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Glimpsing the future

With his players seated in front of him along the edge of the stage, Patrick Akins looked at the crowd gathered at the civic center and made a very straightforward statement.

“This is the future of Demopolis football,” he said as he pointed toward the group of players who represented the town in the 7-8 age class this season.

The players represented the youngest of the three age groups that competed on behalf of their home town for the first time in 2008.

“It’s exciting,” Demopolis High head football coach Tom Causey said of the success the newly-implemented program found in its first year. “You saw it all season long at the ball game. I’m excited for the future of Demopolis football.”

Players, cheerleaders, coaches and families assembled at the civic center Tuesday to take part in the league’s celebratory end-of-season banquet. Putting together the festivities was among the easier of the tasks league organizers faced in their first year.

“Traveling was different. We wondered if the parents were going to travel or if we had to find rides for everybody,” league president Mark McVay said of some of the obstacles the DYFL faced.

“Our biggest thing was we didn’t know what to expect,” Joe Tidmore, coach of the 11-and-12-year-old team said. “We didn’t know how we’d measure up.”

DYFL officials were pleasantly surprised with the outpouring of support that they believed help the league’s first year set the tone for a successful future.

“It went smoother than I actually anticipated,” McVay said. “A lot of the away games we traveled to, there would be more fans in the visiting stands than on the home side.”

“It’s unreal,” Tidmore reiterated. “Everything we’ve done. There’ve been several times through the year we went to the community for financial support and it always got done.”

While the league has yet to bring home one of the many championships organizers are confident the crop of players will win during their playing days, there was a sentiment of satisfaction expressed Tuesday night.

“For the program, when you sit back and look at the whole picture, it’s hard to say we could do much better,” Tidmore said of the program’s first year.

Causey, who addressed the crowd as the event’s guest speaker, was clear in his belief that continued success will come as a community effort.

“As long as that’s the focus, the kids, they’ll always be successful,” Causey said.