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Home | Tag Archives: west texas lions

Tag Archives: west texas lions

West Texas Lions Prep for MPFL Playoffs as Top Seed in the West

After several years of multiple teams and leagues appearing and disappearing, the West Texas Lions have emerged as the top Semi-Pro Football team in the El Paso region.

In just their second season, the Lions are the first El Paso team in the Borderland-area to take the first seed in the MPFL Western Conference regular season.

Under the leadership of Head Coach Lorenzo Gathers, the Lions to head into the first round of play offs – which will be hosted by the Lions – after defeating the Midland Pride 25-24 in OT. The Lions ended up the regular season with a 9-1 record and – out of 18 teams in the league – they are ranked #2.

The team is co-owned by a brother and sister duo, Stephanie Rose and Jesse Rose.

Their vision was to give talented athletes a second opportunity to move up to the next level or just play the sport they love. The Lions are also heavily involved in the local community, mentoring local youth and participating in community outreach projects.

The Lions also have a large number of military players, which in a military city, gives soldiers an opportunity to build a family relationship with their teammates.

The goal, according to owner Stephanie Rose is to become an team for families to enjoy watching, and to bring pride to El Paso.

Officials with the team add, “The team has all the talent, dedication, and discipline needed to bring the MPFL championship trophy back to El Paso.”

The Lions’ home field is Santa Teresa High, where the Western Conference Championship will be played.  That game is scheduled for June 9th.

If the Lions make it past the Western Conference Championship game play in the league championship which will be hosted in Dallas.

Photos courtesy West Texas Lions.

El Paso’s MPFL Franchises Meet in 1st Round of Playoffs

The rivalry games between the developmental football teams in El Paso never disappoint and this Saturday has the potential to become an instant classic as the West Texas Lions host the El Paso Seminoles in the first round of the Minor Professional Football League playoffs.

“Many players on the Lions team are former Seminoles, including myself,” Lions general manager Derek Smith told Developmental Football USA. “This game is much more than just a first round playoff game, it is personal to a lot of players on both sides, so we don’t expect anything less than a knock out, drag out, fight to the end.”

The Lions (7-2, 6-2 in MPFL) earned the right to host this game by sweeping the Seminoles (4-4 in MPFL) in league play with two, too-close-for-comfort wins, 28-25 and 24-21.

“The Noles games are always personal,” Lions owner Jesse Rose told Developmental Football USA. “It will be well fought and we will come full force. Defensively, we’re looking for a shutout to make a statement on what’s to come. We will be a different team on the road for the playoffs.”

In just their first year, the Lions came onto the scene flexing and quickly emerged as what seems to be the toughest team in El Paso. During the regular season, the Lions only losses have come to the undefeated West Texas Pride out of Midland.

“We have definitely grown as a team,” Rose said. “We’ve put a group of different personalities and team origins together and we’ve made it work. Satisfied would never be a word I would use on the football topic, though. We have a lot to work on and a playoff road ahead, but I am proud of the direction we are heading as a team and even more proud and honored to play side by side with the men that make up the Lions. We expect excellence from our players. We expect to be champions and the road has just begun.”

In addition to being the team owner, Rose is also well respected around the league for his play at defensive end, but this weekend it’ll take every man fighting on every down to extend the team’s season one more week.

“All I really have to say is that it’s crunch time,” Smith said. “The Noles are a solid group of players with a lot of drive and heart. Despite all the riff raff between the Lions and Noles, we know that Noles have weapons and can use them. They have a solid offense and defense. The Lions will need to put pressure on the quarterback and lock down the receivers. We have a very talented DB core and have many playmakers. Basically, what the Lions need to do is play smash mouth football and play to our potential. If we do that, we will dominate.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the MPFL Plains Division Finals to take on the Pride for a shot to represent the Plains in the league’s Standing Four.

“The Lions and Pride are two very competitive teams that are hungry for wins,” Smith said. “I’m sure both teams will be at their best, if that game happens. There are a lot of prior Seminoles and players from El Paso that have never won at Grande Communications Stadium. These next two games are truly going to test our vets and new people. We are by no means looking past the Seminoles though, that is our major focus right now.”

Anything can happen in the playoffs, but right now two  teams around the league are heavily expected by most to make it out of their division and secure a spot in The Standing Four.

“The Metro and Capital Divisions are tough,” Smith said. “As always, the Bullets and Vipers are the ones I feel are going to make it to The Standing Four. I’m not sure who the other one will be, but I’m pretty sure whoever makes it will be equally as tough. I’m hoping that the West Texas Lions will be standing with them in the end.”

