Demopolis youth team headed to Georgia Dome

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

After a 3-0 start, there was little more for which the Demopolis 11-and-12-year-old team could ask during its first season in its new-look youth football league. Through three games, Demopolis has limited opponents to less than 50 yards of offense per game while outscoring adversaries 62-6.

And just when they thought things could scarcely improve, the team received word from coaches Monday that it had been selected for a rare opportunity to represent Alabama in the Georgia Dome on Nov. 23 following the Sunday afternoon contest between the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

“It’s cool. That’ll be my first time going to the Georgia Dome,” Demopolis running back Demetrius Kemp, who has scored six touchdowns thus far this year, said.

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The program matches youth football teams from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee against one another for 15-minute halves.

“That was crazy,” Brantley Kilgore said of the team’s selection to represent the age group for the state of Alabama.

“We feel so good getting to do all that stuff and playing the No. 1 team in Ga. That feels pretty good. We’re not just representing a town, we’re representing everybody in Alabama.”

The team’s defensive coordinator, Don Holtzclaw, is a member of a youth football coaches’ association. His membership with that group helped facilitate the team’s selection for the program.

“One of the things that caught my eye was ‘Are you the best 11-and-12-year-old team in your state,’” Holtzclaw said of a recent visit to the association’s Web site. “So I sent some information in. I really didn’t know what it was about.”

Soon thereafter, Holtzclaw received a call from Jon Clark of the Atlanta Falcons organization. Clark extended the team an invitation to participate in the program some time after Christmas. Initially, the group declined the invitation due to scheduling conflicts.

However, according to Holtzclaw, Clark called back and asked if Nov. 23 would be a possibility.

“We mentioned it to some parents quietly before we told the kids,” Holtzclaw said. Now the team is charged with the task of raising funds for the trip, which will reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $11,000.

“Right now we’re doing fundraisers to get some money together,” Holtzclaw said.

Among those fundraisers is a ticket drive in which the team is offering tickets to the Nov. 23 Falcons game for $35, a full $10 less than the face value of the ticket.

Those interested in purchasing tickets to the event are encouraged to contact Holtzclaw at 334-289-5725. Tickets will go on sale Oct. 4.

The team, which is also coached by Joe Tidmore, Chip Hughes, Jim Logan, Terry Spencer and Joe Holtzclaw, will play one more regular season home game on Oct. 11 against Holt.