By JEFF CLEMETSON | Mission Times Courier
When San Carlos Patriots Football and Cheer president Teshawn Johnson first joined the organization as a coach seven years ago, it had been “weak for years.”
“There was no vision over there. It wasn’t rich in talent, per se,” he said.
As Johnson moved up to vice president and then president of the Pop Warner organization, he teamed up with fellow coach Rod Williams and together they transformed the Patriots into a year-round youth sports organization that offers football practice, games and training as well as track and field and cheerleading. There is even a Challenger program for athletes with special needs.
“We linked up together and it’s been like a match made in heaven. We came up with our own workout regimen for the kids and it’s been pretty nice,” Johnson said. “We implemented that system, [the players] took to it, it worked. And we came up with an offseason program to train them to go with it. We were successful, coming one game away from a national championship two years in row. So we figured, ‘Hey this has got to be working so let’s keep it going.’”
In recent years, the San Carlos Patriots have grown from only having maybe two teams and a flag football team to fielding teams in every division for the last three or four years, Johnson said.
“We’ve been seeing consistent growth the last couple years and we’re projecting to be even bigger next year,” he added.
A big part of the Patriots’ growth is the training program, which focuses on more than just football.
“A lot of kids stay with us year-round,” Johnson said. “They go from football to track and field to seven on seven. So we try to have an all-inclusive program to keep the kids active for most of the year. They train pretty hard.”
The hard-training team is developing and attracting standout talent. Talent like Isaiah “The Rocket” Rodriguez — the fastest 7-year-old runner in San Diego, who is ranked as one of the top 10 sprinters in the West Coast. Quarterback Mathew Barton made the 14U U.S. National Football Team last season. Patrick Henry High athletes Jaydin Cook and Omar Hammond both came through the program as well.
“We’ve been blessed to have real good talent the last couple years and it looks like it’s going to stay strong the next few years to come,” Coach Williams said.
Johnson said the Patriots organization is now even attracting young athletes from outside of the Navajo area.
“They’re recognizing what’s going on in the San Carlos community and now we’re getting ball players,” he said. “When we started out, we were just a little local organization in the community of San Carlos, but now people from all over the city are starting to make the trek to come over and be a part our organization — so it’s something to be proud of.”
Football season for the San Carlos Patriots is currently underway and runs into November. For more information about the team, visit pwsancarlospatriots.com.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.