This is where it all starts. A bit removed from the tackling, the competition is still there. The huddles, the plays, the passes, the running and the cheering. Lost in some of the competition, is the fact that the players (and the coaches) in the 8U Flag Division of the Tucson Youth Football and Spirit Federation (TYFSF) are still learning. Mistakes happen at all levels, up through the NFL, but mistakes at this level are expected because mistakes are part of the learning process. Still, we cheer, and for good reason. What’s not to like?
Emmanuel “Junior” Hernandez started the scoring off with a run through a field of arms and hands reaching for his flags until he found daylight some 55 yards down the field to put the Marana Broncos up 6-0. At this level, a pass after a touchdown is worth two points and Hernandez did just that, a nice play to Dominic Alvarez, to make it 8-0.
Ryan Young recorded a safety for the Broncos to make it 10-0 but Jaxson Samorano pulled the Tucson Steelers to within 10-6 on a 55-yard blast of his own moments later.
Hernandez made it 16-6 on a 40-yard run and he hit Alvarez on a 6-yard pass in the final moments of the game to make it 22-6 and then 23-6 after he ran the extra point in.
There is always a winner on the scoreboard but the true winning comes it the experience of being on a field in real competition and no one grows more than the coaches and parents on the sidelines. In time, the coaches will be wearing headsets and the parents will be far removed, sitting in the bleachers. Hopefully, they will remember that a simple juice box was the cure for all that went “wrong” and a hug is the cure for everything.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com