La Paloma's successful, first football season | News
La Paloma's successful, first football season, with Athletic Director/Head Coach Demond Williams who inspired the formation of the football league.
La Paloma Academy, the Tucson-based pioneer school in the Arizona Charter School Athletic Association tackle football league took on South Pointe Middle School in the inaugural eight-man tackle football team championship game Saturday, November 3, at 7 p.m. at Salt River High School in Scottsdale. La Paloma Athletic Director and Head Coach Demond Williams, who played football for Michigan State and Pima Community College, initiated the formation of the seven-team league.
“The idea started when I came to La Paloma to substitute for a P.E. teacher on maternity leave and I saw how some of the students were naturally athletic,” said Williams, who now teaches P.E. full time. “I knew that La Paloma could flourish as a competitive football team, which is when the idea to start a team came to me.”
Not only was Williams able to field both flag and tackle football teams, but he secured sponsorship from a local Outback Steakhouse, which is uncommon for any prep school. Outback helped buy scoreboards and provided meals for the athletes. Williams prepared the La Paloma Patriots football players, some of whom transferred to the school just to play on the team, by engaging them in summer scrimmages against young high school football players. “I knew my guys had talent because they held their own against more seasoned athletes,” Williams said proudly.
Williams demanded that his players hold at least a C-grade average; now, six players have A/B honor roll averages. In addition, seven Patriots made the ACSAA’s All-Star South team, which will play November 17 at Joy Christian Academy in Phoenix.
“Of course, we’re extremely proud that our team will play in the first championship game,” Williams said. “But more than that, I’ve seen how much the boys have grown in their self-esteem. Boys who were once shy have blossomed. They take more pride in themselves and, because of this, they have stayed out of trouble and are role models for their fellow students. Being involved in this football program has taught them sportsmanship and workmanship and has added structure to their lives.”
Though La Paloma did not take the victory in a close game, 28-24, the students were thrilled to make it so far with the new program.
To find out more about La Paloma Academy, please visit www.lpatucson.org or call (520) 721-4205.
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