line at center, Javon Childs, Myron Turner, Montrez Watt (who is a versatile athlete that can play many positions), and Dujuan Dallas all bring the noise and did a good job blocking for star running backs Azariah Bratton-Bey, AKA "The Ninja" and The Law Firm Johnson Lloyd.  They all had big games on this day.

The undefeated Montgomery County Bearcats were trying to do something that had never been done before in the 3 year GYFL history and that was go through the season undefeated.  We had not had any team make it through the regular season undefeated, much be crowned as an undefeated champion.  Baltimore won the first championship with 2 losses and DC won last year with 1 loss on their record.  The Bearcats were trying to do the unthinkable and were the favorites to get it done.

They are very deep and loaded at every position.  They are a hard nosed, bread and butter running team, that will hit you with the slant, the 9 cut, and the wheel route when you give it to them, but for the most part they rely on great offensive line play and terrific running backs and they have a host of them.  Kyle Loughner, Cody Peterson, Charlie Siarkas, Jack Stubbs, and newcomer Kojo Dingle have been dominant all year long.  7th Grader Jalen Lea was nursing a bad foot and did not play much offense on this day, but he Bearcats have plenty of depth.  Lea will be one of the most highly sought after prospects in the 8th grade class this year.

We are looking forward to seeing him dominant national competition this year on the Maryland State Team for FBU.  Lea will not only be a national name locally, but after FBU, he will be a nationally known commodity, just as Terrance Davis, Lo Lo Harrison, and Steven Smothers became after FBU.  On another note, any parents of rising 6, 7, or 8 graders who believe their son has elite talent would be remiss not to attend the FBU evaluation this coming Saturday morning,  July 21st from 10am to 2pm at Riverdale Baptist School prior to our Championship game.  FBU is where the best in the country come out and show their stuff and you need to be there.  Click here for registration information. 

I go into great detail about all these tremendous athletes in the Playoff Preview so I won't bore you with the accolades and superlatives again.  To see a detailed synopsis on all of the players for Mo Co, as well as the other 3 playoff teams, CLICK HERE.  I get very excited when I think about these kids and I find myself wanting to talk about them to the detriment of the write up sometimes, so I just caught myself.  Read the preview to learn all about Hill, Stott, Beander, Wanat, Woodyard, and all the big time talent on the Bearcat roster.

To the game.......

Moco started out controlling clock like they do so well.  They ate up much of the first quarter with the ground game using Lee, who started in place of the hobbling Daqwan Hill.  Lee is lightning and Hill is Thunder.  They will make a dynamic duo at Good Counsel in the future that may make fans forget about Wes Brown and Dorian O'Daniel if you can believe that.  Lee started it off with some good tough runs, as did Wanat.  Doc Bonner, the 6th grade sensation at QB failed to connect with multi-talented Juron Woodyard on a post pattern with 6th grade DB from Baltimore (via Delaware) Tavion Washington broke on the ball and made a great deflection.  Tavion is a baller and takes after his big brother Taj who is a playmaker for the Stallions.  A couple of plays later, Bonner threw the same pattern and Woodyard made the catch in front of Smothers. 

Myron Turner and the Baltimore boys stiffened up and stopped the Bearcats on downs inside the red zone.  When the Stallions took over, their running game was stopped in it's tracks early on, but on 4th down they ran a fake punt and AZ Bratton-Bey took the fake up the middle, made a move, hurdled over a defender and exploded 30 yards up the field for the Stallions giving them momentum.  Hill threw the fade pattern to Scroggins up the left sideline.  He made a great catch, but made it out of bounds due to the outstanding coverage by 7th Grader Carleton Taylor (Gilman Middle).  This kid is going to be awesome a the next level and we would love to get him on the FBU team this year.  On the next play we had an Optimus Prime sighting.  Hill hit Smothers on a quick out.  He shook the first defender and showed the quickness with a burst up the right sideline for 20 yards.  As the quarter changed, the Stallions found themselves in 4th and long.  Hill threw another fade pattern to Scroggins, but Taylor was in great coverage once again and forced the incompletion.

On the Bearcats next possession, 7th grade phenom Marvin Beander broke off a quick 8 yard run, but the Stallions defense stopped the Bearcats on 2 straight plays and forced them to punt.  What made them punt the ball to Smothers was beyond my comprehension, but they did.  Smothers did what he does.  He fielded the punt at this own 27 and transformed into Optimus.  He scooted up the middle, broke to the outside, turned on the jets, shook a couple of defenders and he was gone.  He had one man to beat, and that man was Carlton Taylor.  Taylor gave great effort to put himself in position to try to make a play.  A Baltimore defender trying to help his team was overzealous and made a bad block in the back on Taylor.  Smothers scintillating TD return was brought back to the 33 yard line. 

On the following play, Zionnez Spencer came in at QB.  "Zeke" is an exceptional athlete who is a better runner than Hill.  Baltimore likes to keep the defense guessing.  Spencer was being flushed out of the pocket to his right and threw off of his back foot.  The ball hung a bit and Juron Woodyard read the play from beginning to end.  He jumped the route and picked the ball off at the Bearcat 26 yard line.  Woodyard showed a burst of speed that was absolutely remarkable.  Juan Campbell has excellent speed and he was the intended receiver.  Woodyard pulled away from Campbell and outran Spencer who can also fly and had an angle on him.  Juron Woodyard is a speedster who took the INT all the way back for 6.  Instead of Baltimore being in the lead on Smother's exciting return, Woodyard upped the ante with the Pick 6.  Bonner kicked the conversion, which gave the Bearcats and 8 - 0 lead.

Baltimore got the ball back and "The Ninja" went to work.  He got the hand off at the 24 with no where to go, so it seemed.  Bey made a quick move and dipped inside.  He bounced out to the left sideline and turned on the burners.  60 yards later, Woodyard pushed him out at the 15 yard line.  Woodyard may have been the only DB fast enough to keep Bey from scoring.  Two tough runs by Johnson Lloyd got the ball in the end zone for an 8 - 6 score after the failed conversion.   When Mo Co got the ball, Jonathan Lee and Beander moved the chains.  Then "The Takeover" Eric Arvinger made a big stop in the backfield to slow the Bearcats roll.  On the next play, Bonner put one up over the middle and The Law Firm Johnson Lloyd stepped in front of it and picked it off, bringing it back into Bearcat territory.  The kid Johnson is just a football player's football player.  He is big, tough, smart, and athletic.  He has a bright future.   As the clock ran down in the 2nd quarter, Hill tried to throw the fade route to Scroggins again, but that man Taylor was in his hip pocket and picked the ball off in the end zone.

The second half started off with a bang, courtesy of Smothers.  He took the kickoff at the 20 yard line, transformed into Optimus Prime ran straight through the heart of the coverage team and by the time he hit the 50 yard line, it was a wrap.  He sprinted the last 50 yards like he was running in his own track meet with no competition.  It was 12 - 8 just like that!  On defense, AZ Bey and Johnson Lloyd made consecutive stops, then Bonner tried to hit Stott on a slant.  As Travon Stott and Morgan Scroggins lined up one on one against each other, we were looking at 2 Division 1 prospect football players go head to head.  There were D-1's all over that field but the Stott/Scroggins, Smothers/Woodyard matchups were particularly interesting.  On this play, Scroggins jumped the route and made a perfectly timed interception for the Stallions.

On the next possession, "The Ninja" bounced outside again for a nice run.  After he was forced out of bounds, he kept running and Stott kept coming.  He made contact with Bey, or Bey made contact with him depending on your vantage point.  After Bey went down and popped back up, the bone from his elbow was clearly dislocated and horrified all of us who saw it.  I began screaming for the trainer, while Bey tried to grab his elbow, hide it, and go back out on the field.  The kid had a dislocated elbow and did not even flinch.  He didn't cry.  He didn't frown.  He appeared to be more angry with us for calling the ambulance.  Azariah Bratton Bey is not only one of the best football players that I have seen in Grassroots this year or any other year.  He is one of the toughest kids I have ever seen.  Doc Walker was in disbelief at the toughness of this kid.  As was Brian Carpenter.   Bey is headed for Milford Mill in the Fall and I expect that he will have an unreal HS career.  I pray that he focuses on his grades and continues to play with the passion that he currently does.  he reminds me of Ray Rice.  He is very special. 

The loss of Bey seemed to inspire his teammates.  After a few unsuccessful attempts downfield, from about the 20 yard line, Smothers was one on one with Stott.  Hill threw the fade route.  Smothers got to the outside of Stott and he could feel Smothers to his right, but he lost sight of the ball when he turned his head.  Smothers slipped back inside of Stott in the end zoneand made the diving catch for the TD, pushing the score to 18 - 8 with a little over 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  Beander slipped up the middle for 10 on the draw.  Then Arvinger stopped Wanat in the backfield.  After Beander made a couple more slick runs to move the chains, Bonner tried to go back upstairs to the end zone against Scroggins.  Going against Scroggins was a mistake as he picked off his second pass of the day to thwart the Bearcat comeback as the 3rd quarter came to an end.

Cedric Content (Blake) made another outstanding football play on Zeke Spencer.  Content is another in a long line of elite defenders that wear the Bearcat uniform.  His potential is limitless.  On the next drive, Jonathan Lee made a couple of big time runs to move the chains and get the Bearcats down to the 20 yard line and back in the red zone.   There was enough time to get back in the game if they could score on this possession, and they had the momentum.  But, on the next play Bonner tried to throw the slant to Stott, but Taj Washington had dropped under the curl and Juan Campbell was over the top.  Stott could not get to the spot and Campbell made another great interception on his 10 yard line.  The Stallions when from defense to offense in a hurry and Campbell had a convoy.  Taj Washington showed a level of unselfish teamwork that lets you know how passionate he is about his teammates.  He ran for 60 straight yards making blocks.  Troy Hollis gave the same effort and Campbell showed great running skills as he weaved his way to about the 30 yard line, then cut all the way back across the grain for a 90 yard return.  Jonathan Wanat showed tenacity in chasing him all the way down the field but Campbell was too fast.  90 yard TD..... Game OVER!

There was still some time left on the clock, but the Bearcats don't have a quick strike offense and kept the ball on the ground for the most part.  Lee made some more tough runs, but on the first pass attempt, Brandon Freeman got a big sack on Bonner.   After a great effort run by Lee, Bonner hit Woodyard on a sweet 20 yard pass and catch.  When it looked like Mo Co might be able to get back on the board, Shamar "Ball So Hard" Shanks made a got a sack on Bonner.   Then Spencer sacked Bonner and he coughed up the ball that was recovered by Shanks.  Shanks returned it 25 yards before being brought down.  All that was left was for Hill to take a knee 3 times and run out the clock. 

Congratulations Baltimore Metro Stallions for a great playoff game!

Sunday, 15 July 2012 18:33

2012 Playoff Summary

Written by

Playoff July 14th @ Landon School
6101 Wilson Ln  Bethesda, MD 20817

(6-3) Charles County Heat
   6
(8-1) Howard County Stars
13
(7-2) Baltimore Metro Stallions
 24 (8-1) Montgomery County Bearcats
  8

The first ever GYFL Playoffs was a truly memorable experience.  We missed our first slate of games the week before due to extreme heat.  Then the weather report forecasted 50% chance of Thunderstorms and Lightning for Saturday right around game time!  The GYFL Nation did a lot of praying that the storms would not come and the Good Lord delivered once again.  It was a beautiful day!  The temp didn't get higher than 85 degrees and during the second game, the skies got a bit cloudy and we were concerned.  But, the storm never came and the kids had the oppourunity play in peak weather conditions.

