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home : sports : local February 5, 2016

11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
Oh, to be a Tiger ... or a Bulldog
Rattlers prepare for the day they play high school football in Kingman
Quarterback Devin Homer (11) and the High Desert Rattlers junior peewee football team take the field at Southside Park Saturday.
Quarterback Devin Homer (11) and the High Desert Rattlers junior peewee football team take the field at Southside Park Saturday.

KINGMAN - Opportunity and relevancy. Putting your squad on the map, at least locally. One Kingman-area football team keeps working for the future.

Wrapping up their regular season at Southside Park last Saturday (losing to the Parker Panthers 32-6), the High Desert Rattlers Junior Pee Wee football team's only purpose is to train kids ages 8-11 to represent local high school football five to 10 years from now.

"All these kids out here, they want to win," Rattlers interim head coach Jerry Homer said.

After former head coach Charles Alan resigned following the birth of his child more than two weeks ago, Homer is continuing the process and wants to build on it.

"They're learning all the fundamentals now, and they'll be ready when they step up to the high school level. This is the way to learn," Homer said.

With the team since Day 1, Rattlers assistant coach Donnie Simms helped make the coaching transition easier on the kids. Simms sees immense change in the squad.

"A lot of our kids, they play all the time," Simms said. "They're very competitive. A lot of these kids that are in middle school, they work real hard. They are the future. And even our first-year players right now, you can't tell who they are because they are all doing so well. They're actually working together as a team.

"Granted, we'd love to be undefeated right now. But our thing is that our kids are growing. That's what matters. That's what Pop Warner is about. As soon as you give them that little nudge, they're playing a lot better. If you have decent coaching and you're molding these kids to play the right way when they get into high school, that's less work the high schools have to do."

So guys, how cool is it to actually put on a football uniform and play?

"It's great," 11-year-old Rattlers quarterback Devin Homer said, a big grin on his face. "It's competitive. You have to come out there and hit someone."

If you follow Kingman Academy High football, you probably recognize Devin's last name. His older brother, P.J. Homer, plays quarterback for the Tigers and just finished his sophomore season last Friday. P.J. will compete to be senior Austin Tomlinson's successor.

Devin plans to follow P.J.'s footsteps and play for the Tigers when he enters high school several years from now. Coach Simms has good reason to bank on that.

"He'll stand in there and take a hit, if it means completing a pass," Simms said. "Reading the defense and things like that, that's what we're trying to teach him. He's in sixth grade. You can't ask for more from a kid that young.

"He has gone above and beyond, injured and everything. And he's still going out there giving it his all. He is a very smart kid. When you're a quarterback, you need that. You need to be able to remember more than one thing at once. I guarantee you, he will play [in high school]."

For the time being, Devin is also learning more about the quarterback position by attending KAHS home games at Southside Park. It also helps that Jerry Homer, his father, is coaching him. P.J. also currently works with the Rattlers coaching staff - even if he has to be a water boy.

"Just got to keep improving, like I am every year," Devin said. "(The coaches) don't get paid to do this. The coaches come out and help us. All 17 players play at least almost half of the game."

Aside from merely having the chance to play competitively, it's also a learning experience for these youngsters.

"It's tough on me sometimes. When I make the wrong mistake in my head, I take the responsibility of it. Every week, we have about 10-12 plays," Devin said, noting he has to remember as many as 30 plays any given day.

Added Coach Simms' 11-year-old son Michael: "I've been playing Pop Warner for, I think, five years. So, I'm kind of used to it. I think it's better [now] because our [previous] board members weren't as good as they are this year. I think it's like a reward. Hopefully over the years, it gets better and better."

Michael, who plays running back and defensive back, also noted that when he first told classmates and teachers at school about the team, they never knew it even existed.

He hopes the public perception of High Desert Rattlers football will look entirely different in 2014 onward.

"It's actually not that bad to watch us," Michael said. "We try our best in every game. The more people we have watch us, the more people get interested."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Margita

As a mom of a LWHS football player, I can tell you it gets no better than the coaching and example set by our Football Coaches. We do have the best coaches in town and therefore our boys respond. There is ALWAYS a positive reinforcement and they learn everyday lessons on life along with the sport.

Posted: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Do any of you parents look at the NFL these days? I wish my kid had never played Pop Warner or high school football. What he ended up with was an injured ankle that has caused him a lifetime of pain and will get worse as he ages.
The NFL is simply modern day gladiators making too much money and behaving too badly.
Why people still want to monetarily support their so called "team" is beyond my understanding.
Why don't parents take all the money they pay out of pocket for expense of this "sport" and spend their off time taking them to museums, the observatories and give them real life learning experience rather than how "to take a hit or hit someone".

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: common sense dfeeds

did you watch the difference in coaching between LW and KAOL at last weeks game??? are you sure you want him going to KAOL son goes to KAOL but I want the best coaches coaching my boy and it looks like LW is where its at, not only do they get taught to be young men on the field but off the field also (that was evident after the KAOL loss-very classy!!) you got my vote LW

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