Tigers Legacy Lives On
CITYBALLER CEO Ronald Jackson Jr
DETROIT, MI - The Detroit PAL Tigers versus the Giants benefit game took place on Saturday, July 20th. The game was at East English Village Preparatory High School. It was a beautiful day for football. The atmosphere was incredible! The Tiger's uniforms and colors were beaming! I was really impressed with those silver chrome decals and face masks that the Tigers A-Team (13-14 year olds) wore. Most enjoyable was the flag football (5-6 year olds) game. Those little guys were having lots of fun. I did not expect to see so many people in the stands and around the field. The support for this game was tremendous. I believe people were there to see what type of team the Tigers would have after all their football, cheer coaches, players and cheerleaders left to form the Spartans. It was reported that the former Tigers coaches took over 120 players and cheerleaders with them to form the Spartans. That is a devastating blow to any organization!
Leading up to this game people were speculating that the Tigers would fold or fall off due to the all of those players, cheerleaders and coaches leaving. Well, that is not the case! The Tigers had well stocked numbers on all of their football squads. Although the Giants won 3 out of 5 games, it was still good to see the new Tigers players and coaches compete the way that they did. I might add that the Tigers cheerleaders did not miss a beat. They were outstanding in their half time dance routine!
I spoke with Coach Rodney Reynolds, Founder and now President of the organization, and he said, "It will take some time to rebuild the Tigers back to an overall dominate force due to the mass exodus of all the outstanding players who went with former coaches to the Spartans." Reynolds continued, "About 80% of our players are new to tackle football...anyone can coach an all-star team full of talented players with years of experience...we know that those players who left and went with them (Spartans) are talented...the pressure is on them to win now; not us. We will continue to strive and focus on providing an opportunity for all volunteers and participants to serve and roll with the Tigers...WE ARE FOREVER!"
It has to be frustrating and difficult for Coach Rodney Reynolds to see this happen the way it did with all of his kids leaving with coaches to form the Spartans. However, I think the Tiger legacy will live on. I remember when Reynolds started the Tigers in 1998. He gave me (Ronald Jackson) the first opportunity to showcase Cityballers.com. I am forever grateful for him. If anyone is capable of withstanding such a blow; it is Coach Rodney Reynolds.
CITYBALLERS.COM KICKOFF CLASSIC
THE BIGGEST GAME IN THE D - The 1st Cityballers.com KickOff Classic featuring Detroit AYF vs Detroit PAL. AYF Michigan Bulldogs vs PAL Northwest Cougars - Sunday August 3rd, 2014 @ Detroit Mumford High 2PM. You can't miss this one!
NEW PANTHER PROWLING
CITYBALLER COLUMNIST JOSEPH GIBSON
DETROIT, MI - Football is a game of split-second decisions. Every second counts. One correct decision could potentially land a championship, a win, and all of the glory. One bad decision could land you on the bench, on a stretcher, or forever vilified. It's all about instinct. What is the definition of being instinctive? Reggie Pearson Jr.
Standing at 5'7" and 150 pounds, Reggie is smaller than your typical safety. Yet, what he lacks in size, he makes up for with his nose for the ball, as well as the ball carrier. When asked whether he enjoyed laying the wood, or being a ball hawk, he was straight to the point. "Both," he boldly stated.
Pearson is also a bright young man. He is an academic scholar at Romulus Summit Academy. He's always been a straight-A student, which is extremely important. You can't play football if your grades aren't right.
Reggie got his football introduction by playing for the Detroit Dolphins youth team. He's currently an attendant of the Michigan Elite Underclassmen Team, where he is being coached by former Detroit Lions safety Ron Rice. Coach Rice raved about how exceptional of a player Pearson is.
" I've seen Reggie play in Little League. As of late, he's been a part of our Michigan Elite Football Club. So during the offseason, he's trained with us. and, he plays 7-on-7 on our underclassmen team. He played a little defensive back and receiver for us. I've seen him do some really, really, REALLY good things as a player. I think what stands out to me, are his instincts. With instincts, you either have it, or you don't. So, for him, he has the ability to make a lot of big plays, more so than a lot of the other players we have. We had a tournament, and he came up with 8 interceptions in one tournament, which is unheard of. He sees plays develop, and is able to get a jump on the ball unlike any young safety that we've had in our program. I kind of parallel him to Ed Reed. If Ed Reed were in 8th grade, he'd be Reggie Pearson Jr.," Rice explained.
Pearson Jr. was presented the opportunity to attend some of Detroit's highly touted schools, but is choosing to attend River Rouge high school next year. The decision was made due to Pearson's personal relationship with head coach, Corey Parker.
"I've known Reggie and his family prior, due to his older brother playing for me when I first got you River Rouge. I'm a defensive backs guide. I played at Eastern Michigan from 2001-2005, and I was All-State at St. Martin De Porres. With that being said, anytime I'd work at a 7-on-7 camp, I'd work with the defensive backs, and I'd always run into Reggie. From there we developed a strong relationship. It was more socially than athletic. We started clicking really well. When it was time for him to show what he could do, his dad brought his little league team, the Dolphins, over for 7-on-7's, and Reggie was one of the kids who completely showed out. The B-Team ran and the A-Team ran, but he was one of the best football players here. A lot of coaches might not look at it that way because, at the time, he was also one of the smallest guys here. Some coaches are very harsh on kids about their genetics. But, if he can play, he can play."
With undeniable talent, and knowing you are good, there has to be a sense of knowing that you can always improve. Coach Rice wants to make sure that Pearson knows that.
" He can improve on every single aspect of his game. The reason I say that, is that there's room for growth and maturity and for him to become better. I never tell a kid that they're a finished product. I'm not saying that to be facetious or anything, I'm just saying that he needs to improve on his coverage skills to reach his maximum ability. He needs to improve on his tackling. He needs to improve his speed. He needs to improve every aspect of his game for him to get to where he needs to be. Again, this is not a knock on Reggie, because I think he is an exceptional player. I don't want to see him become complacent. I won't be the coach to tell him that he's made it, knowing he's got a long way to go. I want to see him be great," Rice further explained.
Pearson Jr. is primed to be a premier safety for years to come. He has a coach in Parker, with whom he has a great familiarity with. He's got a coach in Rice , who's played professionally, and is willing to push him to the limit. Also, he has a father who supports him to the fullest. Most importantly, he possesses the will and desire to be great. He even set statistical goals for his freshman season.
"I want 6 interceptions, and 40 tackles," Pearson Jr. said. If the hype is legitimate, he may just exceed those goals.