Both games were extremely entertaining and exciting.  When we get the film tomorrow morning, I will provide one of the most detailed summaries that you have ever read, but for the initial summary, I will go off of memory and give you the best I can.


Game #1: Charles County Heat vs Howard County
Stars
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KWe expected this game to be a thriller based on the first game that they played, which was won by Howard County 21 - 20 in one of the best football games in GYFL history.  If any of you haven't t seen that game, you need to check th week 3 Summary page, or find the game on the Video On DeMand section of the home page.  It was an instant classic.

After an 8 game grueling season against elite competition, there is going to be wear and tear.  There will be injuries.  Not many kids will be fully healthy and that wasn't the case for these teams.  The good news for both teams was that with the last game of the season being cancelled for heat, both teams had a week off to heal.  Howard County actually had 2 weeks due to a forfiet by Southern MD in week 8 of the season.

They were missing their star FB/LB Sonny Csorba, who will be attending Palotti in the Fall.  For the most part, the Stars had their best players and they were ready to do.  The Heat were missing a couple of key players that had prior committments.  Matthew Hunt, a massive OL/DL prospect headed to St. Johns in the fall had a prior vacation planned and wasn't available.  Shaquon Dyson, who is a versatile TE/WR/LB for the Heat, who is headed for Leonardtown HS in the Fall was also unavailable due to a prior camp committment.  Even without those two, the Heat are a deep and talented team that has enough quality players to overcome the losses, just as the Stars have done with the loss of Csorba.

One of the most interesting dynamics of the game was the fact that Aaron Parker, the Heat starting QB who will play for Gwynn Park in the Fall, did not start the game.  Parker is a big strong QB, with a live arm and a lot of ability.  He put his name into the hat of one of the top QB's in the league with his performance this spring/summer.  The Heat are primarily a running team, but the have elite recievers and Parker keeps defenses from stacking the box with his ability to run, pass, and pass on the run.  We think Parker has a chance to be an elite quarterback at the high school level.  He will be playing for an outstanding program at Gwynn Park, run by a high quality coach in Danny Hayes.

Grassroots agenda is varied and versatile.  We attempt to teach a lot of lessons that kids are going to need to make it to the next level and excel.  We want to teach football lessons that our kids will need, but more importantly, we want to teach life lessons.  Commissioner Rick "Doc" Walker and I have never been more impressed with a staff than we were yesterday when we investigated the reason why Parker did not start and did not play until the second half.  I am not going to go into the specifics, but Parker was being disciplined for violating a team rule.  As the QB, Parker must learn that he is the leader of the team and has a highest level of accountability and responsibilty.  He is a good kid, but we all hae to learn the hard lessons if we are going to be successful.  We respect coach Terrance Byrd and his staff for standing by their principles.  We respect Aaron Parker and his family for realizing the error, being respectful, accepting the punishment, and supporting his team during the first half.  We believe that the lesson that was taught to the entire team, to Aaron, and to the coaches, will help all of them be better football players, be better young men, and be better leaders.

We are not be any means suggesting that Parker not starting was the reason that the Heat lost the game.  The Stars have only lost one game for a reason.  They are a great team, with great players, and great coaches.   They made the plays that needed to made when they had the opportunities, and Parker does not play defense.  We just felt the need to acknowledge how proud we are of the Heat for making the priority of doing what was "right" before football.  Maybe if the staff at Penn State had done that, kids destinies would not have been altered forever.

Now to the game......

The Heat came out pounding the ground game behind the big offensive line. 

 

 
Game #1: Charles County Heat vs Howard County
Stars
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Sunday, 08 July 2012 22:46

2012 Playoff Preview

Written by

Please Note that the game times have been Moved up 1 hour on Saturday July 14th.  The first game is at 3pm!

 

Playoff July 14th @ Landon School
6101 Wilson Ln  Bethesda, MD 20817

#3 Charles County Heat

 vs 

#2 Howard County Stars

3pm

#4 Baltimore Metro Stallions

 vs

#1 Montgomery County Bearcats

5pm


Hindsight is the only way to truly evaluate whether a decision was good or not.  We believe we made the right decision by not playing last Saturday July 7th.  It truly was "Hotter Than July."

In future years, our entire season will have ended by the last week in June, including the playoffs, championship, and Super Star North vs South game that we will introduce next year.  As a matter of fact, because we plan on starting so early next year, the masses of players will be finished by the end of May.  We should be able to avoid the intense heat next July that we are experiencing this July.

Thank God we made the right decision and it did not negatively affect the playoffs in any form or fashion.  Our 4 playoff teams were already set and the only question was whether or not Charles County or Baltimore would end up with #3 seed.  Since we did not get to play that head to head match up to determine, we went to our 2nd tiebreaker, which was point differential.  Charles County got the 3rd seed because they had a +150 point differential to Baltimore Metro's +116.


Playoff Preview:

We are not going to make predictions this week because it would truly be foolish to do so.  These teams are far too evenly matched.  The talent is too deep.  The coaching is too good.  Predictions on this one would be like flipping a coin.  I have no idea how to pick these games.  They both played each other in the regular season and it took a last minute TD pass by Montgomery County to come back against Baltimore in week 4 at the same Landon field where the rematch will take place.  The Howard County Charles County game was a 1 point thriller and instant GYFL classic game played at Episcopal in week 3.  Each team has improved since week 3 and 4 and with much more film study, and two weeks to prepare, we can only expect two of the best football games that we have seen in GYFL history on Saturday July 14th @ Landon School.  My prediction is to be there or be sorry!


Game Breakdowns:

Game #1: Charles County Heat vs Howard County Stars

Heat Outlook:  This will be a classic match up of great coaching going head to head with one another.  Coach Terrance Byrd and his staff have been nothing short of phenomenal since taking their second loss in a row back in week 3 against these same Howard County Stars. Coach Byrd is the commissioner of the Mighty Westlake Bulldogs who are one of the titans of youth football in the state of Maryland.  He has assembled and outstanding staff and I distinctly remember the look on Terrance's face after the Heat lost the second game in a row.  The record was 1 - 2.  The team as stunned and in shock because they are loaded with talent at every position.  The parents were in disbelief as well.

Many prognosticators had seen their roster, which is loaded with future Division 1 football prospects and practically handed them the GYFL title.  I spoke to Terrance that night after the game and he shared with me that the last time he coached a team that lost two games in a row, he went on a win streak that lasted two consecutive years without a loss.  He vowed that he would go back to the drawing board, insist that his parents got those kids to practice consistently, and insist that the kids made a commitment to the Heat football team or turn their uniforms in.  

Kids made decisions to leave their AAU basketball teams, track teams, and make the commitment that needed to be made to win in a league as competitive as the GYFL.  They were facing the defending Champion an undefeated DC Warriors in the next game and they looked unbeatable after 3 straight blow outs.  Not only did the Heat put on a show that week against the Warriors in front of representatives from Rival.com and the University of Maryland coaches, but they have not looked back since and not lost a game.  As a matter of fact, they have averaged over 40 points a game in the final 4 games and have looked very impressive doing it.

I have made no apologies for touting the Charles County Heat offensive line.  Tim Ursery, Warren Clements, Anthony Whigman, Jamie Higginbotham, Brandon Spearman, Matthew Hunt, and Terrance Davis should be household names by now.  If you don't know the names yet, get used to them.  If they continue to develop and work hard they will all be major contributors to the high schools that they will attend.  Don't be surprised to see some of them playing on Saturdays on TV in a few years.  They are that good.

Andrew Rothstein holds it down from his TE position and is a fierce blocker who showed his pass catching and runnign skills off during the Fairfax game.  Shaquon Dyson is one of the best kept secrets on the team and is one of the best athletes in the league.  He can play TE, WR, or wherever you need him to play.  He has sacrificed his individual glory for the good of the team.  But, make no mistake, he will be a star at the High School level. 

At the WR position they feature two big, fast, athletes who can get it done for your.  Jayson Johnson and Jordan Holmes both have impressive physiques that are taylor made for D-1.  Alec Martin is the game breaker with the speed and hands to make any QB look good.   He has made a series of highlight reel catches this year and we don't expect him to be satisfied.  At QB, Aaron Parker has just gotten better and better each week as his confidence soars.  He has great size, a strong arm, he can run when need be, but has shown great poise in pressure situations.

In the backfield, they are fierce.  They have a combination of thunder and lightning in Devin Montgomery and Damien Jones.  Montgomery is quick, elusive, tough, and can read and set up blocks with the best of them.  Jones is a flat out animal.  The kid is a machine.  He is big.  He runs through people.  He runs around people.  He runs over people.  He is fearless with the ball and thrives contact.  He has the speed to take it to the house on any play and he is very durable.  He is a D-1 coach’s dream.

They can replace the backs with Joshua Chase and Perrin Turner who  have star potential in their own right but sacrifice their stats for the good of the team.

On defense, many of the better kids go both ways.  Most of the offensive linemen double as defensive lineman with Hunt and Davis dominating the trenches.  Dyson is a problem coming off the edge.  Rothstein, Holmes, and Johnson are lights out LB's.  DeMarco Blount has made big plays from the secondary position.  Myles Plummer has been solid all year long. Perrin Turner is a shutdown corner.  Aaron Holliday has played well as of late from the secondary, as has Isaiah Purvis.  Montgomery and Jones double as safeties for the Heat and do a great job.  Jones patrols the secondary with reckless abandon and makes it detrimental for WR's to come across the middle.

The Heat have no weakness that we can see.  So how could they have lost 2 games?  The competition is ridiculous at the top of this league!


Stars Outlook:  The Stars don't have quite the same amount of depth as the Heat, nor do they have the massive size on their OL/DL.  However, what they lack in size and depth, they more than make up for in talent and coaching.  It took me almost half the season before I became true and absolute believers in this team.  I always knew the coaching was premiere.  Coach T. White has over 20 years in youth football coaching.  He is a former NFL player, college coach, HS coach and nobody knows more about the game of football than T. White.  He put together an All Star organization first!  He did not put a coaching staff together first when he came into the league.  He put together an ORGANIZATION from the top down.

He ran this thing like a business!  He had his daughter set up a website before he recruited one kid or one coach so the Stars would have credibility as an organization.  He linked his 501c3 tutoring and enrichment program to the Stars so that the parents he recruited would understand that joining them meant much more than joining a football team.  T. White had a vision and it is coming to life right before our eyes.  T. White had been supporting and observing Grassroots for the past two years.  He recruited a number of the Baltimore players on last years team over to St. Frances, where he was the defensive coordinator.  After the Fall season he called me and told me that God put it on his heart to start a team in the GYFL.  I told him I was planning on starting a Howard County Team in the spring of 2013 and even though many of his kids would come from Northern PG County and the Laurel area, I would give him that region to begin play in 2013.  He told me that his plan was to come into the 2012 season.  I thought he was crazy.  It was November of 2011 at the time and I didn't think there was enough time to do it right!  I guess I didn't realize who I was talking to.

T. White galvanized the troops.  He set up that organization like a business.  He recruited an All Star coaching staff from some of the best youth clubs in the region, and they set out to recruit!  Boy did they recruit.  The rest is history.  When I first saw their roster, I thought they were going to be too small up front to stay with the size of the Heat, the Bearcats, the Warriors, etc.  I failed to measure the size of their hearts.