While a trip to The Standing Four would be huge for the first year team, everything beyond Saturday hinges on whether they handle business against the Seminoles.

“We’re ready mentally, which is most essential in this game,” Rose said. “We believe in each other and in our first day goal as a team, which is to become league champs.”

ARTICLE COURTESY DFUSA

WTL1

New Semi-Pro Spring Football team set for Inaugural Season

The groundwork for the West Texas Lions’ inaugural season has been laid for several months now and finally, next month, they will face their first ever opponent in a pre-season game against the Las Cruces Kings on Feb. 4.

“We have several players coming together from all the different teams from El Paso and parts of New Mexico,” Lions general manager Derek Smith told Developmental Football USA. “It’s been pretty busy for us, to get involved in the community, get our name out there. It’s slowly, but surely, coming along.”

Right now, the Lions have more than 70 players competing to make the roster, which will have to be trimmed to 60 by the time Minor Professional Football League play starts in March.

While starters have yet to be named, several players have caught the attention of the Lions’ coaching staff during pre-season workouts.

“Khalil Shareef, he’s our running back,” Lions owner Jesse Rose told Developmental Football USA. “We’re going to use him a lot, a lot of outside runs. He’s a speedster and he hits the hole hard. Omar Rojero is also a good back in the rotation. He’s bigger and more of a power back and has a great attitude.”

Smart quarterback play is crucial for a developmental team hoping to make a post-season run and the Lions have two studs that head coach Bill Smith and offensive coordinator Tony “Taz” Decquir will be scrutinizing for the next two months.

“We have two pretty good quarterbacks,” Rose said. “We have an older veteran Jeff Turnbull, he’s a solid quarterback with great footwork. He has a lot of knowledge and experience in the game and we have Sergio Ramos. He’s only like, 19 but he looks pretty promising, he’s real fast, like a 4.6 forty. He can throw well on the run and those guys are going to battle it out before the season starts.”

Rose will himself be playing defensive end and several other prospects have stood out on that side of the ball.

“We’ve got some new players that look good, but as far as kids established from the beginning, Kevin Loera, he’s young, very explosive, strong and agile,” Rose said. “He can cover, he’s looking to hit you, he lays the wood. Another young kid that’s been with us from the beginning is Alvaro Gonzoles. He’s looking to play defensive end. He’s very explosive, eager to learn and hungry to take the starting position.”

Last year’s Rio Grande Football League Champions, the Sun City Reapers, are currently defunct and the Lions have benefitted from their closure.

“Big Quan McWorther came over from the Reapers,” Rose said. “He’s an older veteran, he’s big, like 6-8, 290 pounds. He’s going to play defensive tackle, he used to play defensive end. He’s going to plug some holes and also be able to play left tackle if we need him. He’s a big asset, he’s like a brick wall.”

C.J. “Cheese” Dawson, who can play defensive end or linebacker, and James Brantley, who plays both wide receiver and defensive back are two more players to watch out for, Smith said.

“I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with what we bring to the table,” Smith said.

IMG_1918Despite being in their first season, the Lions’ vision reaches way beyond just being a strong West Texas team.

“We’re a new team, so not a lot is expected of us, but we established this organization with the vision to be a championship team, if possible, now, but eventually for sure in years to come,” Rose said. “That’s what we strive for when we break our huddles. We try to instill that mentality in our players. Our goal is to be the team to beat in El Paso and be a powerhouse here, then dominate teams from other areas and start beating the teams from Dallas, Austin and everywhere else.”

While winning is important to every sports team, the Lions believe that winning is a byproduct of building the right foundation.

“Everybody’s goal is to win games and win a championship and to look good and everything, but right now we’re focusing on building a good team and bringing everybody together,” Smith said. “We’re bringing people together from different teams, so we’ve got to build the chemistry and go from there. It’s good to have a winning season and I do see a lot of positive things happening and we expect them to happen.

“We have a lot of young players coming in also and we’re looking to develop those young players. We emphasize being positive and developing character, being involved in the community and being a positive person. If people come in and start to be negative, we give them a warning. If they can’t remedy the situation, then we don’t need them on the team. It’s not just about playing football, it’s about being role models for people and being productive members of society.”

The staff, including Director of Operations Stephanie Rose and Marcus Quintana, has worked hard in helping the Lions leave a nice footprint on the west side of the Sun City.

“We’ve been involved in the community a lot, doing Toys for Tots with El Paso Children’s Hospital and working with other people to do community service, to show them who we are and also to give back,” Smith said.

The Lions are a 501(c)(3) and they are still accepting sponsors for the 2017 season. You can reach them through their Facebook page.

Author: Landon Wright – dfusa.net

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