“This year was one of the most talented bunch of kids I’ve had,” said West Stokes Prowlers coach Robert Money. The varsity team, made of 11 and 12 year olds, may have tied for fourth place in the Surry County Little League Football Organization, but gave a strong effort throughout the season.
“We underachieved this year. We lost a lot of really close ballgames that could have gone either way,” Money said. “But, unfortunately a lot of them were new to the game. That’s why is it important to start football early to learn the fundamentals and to start fine tuning them at this age. If some of my more athletic kids had been playing for a few years, this would have been a different outcome as far as records.”
Money serves as president of the Prowlers program and has coached three teams that have gone on to win the SCLLF Super Bowl, and five regular season championships.
“We hope each child takes away not only learning the game of football, but realizing there are consequences, good or bad, for decisions we make. We want them to always try their best, win or lose, and that’s all we could ever ask,” he said.
The coach also hopes players transition to the middle and high school programs.
“That’s the reason it was started back in 2004. King wasn’t noted for football, but with the start of the Prowlers, the success of Chestnut Grove, and the success we’ve had at our high school with conference championship, and a state title, hopefully we’ll continue to make football a name in King.”
Money had 15 kids age out of the program this year. Although he expects a number of young athletes to move up to varsity, he said this season’s players will be missed. Five on his team were named All-American: Brighton Berthrong, Christian Perez, Elijah Flippin, Gabriel Barker, and Kalob Beasley.
Barker was named SCLLF Most Valuable Player.
“Gabe broke the career tackle record with 123, previously held by Jared Moorefield at 120 tackles. He had 59 tackles last year and 64 tackles this year in his MVP season,” the coach said. “He was the anchor of our defense at middle linebacker. He never came off the field. He was our kicker, played fullback, tight end, receiver, and backup quarterback. He played in eight different positions at one time or another this year. He will be missed.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.