On the offensive line, they don't feature any players.  They just roll out a group of tough as nails, hard nose kids, that play hard every play like their lives depended on it.  Nathaniel Randolph, Craig Williams Jr., Alex Leger, Michael Coolie, Harmadu M, Marquise Chambers, Joe Macklin, and Sean McCutchen all get it done.

Their WR core is second to none in the GYFL.  De'Andre House is as wonderful an athlete that you will see at the middle school level.  He has size, speed, hands, an the whole package.  Trey Simpson is cat quick and elusive.  He can break a game at any moment.  Ronnie Rountree was a integral part of the crew before a season ending injury took him out.  Aaron Hansford is a big physical receiver with speed that can make plays.  Eric Burrell is arguably the best player in the GYFL.  As receiver is a dependant position and WR's can't throw the ball to themselves, Burrell may not have the overall statistics to make that claim, but all you have to do is know football, and watch this kid play.  You can see how special he is on both sides of the ball.

At QB, the Stars have two kids who are capable of winning for them.  Armani Ceballlos is the starter and has been solid all year finding Burrell and House.  He is especially adept at throwing the 9 route up the sidelines.  Keshaun Ebron is a sensational athlete who can do it all from the QB position.  He is a dual threat QB who can run and throw.  The Stars use their QB's interchangeably and keep defenses off guard because they are so different.

In the backfield, the Stars are absolutely loaded.  They lost one of the best players on the team and in the league as far as I am concerned with FB Sonny Csorba went down with a foot injury, but the Stars rolled on.  Abdul Adams is a game breaking type runner with outstanding speed and decision making.  he hits the hole hard and fast every time, makes one cut and he is off to the races.  Adrian Platt is flat out special!  This kid is extremely durable.  He runs violently, never afraid of contact.  He can shake and bake when need be.  He can run you over if need be.  He has a vicious spin move and if he sees a crack he will NOT get caught.  Great KR man as well.  Both of these kids will be elite at the next level.

Defensively, just like with the Heat, the OL double as DL and do a great job with Randolph and Williams being the standouts.  Platt doubles as a LB, along with Burrell who is big time.   From the defensive backfield, the Stars throw a stream of athletes at you who all tackle well.  Lemond Bynoe, Jaquan Bell, John Sterling, all contribute heavily to the Stars defense.  House and Simpson hold down the corners and are elite.  Aaron Hansford makes huge plays on the defensive side of the ball.  Butler contributes big plays as well.

This is another team that has no weaknesses.  One team has to win and one team has to lose.  It is anybody's guess.  Neither team will outcoach each other.  They will both be ready.  They will both make adjustments.  It will be a battle of wills and let the best kids win!

Game #2: Charles Baltimore Metro Stallions vs Montgomery County Bearcats

Stallions Outlook:  Baltimore is loaded with talent once again. This team looks similar to the 2010 team that won the inaugural GYFL Championship. Coach Ty and Coach Clay don’t have a deep staff at all this year. Bernie Cooper has held down the administrative duties from her President’s position and Coach Ty and Coach Clay have just done what they do. They live, sleep, eat and drink football and they love those kids with their whole hearts. They don’t get a ton of help but they make the most of what they get. Gilman HS has been a blessing to provide an elite practice facility for them but it has been good ole fashion sweat that has made this team tick. Coach Joe Hill has been a true blessing to the staff by coming down from his home in Delaware to assist.

The Stallions are a proud group that deals with all types of adversity. They have kids that have had a variety of other responsibilities to juggle. Somehow, someway, they just keep getting it done. When the Stallions lost two games in a row, Coach Ty did the same thing that he did two years ago when they were 1 – 2. He looked at the schedule, figured out the scenario, told me they were going to win the championship when they looked like they weren’t in the running. After losing 2 in a row, he looked at the schedule and figured out what it would take to make it to the playoffs. He promised me he would get it done and he did it again. He is in the playoffs and the Stallions are excited about the opportunity to see the Bearcats, as crazy as that may sound.

They had Montgomery County on the ropes on their home field in week 4 and it took a botched kickoff and some great throws by a 6th grade QB for Montgomery County to squeak out the win. They were without one of their game breaking WR’s Morgan Scroggins and they were missing the Hollis twins who provide the muscle for the Stallions. They believe that they can beat the Bearcats and who are we to say they can’t. They go into this game with a ton of confidence and a fully loaded deck.

They are tough in the trenches. They are not very deep there, but they are very good. Javon Childs brings the beef to the OL. Jonathan Tynes brings the stability and experience. Myron Turner, Dujuan Dallas, and Montreze Watt bring the toughness. Murad Hussain does an outstanding job at the TE position.

The WR’s for the Stallions are insane. Morgan Scroggins “Next Level Slim” has already been offered a scholarship by Youngstown State before he set foot on a high school field. He has the speed, the hands, and the quickness to make big plays in an instant. Steven Smothers, AKA “Optimus Prime” is one of the most exciting 8th grade receivers that we have seen in 3 years and has been dubbed the Next Stefon Diggs by many. He can do it all. He is fast, explosive, has great elusiveness, and a passion to be the best. Taj Washington is a versatile athlete that can play any position on the field. He can catch it, run, and from what we hear, he can throw it too. Juan Campbell broke the DC game open with a catch and TD run in the final 2 minutes. He doesn’t get a lot of action from the WR position, but he has proven what he can do when he touches the ball.

The RB’s are fabulous. Johnson Lloyd “The Law Firm” is one of the most complete backs in the GYFL. He runs very hard and tough. He is not a game breaker, but he has good enough speed. He is a terror between the tackles. His running mate Malik Alston is a tank with legs. He pulverizes defenders with his power. He has a low center of gravity and is tough to tackle. Azariah Bratton-Bey, AKA “AZ”, AKA “The Ninja” is just ridiculous with the ball in his hands. He is not big by any means like Alston and Johnson, but he is quick as a hiccup and runs as hard as any 200lb running back. He refuses to go down on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd contact. The kid plays football like he is playing for his life. He has the game breaking speed.

The QB is a 7th grade sensation named Kasim Hill. We initially gave him the nickname “The Archer” but we have to pull that one back. His parents didn’t love it, so we will call him Kasim “The Dream” from now on. Kasim has missed the last two games with a concussion but he will be back and ready to rock for this playoff game. He is a good athlete that can run when he has to, but he is not a runner. He is a pure drop back passer that can make all of the throws. He is calm, cool, collected and has all the poise that you want in a QB. We expect him to have a standout HS football career, but he still has to get through the 8th grade. He will have a ton of weapons to get the ball to.

Defensively, once again the OL double as DL. Childs and Turner lead the way from the DT positions, but Eric Arvinger absolutely takes over games with his speed rush off the end. Therefore, we gave them the nickname “Takeover.” Watt has a motor that won’t quit for the Stallions. Travon and Troy Hollis are menacing from their linebacker positions, along with Alston. AZ Bey plays a strong LB as well. Lloyd and Hussain are solid and effective as well. In the defensive backfield, Scroggins and Smother are both shutdown corners who excel in man to man coverage. Campbell is equally as effective. Taj Washington plays big in the secondary and his 7th grade little brother Tavion is a future star who made an amazing pick against DC to get them to the playoffs. If the Stallions can get Shemar Shanks back for the playoffs, they will be that much stronger.

Bearcat Outlook: We saved the best for last. At this point in the season, the Bearcats are the only undefeated team in the GYFL. In three years, they are the first undefeated team. They have earned the #1 seed and earned the right to be called the best because they have beaten all the best teams head to head. They beat the Stallions in that thriller. They beat the Heat 18 – 0. They beat the Stars in a close game as well.

They go into this playoff well rested and on a roll. They have a truly elite coaching staff led by the Good Counsel head freshman coach Andy Steffanelli. Andy has a strong and versatile staff made up of some of the best youth club coaches in Montgomery County. They even have a DeMatha coach on the staff. They always have those kids ready to play. They do what they do and they do it with precision. It is a run first, ball control offense that sucks you in and hits you over the top when the opportunity arises. Defensively, they just fly to the ball and tackle well and sure.

They are big, fast, and deep! They have no weaknesses. On the offensive line, they are very big and dominant. They lost standout Mike Drolet to a knee injury early in the season. Mike just had surgery and we pray for his full recovery. We expect him to have a great HS career. When they lost him, they picked right up and kept on winning. Kyle Loughner is a tremendous football player with great potential. Under the tutelage of Coach Maderas, he has gotten better each week. Cody Peterson, Charlie Siarkas, Jack Stubbs, and Jalen Lea have been nothing short of spectacular. They have dominated defenses in the trenches making way for a bevy of talented running backs that have excelled. Joey Freeman and Michael Briggs have been solid at TE.

The WR’s have been amazing when called upon. The Bearcats don’t throw a lot, but when they do, Malcolm Littlejohn has made big plays. Two-time GYFL All Star Travon Stott has had a magnificent 2nd year campaign from the WR position making play after play just when they needed him. He will have a number of scholarship offers before he leaves HS.

The QB has been very impressive. Kendall “Doc” Bonner has been clutch in big time games. He is not a tall kid yet, but he has plenty of time and room to grow. What has shocked us has been his poise under pressure. This kid has made big play after big play when the Bearcats needed to pass to win games. He has a bright future ahead of him. His backup Shawn Bliss is capable as well if they have to go to him.

The backfield is where the Bearcats are just unbelievable. Jonathan Wanat is arguably the most complete FB in the league. He is a great blocker that reminds us of 2011 All Star Zack Ralli. He can run when asked to and catch the ball out of the backfield. They have two time GYFL All Star Daqwan Hill as their featured back. Hill has been battling through ankle injuries all season but when they need the big back to deliver, he always does. Hill has size, quickness, speed, power, and the ability to cut on a dime. He reads holes well and sets up blocks. If he stays humble and continues to work hard, he will be a high school star with tons of D-1 scholarship offers before he is done.

Jonathan Lee is scary. He was injured early in the season and we didn’t get a chance to see if he would be able to perform against unweighted GYFL competition the way he did against Pop Warner competition. But, when he came back he did so with a vengeance. He is a true game breaker with blazing speed and quickness. He has a nose for the end zone and finds it frequently. If he is given a crease, you can forget about trying to catch him.  With Lee's combination of talent and grades, he should have his share of D-1 offers as well.

Marvin Beander is one of the most exciting 7th grade RB’s in the DMV. He has tremendous vision, great speed, elusiveness, and toughness. This kid is the real deal and will be one of the most highly recruited prospects in the class of 2017. 7th Grader Darius Golston has not gotten many touches because of the Bearcat depth, but every time he has touched it, he has done something special.

Defensively, the Bearcats just suffocate teams. Jalen Lea is a flat out monster who will be another one of the top 2017 recruits. He can’t be blocked by 1 person and he reminds us of 2011 All Star Ellison Jordan, who was just named to the Max Preps Top 50 Watchlist for the class of 2016. Don’t be surprised to see Kasim Hill, Lea, and Beander on that list next year. Izon Pulley is a force and a terror on that defensive line. He and Lea make it very difficult on offenses to run the ball. If they do get past the interior line they have to get past David Sangwa from the LB position and that is easier said than done. He runs sideline to sideline and sticks his nose in every chance he gets. Clarence McNeary is another hard-nosed LB who is always around the action. Hill is a standout LB as well who dominates with crushing hits. Joey Freeman is another Bearcat LB to be reckoned with.

