S.W.A.G in Draper, Utah
Students With Aspiring Goals (S.W.A.G) has been busy these last couple of months. In June, The S.W.A.G Youth took their talents to Draper, Utah to participate in an annual 7 on 7 tournament. The S.W.A.G Youth are comprised of 7th and 8th graders. The 8th graders will be entering high school in the fall. The team consisted of student athletes from Merced County. The players that made the trip to Utah were: Irik Dobbins (Buhach Colony HS), Dante Cloy (Buhach Colony HS), Alberto Marquez (Le Grand HS), Julian Diaz (Le Grand), Devontae Smith (Pacheco HS), Quenton Mcdaniel (Golden Valley HS), Vincent Alvarez (Los Banos HS), Angel Gutierrez (Atwater HS) Robert Enriquez (Rivera Middle School), and Marcus Ordunez (Los Banos Jr. High).
The S.W.A.G youth ended up going 3-3 in Utah. The quarterback play of Alberto Marquez and Robert Enriquez was impressive. Alberto Marquez will be attending Le Grand High School next year and had spectators waiting to see his next throw. “He played well and made some tough throws. He can be a great quarterback in this area if he continues to work hard,” stated Coach Brett Nickelson. Robert Enriquez, also came in the games and made some great throws. Enriquez will be going to 8th grade, so he will be back behind the helm next year. The receiver corps of Dante Cloy, Irik Dobbins, Julian Diaz, Marcus Ordunez, and Vincent Alvarez paced the passing game. Alvarez and Diaz were the most consistent in making clutch catches. Cloy and Ordunez stretched the field and produced the big plays. Dobbins carved the defenses with his run after the catch ability. Defensively Devontae Smith locked down one side of the field at the cornerback position. This is Smith’s first year at the defensive back position. Smith was converted from linebacker to defensive back after coaches seen his ability. “This kid can be great if he wants to be great. Once he gets the confidence and the work ethic, he will be a top defensive back in this area,” stated Coach DeVon Hilliard. Gutierrez, played tough in the middle.
The goal of this tournament was to get local kids from an underprivileged area to see a different part of the world. The S.W.A.G youth had to learn responsibility and how to act in the public setting away from home. Chaperones Mone Gardere, Tracey Alvarez, and Robert Enriquez Sr. accompanied S.W.A.G on the trip and played an integral part in the safety of each youth.
One week after the S.W.A.G Youth made the long road trip to Draper, Utah they were tasked to play in the Passing Down tournament in Sacramento, CA. The S.W.A.G Youth had big shoes to fill being that the older S.W.A.G student athletes won the Elk Grove Passing Down tournament in March. This would be a hard task due to S.W.A.G Youth was missing six key players. The players missing were: Marcus Ordunez, Alberto Marquez, Devontae Smith, Vincent Alvarez, Julian Diaz, and Angel Gutierrez. In the first game the S.W.A.G Youth had to match up against a very talented and well coached Diverse Sports (Stockton, CA). S.W.A.G was blanked 33-0. S.W.A.G was playing with eight players. S.W.A.G came back and won against Team Malu (San Jose). Then the single elimination tournament began. S.W.A.G received the 4th seed in the elimination tournament. Team S.W.A.G would match up against Team Malu again, and it was the same result as S.W.A.G came out on top. After a brief break, S.W.A.G had to play #1 seed Team ASAP (Sacramento). S.W.A.G hung in the game until late, and Team ASAP secured the victory at the end. S.W.A.G had strong play from WR’s Dante Cloy, Jason “JJ” Crockett, and Irik Dobbins. Passing Down Blogger Lorenzo Reyna was impressed with the size and play of Crockett and Cloy so he interviewed both of them. The winner of the 1st annual Passing Down tournament was Team Field Up (Clovis/Fresno). Field Up is coached by Elon Paige.
The S.W.A.G Factory made its way to Long Beach, CA to participate in a camp to impress college coaches on June 23rd and 24th. The S.W.A.G Factory is comprised of student athletes from Merced, Fresno, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties. Students With Aspiring Goals (S.W.A.G) was founded in June of 2013. The mission of S.W.A.G is to prepare student athletes for college admission through academics, mentoring, and national exposure. The Factory Football Group was started four years ago by Todd Johnson, and Reggie Williams of Fresno, CA. The Factory’s primary focus to is to train area kids to be competitive on the football field. In February of 2014, S.W.A.G and the Factory collaborated and became the S.W.A.G Factory for the 7 on 7 football circuit. They have played in 7 on 7 tournaments in Las Vegas, Elk Grove, and Fullerton. This team took the crown at the Central California Passing Down tournament in Elk Grove and qualified for the “Best of the West” tournament in Fullerton, CA. Due to the talented group and the sportsmanship, the S.W.A.G Factory was invited to prestigious AIGA camp.
The AIGA camp was a great place for local kids to get college exposure. With ten colleges represented, it was a great instructional camp. The colleges represented were: USC, UCLA, Houston, Utah, Utah St., Hawaii, Weber State, Arizona, BYU, and Southern Utah. The camp was broken down to have the student athletes get instruction from the college coaches. This was important for the kids to see what it takes to become a college level player, and gave the colleges an opportunity to evaluate the student athlete. After the individual groups, the camp came together and the student athletes competed against one another. After the individual competitions, the S.W.A.G Factory came together to play one last time for the spring/summer season. Missing key players (QB-Tyrone Williams, RB-Stevan Johnson, LB-Frank Ginda, DB-Carlos Garcia), the S.W.A.G Factory did not disappoint. Two players that really elevated their game were Bransin Johnson (Clovis North HS), and Damarrio Hammonds (Patterson HS). Both defensive backs had to showcase their individual skills in the 1 on 1 competitions and showcase their ability to play with a team in the tournament style play. Both Johnson and Hammond were so impressive, that they earned scholarship offers from Weber State to play at the collegiate level. This brings a total of four S.W.A.G Factory student athletes with offers to play at the college level. The other two student athletes that are holding offers are Frank Ginda (San Jose St and Air Force), and Jabar Byrd (University of Mary). This has been an exciting year for the S.W.A.G Factory. Colleges are recognizing kids that are working hard in the classroom and on the field.