Jr. Blue Devils Lose Last Game, Prepare For Next Level
The 14 year olds on the newly formed Jr. Blue Devils football team finished their season in the "Rose Bowl" of the St. Louis Junior Football League.
ST. LOUIS — A team of 14-year-old boys, mostly from Maplewood and Richmond Heights, had its last chance of the season to leave it all out on the field on Sunday.
The St. Louis Jr. Blue Devils finished their first season in the highly competitive St. Louis Junior Football League with a 32-0 loss to the Centerville, IL, team at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club in north St. Louis city. The game, known as the Rose Bowl, wraps up the season for the league.
The Jr. Blue Devils team was formed to give boys in the Maplewood Richmond Heights area a chance to learn some football and team skills before they reach high school. The MRH School District didn't have its own youth sports program, so this football program, in its first year, filled an empty niche for the youngsters. They lost to Centerville, but for the boys going on to play in high school, it was a total success.
"The guys that you see here are going to go far in life. I believe very highly in them," assistant coach Robert Williams said. "Our motto is, we don't quit. You go in with a winning attitude; you'll go out with a winning attitude."
The Jr. Blue Devils received the opening kickoff, but running back Lee Kee Robinson and the Blue Devils offensive line continually ran into the much bigger defensive line of the Centerville team. Quarterback Alistair Lallier had his problems too, with the Centerville defense often in his face. The ball changed hands, and Centerville scored on a 50-yard run in their first possession.
Lallier ran to the sideline between downs for each play from head coach Lee Robinson. Sometimes he would tell Lallier, "same play" or "just keep it and run to the left"—not very different from a game in the backyard.
The score was 13-0 at the half, but it would have been worse if not for the mighty efforts of "Dynamite" Romelle Person. Person stands 4 feet 3 inches, according to his mother Belinda Person. Person played safety for the Jr. Blue Devils and pulled down an interception on the Blue Devil 10-yard line to stop a Centerville drive in the second quarter. He later broke up a pass in the end zone and often tackled players more than twice his size.
The second half was more of the same. Centerville received the kickoff and ran it home to make it 19-0 in their favor. The Centerville line gave their quarterback plenty of time to make both short and long passes. The Blue Devils stopped two-point conversion attempts in both halves of the game. They never lost heart.
Some of these Jr. Blue Devils will now go on to play for the Maplewood Richmond Heights High School team. Rashaad Williams is on the line, Lee Kee Robinson is a running back and Noah Snyder is a receiver.
Zach Siebert, center on the Jr. Blue Devils, looks forward to playing at the high school level.
"I get to play with my friends now, all Maplewoodians," Siebert said. "Their center is graduating and that's where I play."
Patrick Pinnell, the Blue Devils' senior All-Conference center is the brother of one of his best friends, he said.