The secondary is just ridiculous. They can all run, catch, and love to tackle. Cedric Content is a big hitter who is always looking for contact from the hybrid safety position. Littlejohn is the epitome of a shutdown corner, and Stott is not far behind. Those kids don’t give up much at all. If and when they do Juran Woodyard is one of the best coverage safeties in the GYFL. His range is phenomenal as he covers hash mark to hash mark. Carleton Taylor is one of the best 7th grade cornerbacks that we have seen and will be a great one at the next level.

I just don’t know how to call these games guys and won’t waste my time trying. There are 4 teams with no weaknesses that I can find. They all have speed, size, toughness, and great coaching. I have no idea who will move on and play for the Norman Anderson Trophy, but I know it is going to be a blast finding out!


Announcements:

GYFL Players at Playoffs

We want all of our GYFL players to attend the games on Saturday. We are going to announce the GYFL honorable mention players and bring them out between the games to be introduced to the fans at midfield. We can’t require them to be there but we certainly hope you will all come out and support your league.

We also want to take team pictures beginning at 2:30pm if possible. GM’s please contact me to let me know if you are going to have your teams there for the pics, or if you are going to arrange for your own pictures.

FBU Tryouts

The first Team Maryland Tryout will be July 21st at 10:00am at Riverdale Baptist School prior to our Championship game.  The first Team Northern Va. Tryout will be July 29th  @ 8am at St. Stephens St. Agnes HS prior to the Chesapeake Bowl South Team tryout.

Click Here for details and to register for both events. The Team Nova page for FBU is not live yet. Make sure to sign up on our registration page so we can get back in touch with you as soon as it is ready.

Under Armour/Lavar Arrington Free Tackling Clinics

Under Armour and Lavar Arrington have joined forces to teach kids how to tackle properly for FREE. There will be 5 days for you to choose from. You don’t want to miss this as you tune up for your fall season. Click Here for details.

GYFL Awards Banquet Reservations

The first annual Post Season banquet is schedule for August 5th. You must RSVP now so we will know how many to expect. The ESPY’s, only GYFL style! Click Here to RSVP.

Jr. Rank Free Camp Slots

We have 50 free slots available for this elite camp. You must register on our list to take advantage. Click Here to sign up. After the first 50, the cost is $149.

Twitter and Facebook

We have a lot of information to share with you real time and the best way to get the information is to like us on Facebook (Click Here), and to follow us on Twitter (Click Here). Please follow us and like us so you don’t miss out any important information.

Highlight DVD’s

No serious football players should be caught dead in 2012 without a highlight DVD. We have provided a venue for your son to have the best film in the business. You must put it to use. You will need this as the first part of your football resume. Your son will need invites to the best camps in high school. You will want him to be ranked in the important publications. I need a highlight DVD to properly promote your son. Click Here to register ASAP.

Online Player Profiles

How you market and promote your child is just as important as having the tool. If you have the tool and the right people don’t see it, how effective is it. We get 1 million hits per month on this site. Coaches are constantly reviewing it. Ranking services are reviewing it. To have an online player profile on OUR site is going to maximize the exposure. The Player profile allows you to provide a complete online resume with recommendation letters, standardized test scores, verified statistics, full game videos, as well as your highlight video. You can’t do that with you tube or copies of DVD’s. Click here for details.

 

See you Saturday at 3pm!

 

Mike

 

Friday, 06 July 2012 19:12

Week #9 Cancellation

Written by

To the GYFL Nation:

It has been a week of very hard decisions for the GYFL.  First we had to make the controversial decision to move the last weekend of games from Ryken to McNamara, which most loved, but Southern MD parents did not because in all honesty, it was not fair to them and I know that.  For the last two days, all we have done was follow this Severe Heat forecast and try to prepare to make sure that our kids were healthy and safe.

For any of you that have read our heat policy, you know that it is to cancel all games if the Heat Index rises to 105 degrees.  The heat index (HI) or humiture is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature — how hot it feels. The result is also known as the "felt air temperature" or "apparent temperature". For example, when the temperature is 90 °, with very high humidity, the heat index can be about 105 °.  I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but with the liability that we would be exposed to as a league if one of our babies succumbs to the heat, we had to become very knowledgeable on the subject, and we have to err on the side of caution. 

The human body normally cools itself by perspiration, or sweating, which evaporates and carries heat away from the body. However, when the relative humidity is high, the evaporation rate is reduced, so heat is removed from the body at a lower rate, causing it to retain more heat than it would in dry air. Measurements have been taken based on subjective descriptions of how hot subjects feel for a given temperature and humidity, allowing an index to be made which relates one temperature and humidity combination to another at a higher temperature in drier air. 

This heat is not a game family and the safety of your kids is what is paramount to us.  I want to take the time to explain to all of you the entire thought process behind the decision.  Many will be happy with it because they have been afraid and concerned about the severity of the heat.  I have gotten emails from grandmothers who wanted us to cancel.  Others will be disappointed because they love the game so much and want to get that last game in under any circumstances.  I get it.  I had to take counsel from all of my GYFL key staff.  I actually had to go to a quiet place and pray on this one.  I try to pray before all major decisions, but this one was a no brainer.  As I was waiting for the Spirit to confirm what I already felt in my heart, I got a call from the Boss.  Those men out there that are married know exactly who I mean by the Boss. 

Tonya Anderson is the Boss in the Anderson household and everybody that knows me knows that.  The boss said that we needed to cancel to protect these kids.  She asked me if we had played enough games yet to see what these kids can do.  The true answer was yes.  I asked her if she would let our 13 year old daughter go out and play in heat like that, and she said an emphatic NO!!!!  That was all that needed to be said family.  If we would not put our daughter at risk in a severe heat situation, I would never be responsible for putting yours at risk.  At that point, the decision was made.

Here are some additional thoughts that you need to be aware of that factored into the decision to cancel.  This season has been special to me. It is the first time we have played this many regular season games. It is also the last time there will be this many regular season games (LOL).  For a variety of reasons we have decided that 6 is the magic number from now on. That is enough games to see what the kids on the weaker teams can do and get them the exposure they deserve.  But not so many that the season will drag on for those teams out of the playoff hunt at the mid season point like it did for some teams this year.  

It gives us a chance to focus more quickly on the playoff run which is better for the league. Once we have established enough of a resume for the kids, the additional games end up being just that, additional games, without much meaning or relevance other than the fact that we love to see them, coach in them, and evaluate them. That is what has happened to us this year during the 9 game season, even before we had the Heat Index crisis facing us now. Once many of the kids knew they were out of the playoff run, we began to lose numbers.  As much as I try to sell the kids on the other benefits of playing and getting exposure, competitive kids want to win and compete for a championship. 

One the chances of that have ended, it is very difficult for kids and even adults to maintain the motivation that that they need to keep pushing.  I learned that this year.  That is why I respect the dedication and commitment of the kids and parents that did not quit and that keep coming out no matter what.  I respect the parents and coaches that would be willing to brave that heat tomorrow if we would have decided to play.  I know the Warrior hearts that you all have and I love you for it.  I will reward you for it I promise.

I love GYFL Saturdays more than anything in the world, but if I believe in my heart that 6 games is more than enough to get us what we needed in the past, and 6 games is more than enough to get us what we need for the future, than 6 games should be enough for the present. The reality is that we have exceeded that number by 2 games already. The question is whether or not to play this 9th game under the Heat Advisory that we are facing.

We set up our policy to cancel all games if the Heat index reaches 105. Heat index is different than temperature. The Heat index is expected to be 110 tomorrow afternoon. Those of you that know football understand that it is always 10 to 15 degrees hotter on turf than it is on grass. McNamara does not have sideline fans or shade trees like Wilson had. When I decided to move the game from Ryken to McNamara I did so because I felt like I had to do what was best for the majority of kids and the health of the league.

In this case, I can't imagine how any of us would feel if we got a kid effected by heat stroke tomorrow. If one kid goes down, would it have been worth it? I can't imagine so. I have to ask how the potential gain from playing tomorrow, compares with the potential loses. The potential losses are devastating to the league and they go without saying. From kids going down, to all the negative publicity we would receive from the public regarding football over health. There are a myriad of negative consequences that could kill us. Not only the amount of money that we will lose as a company because folks are not even going to come strong to McNamara in this heat.

The only positive is that we would get to play the last games, which we desperately want to. But, do we need to is the question? If 6 is the magic #, than 9 is not a necessity. I wanted each team to have a chance to go against every region and it is a novel idea, but this season has shown that it is not practical. There is only 1 game with playoff implications and that is merely to determine the 3 or 4 seed. The rest of the games would be like a "swan song" and a chance to hug, say goodbye for now, take pictures and cry because Season 3 of GYFL would be over.

Guess what though? That is how it was in the past but no more! We have playoffs next week! We can have all the kids bring their uniforms for the team pictures at the Landon playoff game, where we will announce our honorable mention teams. We will reconvene at Landon and celebrate and I want the kids to be there to come on the field and be honored when their name is called.

We have the Championship Game at Riverdale and it will be a coronation that I need the whole GYFL Nation to be a part of whether your team is playing or not.  We will announce 2nd team All GYFL at that game and I need the kids to be there to walk out on the field and be honored for their accomplishments.

Then we will finally have the banquet, where we will acknowledge, honor, and celebrate all the kids.  We will close the door on the season on Aug 5th this year, not July 7th. With that being said guys, the decision has been made to cancel the games tomorrow.  Please don't be angry and upset. The safety and health of our kids is at stake.  This was not an easy decision, but I believe it is for the best.

I prefer that the 's not have their kids turn in uniforms yet because I want to get those team pics at Landon next week if possible. Let me know if that is not possible for the 6 non playoff teams and you guys can make arrangements to take you own team photos. I would like to get all of the players and coaches to come to Landon. If they wear their jerseys they will get in free. Coaches will get in free with their badges. That is all for now.  Feel free to respond and give your feedback.

 

Sincerely,

Mike Anderson
President
GYFL

Thursday, 05 July 2012 16:22

GYFL Awards Banquet 2012

Written by

GYFL Family and Friends:

Grassroots had it's 1st Annual Post Season Awards Banquet this summer.  We wanted to do this for the first 2 years but were unable to pull it off for financial and logistical regions.  State of the Art facilities at affordable rates are extremely hard to come by.  The type of banquet that we wanted to have would typically be done at a 4 Star Hotel, but we were no where near being the position to afford to do something that big yet.

Thanks to DeMatha for opening up their beautiful new Convocations Center to us, we were able to make our dreams come true this summer and on August the 5th, we pulled of a Gala for the ages!  Our goal was to have our first post season event be like the ESPY's, but only GYFL style.  I think we came pretty darn close!

Tonya Anderson is the Chief Operating Officer for the GYFL, as well as the Executive Director of the Grassroots Youth Mentoring Foundation, which will launch in the fall did an amazing job!  The place looked fabulous.  We need to thank the DeMatha basketball team, Athletic Director Ed King, and coach John Rogers for helping us get everything set up the day before.  We must thank all of the volunteers who Tonya coordinated to come in earlier that day and make the place beautiful!  We must thank Kim Taylor and her staff for preparing the delicious food.  It was as elegant an event that we could imagine on such a limited budget.  Most importantly, we want to thank all of the parents that paid a ticket to come and support us and the kids that showed up.  We were 300 strong in the Convocation Center and had to roll a few extra tables out at the last minute to accomodate everyone.

