In just a few more weeks, several expansion teams will make their Minor Professional Football League debuts, including several in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Among those teams are the DeSoto Golden Eagles.
“I think we’re going to wind up surprising a lot of people,” Golden Eagles head coach and co-owner James Blackshire told Developmental Football USA. “A lot of people are looking at us like we’re going to be a pushover or a joke because we’re a first year team.”
DeSoto is also coached by former Dallas Trojans head coach, current defensive coach Alex “Waco” Ovalles and defensive coordinator Al Pipkins.
While the Golden Eagles are a first-year team, they’re much more than a group of rookies throwing pads on for the first time at the developmental level. In fact, the foundation of this team was built many years ago.
“I’ve been involved in coaching in the area for the last 19 years,” Blackshire said. “I had a team in previous years called the Texas Knights. We’ve put that team on hold for the last two or three years until (co-owner) Rodney Fisher came to me and said, ‘Hey, lets do this in DeSoto. I know you’ve still got the contacts and the people to do this the right way.'”
Sure there are other strong developmental teams in the area like the DeSoto Tarantulas and Dallas Trojans, but with many state-ranked high school programs in close proximity, there is plenty of talent to go around.
“We’re going to be committed to bringing the best quality of team we can put together in DeSoto,” Blackshire said. “We’re trying to mentor some of these young men in the community. Me personally, I’m a juvenile probation officer during the day and I want to give back to the community even more.”
While every football team wants to win, winning isn’t the only motive for the Golden Eagles to do what they do.
“We’ve pretty much kept our concept in tact as far as making it a Christian-based concept in the community,” Blackshire said. “We let guys know we’re here for them to showcase their talent and help them out in any way we possibly can.”
As is the case with most developmental teams, the Golden Eagles have several players good enough to play at a higher level and part of Blackshire’s, Fisher’s and other co-owner Omar Lusk’s purpose is to help open those doors to make dreams a reality.
“We have a lot of TV grown kids that play video games, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but some of them have skills that don’t know how to use those skills so that’s something we want to help them do,” Blackshire said. “We want to be more than just a football team. We want to be an organization that’s recognized by the city and recognized by the state itself.”
The Golden Eagles are scheduled to have their first ever game Feb. 18 against the Central Texas Apaches to tune up for their MPFL schedule and give the coaches a chance to evaluate their roster and decide who fits best where.
“I think our starting quarterback right now would be a guy by the name of George Estrello,” Blackshire said. “He’s a dual-threat type of guy. He’s a runner and he’s got a nice arm on him.”
In any team sport, chemistry goes a long way and that’s one area in which the offensive line is ahead of the curve for a first-year team.
“Our line will be anchored by Roshon Brokenberry,” Blackshire said. “This guy has a lot of ability and a lot of talent. We also have some linemen that all played together on another team.”
This unit should give Estrello time to get rid of the ball and leave it up to DeSoto’s offensive weapons to do the rest.
“Receiver wise, we have a young man by the name of James ‘Skippy’ Williams, then we have another guy by the name of Mack Brown,” Blackshire said. “He’s out of the East Coast. He’s a quick receiver with some nice hands on him. We’ve got some young talent that are going to be good down the line, run good routes and have good hands.”
Last, but certainly not least, the Golden Eagles have a deadly one-two punch at running back.
“KaDarrious Mathis, we call him Kado, he’s real nice,” Blackshire said. “We also have a guy, James Roberts, that spent some time on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. He has an exceptional career ahead of him as well. These two right there are quick, low to the ground and very agile.”
Defensively, look for former Texas College defensive lineman Melvin Terry to be a force for the Golden Eagles.
“He has a non-stop motor,” Blackshire said. “He’s quick, agile and real strong. He’s going to be an excellent pass rusher and run stopper.”
The linebacker unit should also be a strength for DeSoto with Alonzo Jackson and Lorence Dangerfield holding down the middle of the field. In the secondary, the Golden Eagles have a cornerback tandem coaches feel very confident in.
“Greg Creer is one of my cornerbacks,” Blackshire said. “He’s a high school graduate from the area and he’s a college graduate with college experience. He’s got good field vision and good size. We’ve got Pat Jones at the other corner. With these two together, we have a pretty nice set of corners, they’re going to do well on the field.”
The Golden Eagles should be competitive in their division, but they also have non-divisional road match-ups against the North Texas Stampede and the Denton Rhinos and a home-and-home against the San Antonio Warriors.
“I think we’re going to have a competitive season,” Blackshire said. “We’re going to be challenged a lot with the North Texas Stampede. They bring a lot of experience. They’ve been around for 17 years. They’re well-coached, they’re going to be disciplined. I’ve got to keep my guys focused, keep their hype down so they play where I need them to be at.
“The San Antonio Warriors might give us some trouble because they’re a well-disciplined team and they’re very fast, from what I’ve heard. Some of those other guys are first year teams that have veterans from other teams. I’m familiar with some of those guys and some of their coaches. We’re not going to take anybody lightly and I’m hoping they don’t take us lightly.”