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Athletes train for NFL dreams

Despite more losses than wins, seniors who demonstrated exemplary skills on the field were offered the opportunity to play college football.

Andy Siegal, offensive coordinator for College of the Sequoias (COS) in Visalia, CA., wandered into the stands at Clark Intermediate in time to witness the defeat of Riverdale in double overtime.

After the game, Siegal contacted Jon Hall, varsity football coach, informing him of his interest in a few players. Siegal came this campus and spoke with seniors JD Perry and James Brown; he offered both a spot on the team.

?James and I are guaranteed on the team,? Perry said. ?Paris (Smith ?07) is a walk-on, so he?s going to have to tryout to see if he?ll make the team. It?s a comfort knowing that two of my friends will be going to the same school as I am.?

Because COS?s offense was ranked among the highest in the nation for junior colleges, Hall believes the boys will grow in ability.

?COS has been a junior college powerhouse for the past several years,? Hall said. ?They?re looking to be at the top again this up coming year. I think by playing for COS, the boys will not only athletically develop, but in college in general. It will give them an academic, athletic and social opportunity to grow fast.?

Freshmen who participate in a sport often start out as a gray-shirt. Although they still practice with the team, boys’ do not play in games due to their lack of experience.

?I?m hoping next year I?ll be a starter,? Perry said. ?I?ll start as a ?gray shirt? but I want to be starting quarterback. Last year?s quarterback, Andre Sloan El, was a sophomore so this year he?ll be gone and be at Emporia State University. I am concerned whether or not I?ll play or if I?ll do good.?

Twenty-two out of last years 36 football playing sophomores, at COS, have signed letters of intent with a state college, leaving numerous positions available to striving athletes.

?Andy Siegal said ‘that after two years under his coaching I’m guaranteed an acceptance to a state college,’? said Brown.

All three boys fantasize of joining the National Football League (NFL) at an early age. Smith believes starting football in elementary has developed his talent, to help get him achieve his dream.

?The first time I played I was eight,? Smith said. ?It was for the San Leadro Crusaders. I owe all my football skills and achievements to that team.?

In effort to prepare, Smith and Perry are currently throwing footballs twice a week with Hall?s 8th period and lifting weights.

?I?ve wanted to play in the NFL since I was a kid,? Brown said. ?The first time I played was with city league. If I don?t make it to the NFL, I?ll be a professional sports agent. I love sports and want a career in it.?

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