Our kids were dressed up and looking fabulous!  The parents were awesome too.  NFL Veteran and former Redskin great Lavar Arrington was the guest speaker and motivated the crowd.  11 Year NFL veteran and GYFL partner Chad Scott was there.  There would be no GYFL without his financial support and we love and appreciate him dearly.  12 year NFL veteran and GYFL Partner JB Brown was there to hand out awards.  9 Year NFL Veteran and GYFL Commissioner Rick "Doc" Walker was on hand to take pictures with the kids and give a rousing closing speech that every parent and child needed to hear.

Videographer Mohamed Fahs put together the highlight video that played on the big screen.  Under Armour provided bags for the 2nd Team All GYFL Teams.  GYFL provided medals for the 1st Team All GYFL Teams.  The entire Championship Howard County Stars Team received trophies.  The top players at each position recieved awards and we awarded and Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year Award.  Finally, we selected our Coach of the Year Terry White of the Howard County Stars who moved the crowd with his speech and we announced our GYFL Most Valuable Player, Eric Burrell of the Howard County Stars.  Eric made a brief speech and was overwhelmed by all the love he receieved.  In addition to the trophies awarded to the champions, we also ordered them Championship Rings!!!!!  In conjunction with sponsors from the Howard County Stars and support from the league, our champions will be officially sporting big time championship rings on their fingers in a few weeks.

I, president Mike Anderson was the host of the event and I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome.  This is the first of many and I can promise you they will get better every year, just as our seasons have gotten better every year.  I can't imagine what 2013 has in store for Grassroots but I can promise that you don't want to miss next years "Grassy Awards."  Mark your calendars for Sunday June 23rd from 2pm - 6pm.  Place TBD.

For everyone that was unable to make the event, I have copied and pasted the detailed Banquet Program below so that you can see who all the award winners were and how the program flowed.  Please enjoy!

 

 

GYFL Banquet 2012
DeMatha Convocation Center

Order of Program:

2:00 – 2:30pm     Social (Highlight Video Looping)
                                Tour the Convocation Center

2:30 – 2:32pm     Call to Order (Mike Anderson)

2:32 – 2:35pm     Invocation/Prayer (Ken Harris)

2:35 – 3:30pm     Dinner (Highlight Video Looping) Tonya Anderson will announce when tables can line up.

3:30 – 3:40pm     Intro of special guests, HS Coaches, etc. (Mike)

                                -VP, JB Brown
                                -VP, Chad Scott
                                -Commissioner, Rick “Doc” Walker

3:40 – 3:45pm     Intro of the guest speaker Lavar Arrington (Mike)

3:45 – 4:00pm     Guest Speaker Lavar Arrington

4:00 – 4:30pm     Special Awards

Staff acknowledgements (Stand and Waive) Mike
-Wayne Matthews (Announcer)
-Phil Taylor (Security)
-Lead Athletic Trainer, Wendy Norris
-Kim Taylor (Banquet Caterer)
-Tonya Anderson (Director of Business Affairs and Banquet Coordinator)
-Mohamed Fahs (Videographer)
-Coach Ed King (Athletic Director from DeMatha)

Special Staff Acknowledgements (Receive Award from JB/take photo with Doc Walker) Mike
-Felice Barnes for Outstanding GYFL Service (Photographer)
-Raleigh Powell for Outstanding GYFL Service (Stats and Everything)
-Ken Harris for Outstanding GYFL Service (Website)
-Lisa Hilton for Outstanding GYFL Service
-Mona Hairston for Outstanding GYFL Service
-Leo Minus for Outstanding GYFL Service (Photographer)
-Rick “Doc” Walker for Outstanding GYFL Service as Commissioner
-Gregory M. Holloway for his Commitment to Excellence in Service to GYFL
-Chad Scott for his Commitment to Excellence in Service to GYFL

Volunteers of the Year Awards (Receive award from JB/take photo with Doc Walker) Mike
-Baltimore Metro Stallions (Vlad Friedman)
-Charles County Heat (Melinda Sims)
-District of Columbia Warriors (Gail Akers)
-Fairfax County Colts (Kasmas Dikes)
-Howard County Stars (Tara Morris)
-Howard County Stars (Scott Burrell)
-Loudoun County Eagles (The Burke Family) Not Present
-Montgomery County Bearcats (Tangie Golston) Not Present
-PG County Swarm (The Chasse Family) Not Present
-Prince William County Lions (Triege Craig)
-Southern MD Wildcats (Jim Beavers)

4:30 – 4:45pm     Individual Team Acknowledgement (Mike)
                                -Ask the Members and Coaches of each of the teams that are present to stand and waive.
                                -JB will take a cordless microphone to each table and have them state their names and positions.
                           

Ask to Stand in the following order
Baltimore Metro Stallions
Charles County Heat
District of Columbia Warriors
Fairfax County Colts
Loudoun County Eagles
Montgomery County Bearcats
Prince Georges County Swarm
Prince William County Lions
Southern MD Wildcats

4:45 – 5:00pm     Announcement of All Star Teams (Wayne & Mike)

Honorable Mention Teams: (Stand up at the table and waive when the name is called) Wayne

-Baltimore Metro Stallions: Montrez Watt, Travon Hollis, Troy Hollis, Malik Alston, Shamar Shanks, Tavion Washington, Jonathan Tynes, Javon Childs, Taj Washington.

-Charles County Heat: DeMarco Blount, Warren Clements, Jordan Holmes, Aaron Parker, Myles Plummer, Jayson Johnson, Anthony Whigman, Jamie Higginbotham, Shaquon Dyson, Joshua Chase, Alec Martin.

DC Warriors: Carlton Rainey, Donnell Lowery, Anthony Brown, Patrick Johnson, John Gant, Deon Jones, Michael Williams, Richard Merritt.

Fairfax County Colts: Jordan Napper, Aaron Ince, Max Nail, Taye Diggs, Max Gallahan, Jay McCargo, Kreshawn Dikes, Hunter Wilkens.

Howard County Stars: Ronnie Rountree, Sonny Csorba, Lemond Bynoe, John Sterling, Keshaun Ebron, Armani Ceballos, Aaron Hansford, Sean McCutchen, Joe Macklin, Marquise Chambers, Marmadu M, Michael Coolie, Nathaniel Randolph.

Loudoun County Eagles: Anthony Page, Damani Neal, Kevin Burke, Nick Clarkson, Charlie Clewis, Billy Mullen, Taron Vincent, Chase Haegele, Malik Crowe, Brent Smith.

Montgomery County Bearcats: Marvin Beander, Carlton Taylor, Izaan Pulley, Jonathan Wanatt, Jack Stubbs, Cody Peterson, Charlie Siarkas, Doc Bonner

Prince George’s County Swarm: Teyon Davis, Calil Wilkens-Coleman, Aris Mayfield, Terrell Dance, Michael Collins, James Green, Sir Scott, Malik Lewis, Taheeb Sonekan, Yuka Onya, Jordan Jacobs, Savion Williams.

Prince William County Lions: Dominic Benson, Shawn Brooks, C.J. Childs, Jonte Craig, Keith Evans, Peter Finley, Nasheed Hargrove, Jordan Heison, Zion Johnson, Eddie Mussey, Anthony Serafino, DJ Wright.

Southern MD Wildcats: Brandon Beavers, Randy Burke, Deandra Bush, Jhordan Greene, Dejuan Marble (Pronounced Dayjohn); Jessiah Rojas, Rylan Sweetney.


2nd Team All GYFL Team: (Walk to the Awards area and receive a UA Backpack from JB Brown and take individual with Doc Walker). Wayne

Note: Form a Group Picture before a sitting down

Offense:

2nd Team QB: Brandon Pitt (Prince William County)
2nd Team RB: Azariah Bratton-Bey (Baltimore Metro)
2nd Team RB: Adrian Platt (Howard County)
2nd Team RB: James Green (Prince George’s County)
2nd Team RB: Jonathan Lee (Montgomery County)
2nd Team OL: Johnny Jordan (Loudoun County 7th Grader)
                OL: John Day (Fairfax County) Not Present
                OL: Hunter Smith (Loudoun County)
                OL: Lawtez Rogers (District of Columbia 7th Grader)
                OL: Jalen Lea (Montgomery County 7th Grader)
2nd Team WR: Eric Kumah (Prince William County)
2nd Team WR: Trevon Diggs (PG County) Not Attending         
2nd Team WR: Delante Hellams (District of Columbia 7th Grader)
2nd Team WR: Alec Martin (Charles County)
2nd Team Kicker: Doc Bonner (Montgomery County 6th Grader/QB)

Defense:

2nd Team DL: Antonio Favors (District of Columbia)
2nd Team DL: Ozzie Opuku (Fairfax County)
2nd Team DL: Austin Bostic (Fairfax County)
2nd Team DL: Daniel Renaud (Loudoun County)
2nd Team LB: Andrew Rothstein (Charles County)
2nd Team LB: Johnson Lloyd (Baltimore Metro)
2nd Team LB: David Sangwa (Montgomery County)
2nd Team DB: Deandre House (Howard County)
2nd Team DB: Morgan Scroggins (Baltimore Metro)
2nd Team DB: Cedric Content (Montgomery County)
2nd Team DB: Malcolm Littlejohn (Montgomery County)
2nd Team KR: Brandon Hilton (Prince William County)

1st Team All GYFL Team: (Walk to the Awards area and receive their medal from JB Brown and take individual photo with Doc Walker).  Wayne

Note: Form a Group Picture before a sitting down

Offense:

QB: Kasim Hill (Baltimore Metro)
RB: Abdul Adams (Howard County)
RB: Damien Jones (Charles County)
OL: Terrance Davis (Charles County)
OL: Noel Hijazi (Loudoun County)
OL: Kyle Loughner (Montgomery County)
OL: Tim Ursery (Charles County)
OL: Myron Turner (Baltimore Metro)
WR: Navon Prince (District of Columbia)
WR: Steven Smothers (Baltimore Metro)      
WR: Eric Burrell (Howard County)
Kicker: Gene Blair (Charles County)

Defense:

DL: Darrin Pullen (District of Columbia)
DL: Craig Williams, Jr (Howard County)
DL: Matthew Hunt (Charles County)
DL: Eric Arvinger (Baltimore Metro)
LB: Daqwan Hill (Montgomery County)
LB: Marcus Brooks (Prince William County)
LB: DeMartez Thomas (Southern MD)
DB: Juan Campbell (Baltimore Metro)
DB: Trey Simpson (Howard County)
DB: Perrin Turner (Charles County)
DB: Jaron Woodyard (Montgomery County)
KR: Travon Stott (Montgomery County)

Special Awards: (Come to the table with JB, get medal and take photo with Doc Walker) Mike

Fan of the Year: Korrey Blount
Hardest Worker: Jayden Sloan

5:00 – 5:10pm     Top Performers at each position (Come to the table, get trophy, take Picture with JB) Mike

Note: Take Group photo before Sitting Down.

Most Outstanding QB: Kasim Hill (Baltimore Metro)
Most Outstanding RB: Damien Jones (Charles County)
Most Outstanding WR: Steven Smothers (Baltimore Metro)
Most Outstanding OL: Terrance Davis (Charles County)
Most Outstanding DL: Darrin Pullen (District of Columbia)
Most Outstanding LB: DeMartez Thomas (Southern MD)
Most Outstanding DB: Jaron Woodyard (Montgomery County)

5:10 – 5:25pm     Introduce the Champions (Read directly from the list and have walk up and get trophy from JB) Wayne

Note: Take Group Picture before sitting down.

