According to Albert and Ray, who played for Clinton Parks and Recreation and Sampson Middle School, respectively, this was the first year they opted to tryout for an arranged team.
“There are a lot of high school kids in our neighborhood that we played backyard football with, and they were the ones that motivated us to tryout for football,” Albert explained.
Albert’s allurement towards trying out for the CRP 11-12 year old league, he said, was sparked through pure interest since he had never played for an organized team in the past.
As for his time spent with the Seahawks this season, Albert played the quarterback position, while dabbling with other spots on the field such as receiver and safety.
While spotted as the backbone for the team, Albert played 10 games, had 30 touchdowns, rushed for 1,400 yards and proved a valiant leader.
“It was his overall leadership on the field,” coach Ron Davis said was what caught his eye for the young talent. “All the kids looked up to him as the leader. He never got too low or too high.”
According to Davis, in every sport leadership is key for winning games, but more importantly it is a necessity for individual growth.
“In everything, you need leaders; and in times where things don’t go so well, you need someone to hold the team together. Albert would say our motto, ‘next play,’ and that’s a key if you want success.”
In order to motivate his team to forget the mistakes and focus on the next play, Albert would bring the players together in the huddle to pray and chant.
“We talk about how we are going to have fun because football is all about fun; you have to play your heart out,” Albert expressed.
The first time football player’s ability to see past mistakes on the field and take the team to a higher level is a trait which will take him far, his coach believes.
Beyond holding the team together through his leadership skills, Albert has grown to grasp the fundamentals of the sport.
“The quality of coaching in the group of kids, flag to the 12 year olds, has really helped out as far as fundamentals,” said CRP Jerry Herring, adding football 101 as a course the upper level coaching staff hates to have to teach the players.
Although Albert has grown to understand league ball, Davis joked that it wasn’t always this way.
According to Davis, before the Seahawks first game, Albert, while playing defense, asked, “How many Mississippis do I have to count to before I can tackle the quarterback.”
Traditionally in backyard play, roughly 5 counts of “Mississippi” or one automatic blitz is deemed admissible, but in league ball any amount is acceptable, which Davis found amusing.
Much like his twin, Ray, a seventh grader at Sampson Middle School, joined the team for the first time this year.
“I wanted to join this year because I like to tackle,” a coy Ray voiced.
During his time on the team, Ray proved himself a key player on the field and was moved from second string to first string.
Spotted as right guard, Ray utilized his tackling ability to help lead the Dark Horses to a tied-for-first regular season finish.
Beyond their time on the field, they both enjoy watching football at home, they said.
Listed among their NFL heroes were Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots; Randy Moss, receiver for the Patriots; and small-town icon Willie Parker, running back for the Steelers.
“I went to Willie Parker’s camp this year, and it was very exciting to meet him,” Albert expressed with a smile spread ear-to-ear.
According to Albert, Parker’s camp trained the youngster on tackling, acquiring a better stance and taught him how to properly throw the ball.
As for their football future, Davis said of the pair, “There is a lot of excitement around both the Deavers and both are headed towards a bright future.”
Before finishing, Albert and Ray expressed their thanks to their mother, Gloria, for her everlasting love and invaluable support.
Because she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, Gloria was unable to see her sons play, however, both of her football stars said they knew she was there in spirit.
Jessica Wagner can be contacted at (910) 592-8137 ext.122 or reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org