As an organization, East Valley has seen ups and downs, including some roadblocks, but consistent success has been a tenant since 2011. In fact, East Valley won a championship in its first year of existence as the Chandler Hawks
That doesn’t mean it was always easy, though, according to Demery.
“That first year was a eye opener,” he told Developmental Football USA. “[We had] three weeks to get ready, get uniforms and all the behind the scenes stuff that owners go through, [plus] the cost of running a team.”
In eight seasons, East Valley has won four championships. That includes a 10-7 win in 2013 over the Phoenix Outlaws, then in the AZGFL.
Still, Demery doesn’t see those championships as the main reason the program has been successful. To him, it comes down to making an impact on the players.
“Our greatest accomplishment is all the players we’ve helped over the years. Helping them look beyond their perceived level of talent, and the ability to push through to get to the next level that they were told was not an option for them,” he said.
As far as why the Ravens decided to join the AZCFL, like most of the teams in the league, it came down to helping their players develop in the best light possible.
Demery told DFUSA that the AZCFL is more in-line with what East Valley has always wanted for its players, especially looking at it from the lens of being a developmental team.
“The AZCFL built this league from both perspectives of players and owners and put together a great product going into their first year,” he said. “Yes, there will be bumps in the road and everything will not be perfect, but they are handling it all in stride.”
There are high expectations for the level of football in the AZCFL in general, and the Ravens are looking to play a big part in the highlights the league ends up producing in 2019.
“We have a few good core players,” Demery said. “They will be tested on the battlefield of play.”
He was clear that he’ll let the players speak for themselves this season with their body of work on the field. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have high expectations for the team, though.
“When we make the playoffs we hope we are in top form to make a run at the championship,” he said.
The Ravens are ranked 13th in the league heading into the season, but that’s less a slight against them as it is a testament to how strong league play will be in the AZCFL.
The Southwest Stampede, Arizona Running Rebels, Tuscon Desert Demons, and Phoenix Outlaws have all won multiple championships in the past. That’s not even considering the championships East Valley boasts, so without a doubt, this league has talent.
“Any one of the teams in this league can win it all,” Demery told DFUSA.
The Ravens enter the 2019 season with the motto “God, Family and Football”. They’re also playing with a theme this season: “Believe with faith”.
“In any situation, we understand that success is a process that continues not a status that you reach, so we will never stay still. [We’re] always working to improve,” Demery said.
“Ravens move in silence while we work towards our goals.”