5:25 – 5:30pm     Introduce the Players of the Year (Walk to collect award, take photo with JB) Mike

Offensive Player of the Year for 2012: Abdul Adams (Howard County Stars)
Defensive Player of the Year for 2012: DeMartez “Petey” Thomas (Southern MD Wildcats)
                               
5:30 – 5:35pm     GYFL Most Valuable Player Award (Have the Finalists present come down and line up to the left of the Award Table). When the award winner is announced, he will make a speech. Mike

Finalists: Abdul Adams, Damien Jones, Eric Burrell, Steven Smothers, Azariah Bratton-Bey, Adrian Platt, DeMartez “Petey” Thomas.

GYFL Most Valuable Player and winner of the first ever “Andy” Award: Eric Burrell (Howard County Stars)

5:35 – 5:45pm     GYFL Coach of the Year (Come to the table, receive the award, make a speech) Mike

Coach T. White (Howard County Stars)

5:45 – 5:50pm     GYFL Raffle (Tonya Anderson)

5:50 – 6:00pm     Close Out Speech (Doc Walker)

 

1346 on 8/28/2012

Wednesday, 04 July 2012 15:49

Week #9 Preview

Written by

Week 9 July 7th @ Bishop McNamara High School
(All Games Cancelled Due to Dangerous Heat Index)

6800 Marlboro Pike Forestville, MD 20747

Fairfax County Colts  vs Prince William County Lions
Howard County Stars
 vs Prince George's County Swarm
Montgomery County Bearcats
 vs Loudoun County Eagles
Charles County Heat
 vs Baltimore Metro Stallions
District of Columbia Warriors  vs Southern MD Wildcats


Week #9 Cancellation Decision Factors

To the GYFL Nation:

It has been a week of very hard decisions for the GYFL.  First we had to make the controversial decision to move the last weekend of games from Ryken to McNamara, which most loved, but Southern MD parents did not because in all honesty, it was not fair to them and I know that.  For the last two days, all we have done was follow this Severe Heat forecast and try to prepare to make sure that our kids were healthy and safe.

For any of you that have read our heat policy, you know that it is to cancel all games if the Heat Index rises to 105 degrees.  The heat index (HI) or humiture is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature — how hot it feels. The result is also known as the "felt air temperature" or "apparent temperature". For example, when the temperature is 90 °, with very high humidity, the heat index can be about 105 °.  I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but with the liability that we would be exposed to as a league if one of our babies succumbs to the heat, we had to become very knowledgeable on the subject, and we have to err on the side of caution. 

The human body normally cools itself by perspiration, or sweating, which evaporates and carries heat away from the body. However, when the relative humidity is high, the evaporation rate is reduced, so heat is removed from the body at a lower rate, causing it to retain more heat than it would in dry air. Measurements have been taken based on subjective descriptions of how hot subjects feel for a given temperature and humidity, allowing an index to be made which relates one temperature and humidity combination to another at a higher temperature in drier air. 

This heat is not a game family and the safety of your kids is what is paramount to us.  I want to take the time to explain to all of you the entire thought process behind the decision.  Many will be happy with it because they have been afraid and concerned about the severity of the heat.  I have gotten emails from grandmothers who wanted us to cancel.  Others will be disappointed because they love the game so much and want to get that last game in under any circumstances.  I get it.  I had to take counsel from all of my GYFL key staff.  I actually had to go to a quiet place and pray on this one.  I try to pray before all major decisions, but this one was a no brainer.  As I was waiting for the Spirit to confirm what I already felt in my heart, I got a call from the Boss.  Those men out there that are married know exactly who I mean by the Boss. 

Tonya Anderson is the Boss in the Anderson household and everybody that knows me knows that.  The boss said that we needed to cancel to protect these kids.  She asked me if we had played enough games yet to see what these kids can do.  The true answer was yes.  I asked her if she would let our 13 year old daughter go out and play in heat like that, and she said an emphatic NO!!!!  That was all that needed to be said family.  If we would not put our daughter at risk in a severe heat situation, I would never be responsible for putting yours at risk.  At that point, the decision was made.

Here are some additional thoughts that you need to be aware of that factored into the decision to cancel.  This season has been special to me. It is the first time we have played this many regular season games. It is also the last time there will be this many regular season games (LOL).  For a variety of reasons we have decided that 6 is the magic number from now on. That is enough games to see what the kids on the weaker teams can do and get them the exposure they deserve.  But not so many that the season will drag on for those teams out of the playoff hunt at the mid season point like it did for some teams this year.  

It gives us a chance to focus more quickly on the playoff run which is better for the league. Once we have established enough of a resume for the kids, the additional games end up being just that, additional games, without much meaning or relevance other than the fact that we love to see them, coach in them, and evaluate them. That is what has happened to us this year during the 9 game season, even before we had the Heat Index crisis facing us now. Once many of the kids knew they were out of the playoff run, we began to lose numbers.  As much as I try to sell the kids on the other benefits of playing and getting exposure, competitive kids want to win and compete for a championship. 

One the chances of that have ended, it is very difficult for kids and even adults to maintain the motivation that that they need to keep pushing.  I learned that this year.  That is why I respect the dedication and commitment of the kids and parents that did not quit and that keep coming out no matter what.  I respect the parents and coaches that would be willing to brave that heat tomorrow if we would have decided to play.  I know the Warrior hearts that you all have and I love you for it.  I will reward you for it I promise.

I love GYFL Saturdays more than anything in the world, but if I believe in my heart that 6 games is more than enough to get us what we needed in the past, and 6 games is more than enough to get us what we need for the future, than 6 games should be enough for the present. The reality is that we have exceeded that number by 2 games already. The question is whether or not to play this 9th game under the Heat Advisory that we are facing.

We set up our policy to cancel all games if the Heat index reaches 105. Heat index is different than temperature. The Heat index is expected to be 110 tomorrow afternoon. Those of you that know football understand that it is always 10 to 15 degrees hotter on turf than it is on grass. McNamara does not have sideline fans or shade trees like Wilson had. When I decided to move the game from Ryken to McNamara I did so because I felt like I had to do what was best for the majority of kids and the health of the league.

In this case, I can't imagine how any of us would feel if we got a kid effected by heat stroke tomorrow. If one kid goes down, would it have been worth it? I can't imagine so. I have to ask how the potential gain from playing tomorrow, compares with the potential loses. The potential losses are devastating to the league and they go without saying. From kids going down, to all the negative publicity we would receive from the public regarding football over health. There are a myriad of negative consequences that could kill us. Not only the amount of money that we will lose as a company because folks are not even going to come strong to McNamara in this heat.

The only positive is that we would get to play the last games, which we desperately want to. But, do we need to is the question? If 6 is the magic #, than 9 is not a necessity. I wanted each team to have a chance to go against every region and it is a novel idea, but this season has shown that it is not practical. There is only 1 game with playoff implications and that is merely to determine the 3 or 4 seed. The rest of the games would be like a "swan song" and a chance to hug, say goodbye for now, take pictures and cry because Season 3 of GYFL would be over.

Guess what though? That is how it was in the past but no more! We have playoffs next week! We can have all the kids bring their uniforms for the team pictures at the Landon playoff game, where we will announce our honorable mention teams. We will reconvene at Landon and celebrate and I want the kids to be there to come on the field and be honored when their name is called.

We have the Championship Game at Riverdale and it will be a coronation that I need the whole GYFL Nation to be a part of whether your team is playing or not.  We will announce 2nd team All GYFL at that game and I need the kids to be there to walk out on the field and be honored for their accomplishments.

Then we will finally have the banquet, where we will acknowledge, honor, and celebrate all the kids.  We will close the door on the season on Aug 5th this year, not July 7th. With that being said guys, the decision has been made to cancel the games tomorrow.  Please don't be angry and upset. The safety and health of our kids is at stake.  This was not an easy decision, but I believe it is for the best.

I prefer that the 's not have their kids turn in uniforms yet because I want to get those team pics at Landon next week if possible. Let me know if that is not possible for the 6 non playoff teams and you guys can make arrangements to take you own team photos. I would like to get all of the players and coaches to come to Landon. If they wear their jerseys they will get in free. Coaches will get in free with their badges. That is all for now.  Feel free to respond and give your feedback.

 

Sincerely,

Mike Anderson
President
GYFL


Season 3 Wrap up and Season 4 Preview:

Well, ladies and gentlemen we are finally down to the end of the season.  It has been a great year 3 for GYFL.  This has been the longest season that we have had.  In the first two years, we only played 6 games.  As we expanded to 10 teams this year, we decided to experiment with playing a 9 game season so that every team in the league could play every other team and I am glad we experimented with it.  With that being said, as excited as we are about the season that we had, this will be the last season that we play 9 regular season games. 

We will begin the seasons in the 3rd Saturday in April from now on, and end them the last week of June.  We are going to max the regular season out at 6 games in future years and keep it at that limit.  We will have two divisions, a North and a South.  Both will have 5 teams in the division and each team will play each other 1 time.  The top two teams will go to the playoffs.  There will be two interdivisional games that won't count towards playoff contention, but will be balanced and add intrigue.

The first inter division game will be played during week #3 and will pit the current #1 seed from the North against the #1 seed from the South.  #2 will go against #2, #3 on #3, #4 on #4, and #5 on #5.  In the fifth week of the season we will have a flex game where we will match the games based on additional factors, such as rivalry, record etc.  For example, DC will play Baltimore, Montgomery will play Charles, Loudoun will play Fairfax, etc.  We will finish the season after 6 games, which will be enough time for all kids to show what they can do an good teams and bad, but it won't drag out to 9 weeks and deep into the hot summer.  We will have a playoff week, a championship game, and we will take two weeks before finishing the season with a North vs South Super Star game where we combine the best 30 from the North Regions, with the best 30 from the South regions.  The teams will be coached by the two coaches that made it to the championship game.  It will be phenomenal.

Venue Change to McNamara for the Final Week:

As President, I made a hard decision to change the venue for the final weeks slate of games.  The decision did not go over well for my parents from Southern MD.  Many of the parents of the Southern MD Wildcats were irate, as were some of the parents from St. Mary's County who play on the Charles County team.  My heart goes out to them and I did not make the decision without much thought and much prayer. 

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your families, and I pray that you decide to bring your sons to the final games on Saturday.  We will be taking team pictures for the website and post season banquet.  The decision was not made as a slap in the face to them or with the thought that we in the GYFL don't love and appreciate Southern MD and the sacrifices that they have made in the first 3 years of the GYFL.  We couldn't be more appreciative of what Southern MD has endured for 3 consecutive years and our hearts go out to those kids and parents, particularly my Sweet 16.  They know who they are.  Since the time I wrote this, I have changed the name and had to add one more to the list that I mistakenly overlooked.  The new name for my Southern MD wonderkids is 17 Strong, and the name added to the list is none other than my man Liam Magee.  Liam was injured and missed a game and wasn't at the one practice that I came to so I overlooked him, but he is a fighter and a warrior and deserves his recognition. 

I am going to do a detailed breakdown for all of my reasons in the Presidents Pen that I would like for you to read because I don't want to take up much more of this space with this matter, but I know that many people read the previews and I want you all to get the just of it.  You can get the details from the President's Pen, but in a nutshell, here is what I see as the Southern MD dilemma for football players, and playing our game down there would not have solved it or even alleviated it.

Click Here to be linked to this weeks President's Pen, which will explain the decision, as well as outline some other pertinant topics that I believe are critical to your childrens success in the game of football.

