They came in three different waves to Frog & Firkin on Thursday night, spread over more than an hour, but in the end, the scene felt like all 32 players and seven staff members were still as one.
The Tucson Youth Football and Spirit Federation 14U All-Star team that reached the American Youth Football championship game in Florida in December was honored with a ring ceremony.
Because of COVID-19 precautions, not all the players and their families could be in the back dining area at Frog & Firkin at the same time. TYFSF president Julius Holt and his staff and coaches organized three separate announcements to avoid a large crowd.
CLICK ON THIS: TO VISIT A GALLERY OF PHOTOS OF THE PLAYERS
Almost all of the players have started their high school academic careers with remote learning. They have also engaged in informal workouts with their football programs. If everything goes as planned, they will start practicing Sept. 7 with the start of the freshman football season in late September or early October.
One of them, towering 6-foot-3 and 285-pound defensive tackle Sa’Kylee (pronounced Sah-kai-lee) Woodard, is going straight to Canyon del Oro’s varsity team despite being only a freshman. His size and strength rivals most senior defensive linemen in the state yet he is just embarking on his high school career.
Woodard was gracious enough to write a postcard daily for readers to enjoy at AllSportsTucson.com while the team enjoyed its week at Florida:
This night was not one of concern for what lies ahead or the problems they have encountered to this point with COVID-19. It was all positive thoughts of what each can become, not only in football but also in life.
There was talk of having a reunion ceremony when each enter their senior season in about three years. Their potential should be well on the way to being fulfilled by then.
Here are some images and video interviews of the evening:
Here is the roster:
2019 ELITE TYFSF ALL STAR CHEER
Danixa McKenzie, Tucson Redskins
Jadelyn Mendez, Tucson Wildcats
Jezeray Lopez, Tucson Redskins
Nissie Arellano, Tucson Wildcats
Ariana Benitez, Tucson Wildcats
Lindsey Mada, Tucson Redskins
Kayla Dalton, Tucson Redskins
Neva Salmon, Tucson Wildcats
Kaylana Derrick, Tucson Wildcats
Julissa Estrada, Tucson Wildcats
Sadie Pearce, Tucson Wildcats
Zabrina Negrete, Tucson Redskins
Emma Morales, Tucson Redskins
Camille Alejandrez, Tucson Redskins
Megan Goodwill, Tucson Wildcats
Celeste Badilla, Tucson Redskins
33 Alexandro Vargas Felix/Oro Valley Dolphins
77 Giovanna Arenas/Tucson Raiders
75 Jaime Charles/Marana Broncos
13 Luis Cordova/Tucson Raiders
98 Jacob Cota/Tucson Redskins
85 Frank Dicochen/Southwest Rams
99 Jose Roberto Heredia/Tucson Raiders
63 Julian Lopez/Tucson Raiders
7 Leland Marshall/Tucson Redskins
70 Jayden Noperi/Marana Broncos
56 Brayden Wolfe/Vail Vikings
55 Sa’Kylee Woodard/Oro Valley Dolphins
Reserve All-Star Linemen
60 Kennedy Ellsworth/Tucson Wildcats
38 Martin Gonzalez/Tucson Redskins
86 Hector Reyes/Tucson Redskins
55 Izaiah Reyes/Southwest Rams
11 Chris Acuna/Tucson Raider
36 Joe Alba/Oro Valley Dolphins
25 Diego Arellano/Southwest Rams
5 Jackson Banhie/Sahuarita 49er’s
86 Savaughn Berryhill/Tucson Falcons
25 Chance Cassel/Oro Valley Dolphins
23 Edgardo Flores/Sahuarita 49ers
22 Ciaosen Fuller/Tucson Raiders
5 Samario Garcia/Tucson Raiders
34 Orlando Gonzalez/Tucson Raiders
1 Cameron Hackworth/Tucson Raiders
4 De Sean Jaiman/Sahuarita 49ers
17 Michael Brody Jones/Oro Valley Dolphins
14 Chase Laux/Oro Valley Dolphins
30 Kaden Luke/Oro Valley Dolphins
5 Tyler Martinez/Oro Valley Dolphins
7 Gabriel Smith/Sahuarita 49ers
33 Devon Waxwood/Tucson Falcons
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) August 14, 2020
Reserve All-Star Skill Players
Dylan Carrillo/Tucson Redskins
88 Zavian Lopez/Marana Broncos
24 Tristan McClelland/Oro Valley Dolphins
4 Josiah Thornwell/Southwest Rams
43 Manny Morales/Tucson Raiders
50 Jaimie Ramirez/Marana Broncos
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.