by Dave Delgado
Guam - Local boy Daniel Cruz and his brothers continue to give back to the community of Southern Georgia by being active in their youth football program. Cruz plays a big role in the Pop Warner Football organization where he helped the program get its start.
Cruz told KUAM Sports, "The league that we are a part of and started is South Georgia Pop Warner. We are the first Pop Warner League in the state of Georgia and this year we had over 400 kids and probably had 38 teams in different divisions from 5 years old up to 15. Being part of Pop Warner, we are part of the Southeast Region, which includes Florida and this year was our first time to enter the regional playoffs against teams from Florida. We had some pretty good teams but when we got down there and played with them the competition level was high. So we are going back to the drawing board and start back over with the kids. The main thing is starting them when they are 5 years old and keeping them in the same system and keeping them together all the way up to their Midget Division and that helps a lot."
Dan and his brothers have been involved with the youth through the recreational department in Georgia for over 8 years now and says that the rewarding part is seeing the kids progress as players and young men. Dan has got a lot of support from the community along with the local high school coach from the area to help out and implement his program to get the kids started before they head get to the high school level.
Cruz added, "With the Warriors Association is what we represent we got with our high school coach. He just moved to Georgia and he dealt with some Pop Warner Teams. We worked with him from the simple thing like tackling technique, coach's drills for the kids and even down to base defense and offense. We will start the young guys at it and when they get to them it's second nature and they are ready to make it high speed when they get to them. My nephews division they are all freshmen now and they moved out of youth football last year and they went undefeated. I don't think our middle school team ever went undefeated but that first generation of players was pretty strong and they went undefeated."