Post Season Announcements

  • Team photos will be taken prior to the playoffs at Landon.  We will work out a picture schedule for each team after confirming that the GM's and Coaches want to participate.  For those that don't, they can schedule taking their own team photos.  
  • Post Season Awards Banquet will be held on Sunday Aug 5th from 2pm – 6pm @ the DeMatha HS Convocation Center.  The address is 4318 Madison St. Hyattsville, MD
    • Ticket prices will be announced after we have finalized all expenses.

 

Season 3 Wrap up and Season 4 Preview:

Well, ladies and gentlemen we are finally down to the end of the season.  It has been a great year 3 for GYFL.  This has been the longest season that we have had.  In the first two years, we only played 6 games.  As we expanded to 10 teams this year, we decided to experiment with playing a 9 game season so that every team in the league could play every other team and I am glad we experimented with it.  With that being said, as excited as we are about the season that we had, this will be the last season that we play 9 regular season games. 

We will begin the seasons in the 3rd Saturday in April from now on, and end them the last week of June.  We are going to max the regular season out at 6 games in future years and keep it at that limit.  We will have two divisions, a North and a South.  Both will have 5 teams in the division and each team will play each other 1 time.  The top two teams will go to the playoffs.  There will be two interdivisional games that won't count towards playoff contention, but will be balanced and add intrigue.

The first inter division game will be played during week #3 and will pit the current #1 seed from the North against the #1 seed from the South.  #2 will go against #2, #3 on #3, #4 on #4, and #5 on #5.  In the fifth week of the season we will have a flex game where we will match the games based on additional factors, such as rivalry, record etc.  For example, DC will play Baltimore, Montgomery will play Charles, Loudoun will play Fairfax, etc.  We will finish the season after 6 games, which will be enough time for all kids to show what they can do an good teams and bad, but it won't drag out to 9 weeks and deep into the hot summer.  We will have a playoff week, a championship game, and we will take two weeks before finishing the season with a North vs South Super Star game where we combine the best 30 from the North Regions, with the best 30 from the South regions.  The teams will be coached by the two coaches that made it to the championship game.  It will be phenomenal.

Venue Change to McNamara for the Final Week:

As President, I made a hard decision to change the venue for the final weeks slate of games.  The decision did not go over well for my parents from Southern MD.  Many of the parents of the Southern MD Wildcats were irate, as were some of the parents from St. Mary's County who play on the Charles County team.  My heart goes out to them and I did not make the decision without much thought and much prayer.  I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your families, and I pray that you decide to bring your sons to the final games on Saturday.  We will be taking team pictures for the website and post season banquet.  The decision was not made as a slap in the face to them or with the thought that we in the GYFL don't love and appreciate Southern MD and the sacrifices that they have made in the first 3 years of the GYFL.  We couldn't be more appreciative of what Southern MD has endured for 3 consecutive years and our hearts go out to those kids and parents, particularly my Sweet 16.  They know who they are.

In hindsight, it was not in the overall best interest of the league to play a game at the far end of the regional spectrum if we couldn't do one for every team that was at the far end.  Our goal has always been to try to showcase every region by moving the games around to every region, but political factors, county regulations, and a myriad of other factors have made it impossible for us to complete that vision.  We have not been able to play a game in Loudoun for 3 years and those parents have had to pack up and trek all over the region since the beginning.  We did not have a game in Baltimore this year.  We did not have a game in Prince William County because of lack of facility space, same thing with Howard County. 

You have no idea how challenging it is to find fields space in the spring and summer that are high quality and have field turf.  We begin at the end of lacrosse season, there is travel soccer being played, we don't have a lot of resources to outbid anybody, in some regions the fields are controlled by the county and it is virtually impossible to get the space, so we have to go with what we can get.  Baltimore, Loudoun, and St. Mary's County represent the 3 extremes with regards to geography and in hindsight, we made a mistake by committing to one extreme region, when we couldn't commit to the others.  If I could not do all 3, I should not have committed to doing only 1.

As there is not a template for Grassroots to follow we have to learn by trial and error and I learned a lot from this year.  In an effort to try to be as fair as we possibly can to the masses of people and do what I felt was in the best interest of the kids on a whole and a league on a whole, I decided to move the venue to the closest field turf facility to Southern MD that I could find, that was available, which was McNamara HS in Forestville MD.  What apparently happens is, most parents don't google and map out the entire season at the beginning.  It appears as though most people MapQuest the game for the next week at the beginning of that week.  Because St. Mary's County is not fully on the football radar yet, not many people know where Leonardtown is.  When parents began googling and realizing it was 2 hours away from Prince William County, 2.5 hours from Fairfax, 3 hours from Loudoun, 3 hours from Baltimore, 2.5 hours from Howard and Montgomery, 1hour and 45 minutes from PG and DC, they got alarmed, concerned and pretty upset.  Coaches were asking for game time changes in order to make it on time, parents were complaining and it was a mess for a couple of days.  A mess created by me. 

As a business man, when you realize you made a mistake, you can't compound that mistake by making another mistake based on an emotional response and a desire to maintain a well intentioned commitment.   You must evaluate the situation, look at all of the ways the decision will impact your business model, understanding that there will be collateral damage, assess the amount of damage, and make a decision based on minimizing the damage.  There was no way to make everyone happy with this decision, but I had to think about the best interest of the masses and in this case, it was clearly less damaging to move it then it would have been to keep it there.  With that being said, the decision was made to move.

For the record, nobody demanded that I change the game and no GM's told me they would forfeit.  But, I heard from a number of parents voicing concerns that they just couldn't make it out there.  The unfortunate part about the end of the season is that at this point, much of the original excitement is gone.  Teams realized two weeks ago that some were out of the playoffs, and some of them that didn't see the big picture began to pack it in.  That lesson is part of the reason why we are going back to 6 games, with flex game schedules that we can control.  We will be able to control the intrigue.  Even if both Baltimore and DC are not in the playoffs, the hype of the Battle of the Beltway will keep kids engaged.  That Montgomery County vs Charles County Game will always have intrigue because of the history of battles between Montgomery Village and Westlake.  Fairfax and Loudoun are border rivalries. 

The other issue is that the 4 playoff teams were officially locked in last week, so the only intrigue for this week is whether Charles County or Baltimore will be the 3rd seed.  On top of that, with Montgomery and Howard being the 1 and 2 seeds, where is the easy game?  What is the benefit of being the 3rd seed?  Getting the opportunity to play the red hot Howard County Stars? If you get the 4th seed, you have to see the undefeated and on a mission Bearcats.

If you are the Bearcats, are you more excited to see the explosive and speed Stallions that can run folks out of the gym.  Or are you happy about seeing Charles County who has a high school sized team that can beat you on the ground and through the air.  The truth is that although this last game of the season is very important to all of us, the kids and parents that don't understand the big picture can't see that.  How many parents from Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, may have chosen to forgo the lengthy drive because there was nothing at stake?  Even Montgomery County parents could have chosen to stay home an even had they forfeited for not having enough players, they would have still been the number 1 seed.  Howard County was going to be the number one seed if they won or lost, forfeited or played, so where was the incentive the make the tremendous sacrifice?

The Southern MD parents have made that sacrifice every week, as has Loudoun and all the other regions that did not get a game because there was stuff at stake in their minds.  That is not the case in the final week.  It was a reality that I had at least 8 regions very upset with me for scheduling this game so far away, not to mention my staff, my athletic trainers, my security, and my referees.  I couldn't come up with a really good reason for not changing the venue to accommodate the masses if it was possible.  We are already losing money every week and we could not afford to have another minimal gate like we did at Wilson last week.  The facilities expect to get paid no matter how many people show up.  That goes for the referees, the trainers, the security folks, and everyone else.   We use the money that we generate at the gate to pay those fees.  If people don't show up, we are in the red like we were last week.  We can't afford that as a company.  If GYFL can't stay solvent, we will not be around and none of these kids would have the opportunities that we currently provided.  When it became possible I had to act on it for the betterment of the masses of families and some in the Southern MD regions will believe was to their detriment, but I disagree.

I am going to do a detailed breakdown for all of my reasons in the Presidents Pen that I would like for you to read because I don't want to take up much more of this space with this matter, but I know that many people read the previews and I want you all to get the just of it.  You can get the details from the President's Pen, but in a nutshell, here is what I see as the Southern MD dilemma for football players, and playing our game down there would not have solved it or even alleviated it.

Big Picture and Long Term Goals:

All of my decisions are based on the big picture of what I want for your kids, which is to do everything possible to increase their chances of competing for a college scholarship when they are seniors. Every decision is ultimately based on that and if I feel one change can improve that chance that is what I will do.  Not all of them will receive one, as a matter of fact most of them won't.  But, those that make the necessary commitments, and the necessary adjustments, will weather the storms and the cream will rise to the top.  Our job is to equip all of them with the information and the opportunity then watch to see which ones will grab their destinies.  We never want to minimize and opportunity.  We only want to maximize it.

This is not about Grassroots for me. Grassroots is a bait and switch. Grassroots is a vehicle to help me develop relationships with kids and parents. For the kids it is way to improve their skill sets, play against great competition, get great exposure and promote the individual athletes brands, so that in less than 4 years, a college or multiple colleges will offer your child and chance to alter his destiny.

It is not about Grassroots. Grassroots is a vehicle to provide all the things listed above and help kids get into the right high schools for them.  May be public, may be private, but we have to plug them into the best HS system for them. But it is not even about just HS. HS is the vehicle to get them to the next level, which is our goal, which is college. Any decision that does not factor that in is non effective as far as I am concerned. It is all about the college recruiters and what they want and what they look for.

The reality is that college recruiters do not flock to Southern MD right now and they never have. If we are successful with Grassroots in the long term, they will begin to and the next generation of St. Mary’s County and Calvert County kids will be the beneficiaries.

If the dynamic does change, it will be the families from the Charles County Heat and Southern MD Wildcats that started off the revolution. If Charles County can win a GYFL Championship, you can’t fathom what it will mean for the reputation of Southern MD football. It will begin a paradigm shift that will begin to bring the best HS coaches to Southern MD to recruit kids, and subsequently, the college coaches will follow. But, it is a process and parents have to trust that I know what I am doing and what I am talking about, no matter how angry they may be with me in the moment.

It is not fair that college coaches don’t come to St. Mary’s County and Calvert County to recruit kids historically. There have been tons of talented student athletes over the years that have gone unnoticed simply because of the county that they live in. There is nothing fair about that. HS football and college football are very political. It is not about fairness and talent. It is unfortunately, more about what HS your child attended, what college connections does that high school have, how much publicity and notoriety does the school get, etc.? If a tree falls in the forest, but nobody was there to here it fall, for all practical purposes it did not fall. That is what has been happening to Southern MD kids historically.

There is nothing fair about the process of getting a kid a college scholarship, and as I said, what I have to keep at the forefront of my decision is always the same thing: Trying to maximize each of your children’s chances to make their dreams of playing college football come true. That is my goal and I keep my eye on the prize in every decision that I make.

At the end of the day, it is not fair that Southern Maryland is disrespected as a football community and has been overlooked for decades. The part of the reason that I set the GYFL up the way I did was to include all of the counties that have been overlooked for so long. Charles County has been overlooked. Calvert and St. Mary’s have not even been on the radar screen. Prince William has never been on the radar, nor has Loudoun County. The perception has been over the decades that the best football players are all in DC, PG County, and Baltimore.  Perception is not always reality, but it is very powerful because it shapes decisions that people make about where they are going to go to recruit. 

