When it comes down to it, Calvin Broadus is like hundreds of other dads who watched their kids play youth sports and decided he could improve on what he saw and attempted to help make things better. Some turn to coaching and some invest in a better program. Broadus, aka Snoop Dogg, did both – only bigger.
“About 13 to 14 years ago I saw my own son play football and I felt I could help make things better not only for him but for other kids,” Snoop explained. “I knew it was going to be a good idea, I just didn’t know it was going get this big. A lot of these kids need something and a positive direction. Working with our urban youth is important and this gives them something positive to do.”
The Snoop Youth Football League was created for that purpose. The SYFL has teams in Northern California and in Southern California. Snoop is still the head coach of the 12U Diamond Valley Steelers of Pomona High School and he brought his team to Tucson to take on the Sunnyside SW Rams on Sunday as part of the ” West Coast Challenge.”
The Diamond Valley Steelers sport helmets and uniforms reflective of UCLA complete with the Bruins logo on the helmet. The players are also big, big as in huge and talented.
Snoop’s team easily pulled away with a 68-0 win over the Rams at Tucson High but the event was much more than just a football game. Over $2,000 in cash and canned goods was raised and collected for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and the players were exposed to new experiences. It also showed what can be possible if Southern Arizona invests in youth football like some areas of Phoenix and California has.
Cipriano Montes, Jr. is a seventh grader from Covina. He is also the quarterback of the Steelers. He also saw the game as a chance to spread competition beyond state boundaries.
“This was fun and challenging because we didn’t play a Snoop League game but we got to play here,” Montes said. “Everything about our team is teamwork and bonding like a family.”
The Steelers racked up 331 rushing yards with Perrion Pemberton collecting 103 of those. Pemberton also had two touchdowns. Elijah Davis rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns, Jakal Torres added 52 yards rushing and a score, Jaylin Smith had 24 yards rushing and Jason Black had a 20-yard touchdown run. Montes finished with 38 yards passing including a 34-yard TD throw to Rahsaan Lewis.
Lewis also had an interception return for a touchdown as did Elijajuan Scott.
The Steelers simply came from everywhere. The coaching staff was impressed with the effort put forth by the Rams especially Dimitri Acuña and Eugene Gonzalez.
Acuña and Gonzalez matched the Steelers in size and in confidence.
“I think we are really confident and came out to play,” Gonzalez said. “Win or lose we always try to crack some heads. We didn’t win today but we will be better. We are all here to play,” the Lauffer Middle School seventh grader added.
The two teams got together the night before and again after the game to celebrate the competition.
The early game at Tucson High featured two Arizona Youth Football (AYF) teams from the Tucson Youth Football & Spirit Federation (TYFSF), the 8U Steelers from Flowing Wells and the 8U Rams from Sunnyside.
Like the late game, the morning contest got away with the Rams defeating the Steelers 46-7, although the score was only 14-7 after the first quarter.
Marcelino Rosas Montano provided the spark for the Steelers on a 40-yard fumble return to cut the Steelers’ lead down to 14-7 and he also picked up 21 hard-earned yards on the ground.
Montano attends Academy Del Sol and the third grader was glad he could help his team.
“It felt really good to get that fumble for a touchdown but I wish it could be more,” Montano said. “But I liked this game. It was fun. It felt great.”
The Rams cashed in on almost every other chance they had with Angel Armenta leading the way with 78 yards rushing and a scoring run of 25 yards.
A student at Vesey Elementary, Armenta had very little to say after the game except to congratulate his team for how they played.
“We work harder at practice and we worked harder today,” Armenta explained. “We made good plays that helped my runs. I think we all did it.”
Armenta was right. Xavier Grajeda added 66 yards rushing including a 55-yard score and an 18-yard touchdown. Makoa Pina added 71 yards and two touchdowns. Shamar Berryhill had 33 yards rushing and Derek Ausa added 31 and a touchdown.
Besides, Armenta, Adan Rodriguez and Jay Poti also saw a lot of action for the Steelers.
It was a long and hot day but about 5,000 spectators were treated to some great action and a chance to see Snoop Dogg coaching the sidelines. He took photos with some spectators and some local celebrities and athletes after the game including Salpointe standout and University of Arizona commit Justin Holt, Sunnyside championship wrestler Roman Bravo-Young and former Arizona and NFL standout Brandon Sanders. Sanders is also the head coach at Pueblo.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and 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, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com