The Prince George's County, DC, Montgomery County, and Baltimore regions are primarily where is where the elite, high level HS coaches go to recruit, and colleges flock to the HS that they consider to be elite, and produce top quality prospects every year. Until we can change that dynamic, the colleges are not going to come down there and you guys are going to have to continue to sacrifice as you have been doing.

To have Howard County at 7–1, and Charles County at 6–2, and both with chances to win a Championship is a very big deal because people are watching Grassroots.  We have gotten 1 million hits to our website in consecutive months, which we have never done before.   Coaches are watching us at the high school and college level.  Reporters are watching us.  Rivals is watching.  FBU is watching.  Junior Rank is watching.  Under Armour is watching.  We are changing the entire perceptions slowly but surely throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. That is going to mean the world to those kids from Southern MD, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Howard, etc. We are making changes in paradigms, but it takes time. It is not going to happen overnight.

Nobody is more connected or knowledgeable about what it takes to get a scholarship than I am. For example, I had never even heard of the Pax River Raiders until they joined AYF and began playing outside of St. Mary’s County. Had they not played in AYF and driven all the way up to Baltimore to play in the regionals, I would have never met any of them and they would have never been a part of FBU or Grassroots.  The football down there was virtually non-existent up here where the football Mecca is. The travel is what got them noticed.

All of the major football is played in the DC Metro Area right now. Southern MD kids benefit more when they are seen by MORE Coaches, by more analysts, by more camp directors. We have college coaches that come to our games. We have writers from Rivals and MD High that come to our games. Unfortunately, because of the current dynamic and the distance, they will not come to Ryken.  So if we play in St. Mary's County on Saturday, the kids won’t be seen by All the people that I want to see them.  The local HS coaches down there may see them, but they already know about them.  That goes against our long term focus of increasing scholarship chances, and that is not smart for the kids.

We a have representatives from the best camps in the area at our games. FBU, Junior Rank, the National Underclassmen camp, etc. We have significant movers and shakers like Lavar Arrington and Doc Walker who both talk about these games on their prominent radio shows that is giving these kids major exposure. The GYFL has made these kids household names. Those guys will not come to  St. Mary's County yet. Maybe if we are successful enough, we will make Southern MD a hotbed and the people that matter when it comes to the football world will flock. But today is not that day.

The sad truth is that it is not just about whether parents of other teams want to come, it is about whether or not the people that will truly be able to have an impact on those kids futures are willing to come. They are not going to drive down there right now, so we need to be where they will come.  I would love for all of the family, friends, grandparents, etc. to be able to see those kids play close to home, but the reality is that the family, friends, grandparents, etc., don't have the power to make those kids dreams come true.  For what we are trying to get done for Southern MD football and for those kids, we need for them to be in front of the people that can make the dreams come true and we need to make it convenient for the dream makers, not the friends.  There is too much at stake and the friends can still get in the care and drive up to McNamara to see them play if they choose to.

In order to GYFL to have the credibility that we need to have with the people that can move us to the next level, we need to be in places that are convenient for them. I am in no way saying that the Southern MD parents don't matter.  They mean the world to us.  I love those kids and I believe this move is in their best interests as well if they focus on BIG PICTURE.  Kids can't comprehend big picture at 14, but as adults we must be able to remove the emotion and see if for what it is.  We must be able to take lemons and make lemonade.  We must be able to roll with the punches.  The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

For more details, visit the President's Pen.

Week #9 Predictions

Game #1 Fairfax County vs. Prince William County

It has been a tale of two different seasons for both of these franchises.  Fairfax started with a ton of excitement and fanfare, but they have only won one game thus far.  One thing about the Colts, though, as they showed last week, they will show up and they will fight until the end.

Fairfax started out 0 – 5 and looked like they may never score a touchdown.  Then Coach Levenberry brought in Jerry Blankenship from West Springfield to be the offensive coordinator.  He introduced the spread offense and the Lions have run off 3 wins in a row and look to be on a tear.  The combination of Brandon Pitt to Eric Kumah looks unstoppable, and DJ Wright and Dominque Benson have shown brilliant flashes of talent.  I can’t imagine the Lions losing this one.

Prediction:  Prince William County by 21 points.

Game #2 Howard County vs. Prince George’ County

Prince George’s County played admirably against the Bearcats last weekend.  The score may not indicate it, but the Swarm were in that game for a long time and are a feisty bunch.  QB Darnell Clement stepped in a did a very good job running that offense and we look forward to seeing how he will improve in the last game.

They have a solid offensive line and a couple of game breaking players in Trevon Diggs and James Green, but they don’t have enough to contain a Howard County Stars team that had a bye last week and a chance to get healthy.  The Stars feature some of the most excited and elite talent in the league.  Armani Ceballos and Keyshaun Ebron are both capable QB’s.  Adrian Platt and Abdul Adams are elite caliber running backs.  Eric Burrell is one of the best 8th grade prospects we have ever seen.  Deandre House is a D-1 caliber talent.  Trey Simpson has elite athleticism and they have more players that can get it done.

The Stars will win this one and roll into the playoffs with momentum.

Prediction:  Stars over the Swarm by 20 points.


Game #3 Montgomery County vs. Loudoun County

The Bearcats are undefeated and on a mission.  They are loaded at every position.  They may have the best offensive line in the GYFL, although Charles County will have something to say about that.  They are 4 deep at tailback led by two time GYFL All Star Daqwan Hill, and the 6th grade QB Doc Bonner has ice in his veins.  Defensively, they have speed and aggression at EVERY position led by another two time GYFL All Star Travon Stott at the corner.

Loudoun County has been stout and competitive all year. They have a ton of 7th graders and will be tough to deal with next year, but this year has been very challenging for Eagles.  They have a great offensive line as well and with not a lot on the line it would not be shocking if they made this a game.  However, the Bearcats do want to finish off the season undefeated so they will come to play.

Prediction: Bearcats over the Eagles by 24 points.

Game #4 Baltimore Metro vs. Charles County

This will without a doubt be the game of the day.  These two teams are equally talented and are jockeying for the 3rd and 4th seed in the playoffs, with the winner taking the 3rd seed.  This is truly a toss-up.  “The Archer” Kasim Hill will be back from concussion and should have both Steven “Optimus Prime” Smothers and Morgan Scroggins (fresh off of a scholarship offer from Youngstown State) to throw the ball to.  The “Law Firm” Johnson Lloyd and “The Ninja” AZ Bey have been running like men possessed behind linemen Jonathan Tynes, Myron Turner, and Javon Childs.  Eric Arvinger is back and coming off the corner with reckless abandon.  Taj Washington and Juan Campbell have played big as of late.  They will be tough to stop on offense and tough to score on defensively.

On the Heat side, the OL has been unreal.  Anchored by the QB of the line Taylor Ursery, Matthew Hunt, and Terrance “Big Squeal” Davis, this unit is hard to contain.  RB Damien Jones is a major D-1 scholarship offer waiting to happen on either side of the ball.  He is a ball hawking safety as well.  QB Aaron Parker has been deadly this year throwing to Alec Martin.  Defensively, Andrew Rothstein, Jordan Holmes, and Jayson Johnson hold down the middle, with Perrin Turner patrolling the secondary.  The Heat are loaded and this is truly a coin flip.

It’s mano y mano.  This is Big Boy football.  I have not theoretical basis to select a team in this game, but since I have to pick one, I will pick the winner that could potentially provide the most thrilling championship match up.

Any of these 4 teams that make it July 21st will provide a great and memorable game.  With that being said, there could be no more intriguing matchup than a Mont County vs Charles County matchup.  Montgomery is loaded with kids from Montgomery Village, while Charles County is loaded with kids from Westlake and they have been bitter rivals in the Capital Beltway League over the years. With Montgomery County being undefeated, the #1 seed, they have be favored to get to the Championship over whoever the # 4 seed is.

That would make for one heckuva Championship game, but if Charles ends up being the 4th seed that would be a playoff game and have no chance to be a championship game.  If Charles is the 3rd seed, then it would be possible to get to see Montgomery if they both won their playoff games.  That is not to slight the Stars or the Stallions and not to say who we will favor in the playoff game, but for intrigue purposes, I would like to see Charles as the 3rd seed, which would mean they would have to win this game.

Prediction:  Charles County over Baltimore Metro by 3

Game #5 District of Columbia vs. Southern MD

This will be the final game of the 2012 season.  The Wildcats from Southern Maryland are some of the scrappiest kids that I have ever met.  They have no quit in them.  They are down to 16 players but I call them “16 Strong” because that is how I feel about them.  When we decided to move the game from Ryken to McNamara some of the parents were irate and I had to go down to practice last night and address those kids and their parents.  I was there for 3 hours and I can assure that those kids will come to play.  They will lay it on the line and you better watch out for those kids when they get to high school.

16 Strong consists of Alex Alvarado, Brandon Beavers, Randy Burke, Deandra Bush, Bradley Ditmars, DJ, Dunlap, Derrick Easter, Jhordan Greene, Justin Hansen, Reyquon Holland, Dejuan Marble, Josh Murphy, Tyler Payton, Jessiah Rojas, Rylan Sweetney, and DeMartez (Petey) Thomas.

I love every kid that has every worn a GYFL uniform in the first 3 years, even the ones that quit on us in the different regions for whatever their reasons were.  But, there are some that I am going to go to wall for through thick and thin until the day I die, and then I will be pulling string down from heaven to open doors for them. I have kids from the first GYFL season in 2010 that I will do that for.  I have kids from the 2nd class in 2011 that I will do that for,  I have kids in this class that I will do that for.  I can promise you that I will use all of my connections, all of my relationships and all of my influence to help these 16 kids because of what I have seen them endure and they did not quit.

Everybody that has seen these two teams will assume that DC will blow their doors off and I it could happen.  It probably should happen.  There are a number of factors going on in Southern MD that have hurt this franchise for 3 years in a row so all they are left with is this strong 16, a handful of committed coaches, and some fire breathing parents that love their kids.  So they don’t have enough talent to compete week in and week out in this league.  But, they keep showing up and they keep on fighting, so don’t underestimate them.

DC is loaded with elite talent once again, but they have had some issues this year as well keeping all of their players focused and committed to practice and to the team.  A number of players quit on the team after the loss to Howard County, but the ones that stayed played a valiant game against Baltimore.  They have an intriguing 7th grade QB in Anthony Brown.  They have 7th grader Lawtez “The Lawman” Rogers at left tackle.  C.J. Rainey is a game breaking TB.  Navon Prince, Delonte Hellams, and Patrick Johnson are elite top flight WR’s.  Antonio Favors and Darrin Pullen are flat out monsters that will be dominant HS football players.  Donnell Lowery makes it happen.

I don’t know what to expect from the Warriors on this last game.  For the first time in 3 years they will not be playing for a championship.  We will find out what kind of character they have and see how many of them show up on Saturday.  I can tell you this, you won’t find a better staff than Coach Bink, Coach Los, and Coach Will.  They will be ready and they will compete.  The game shouldn’t be close, but I don’t think it will be as large a margin as originally anticipated after looking in the Wildcats eyes last night.

Prediction:  Warriors over the Wildcats by 26 points.

Week #9 Announcements

  • Team photos will be taken prior to each game on Saturday in opposing end zones.  Teams will take their photos in the end zones to the right of their sidelines.
  • Post Season Awards Banquet will be held on Sunday Aug 5th from 2pm – 6pm @ the DeMatha HS Convocation Center.  The address is 4318 Madison St. Hyattsville, MD
    • Ticket prices will be announced after we have finalized all expenses.
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