Valley Preps

Central football team’s newest fan is NFL legend Deion Sanders

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comCentral High hosts Triple A Academy, a Dallas, Texas team coached by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders at Garrett-Harrison Stadium Friday.  10.09.15
ROBIN TRIMARCHI rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comCentral High hosts Triple A Academy, a Dallas, Texas team coached by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders at Garrett-Harrison Stadium Friday. 10.09.15 rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

Deion Sanders was known for his bravado as one of the flashiest, outspoken players in the NFL during his playing career.

Sanders showed a much humbler side Friday night after Triple A Academy lost to Central High School.

Triple A Academy merged with Sanders’ former charter school Prime Prep, and established a new football program. Sanders helps coach the Stallions’ offense, and was on the sidelines at Garrett-Harrison Stadium for the team’s 49-0 loss.

Prior to kickoff, Sanders tweeted he was excited for Triple A to get a chance to play some “real high school football.”

Sanders followed up on the tweet walking back to the Stallions’ locker room by expressing his gratitude to Central for scheduling the Dallas, Texas based school.

“We are an independent,” Sanders said. “Next year, we will be in the division and sanctioned there (in Texas). Just to give us the opportunity, is unbelievable. It’s about the game, we love to win; don’t get me wrong, but for inner-city kids to drive across the country, see this real football. It’s unbelievable. It’s a memory they will never forget.”

Central High School welcomed Sanders with a warm ovation prior to the game. It also played a short tribute video aimed at the Hall of Famer while players and coaches shook hands at midfield.

“I was too busy getting my butt kicked,” Sanders said, laughing, of seeing the video.

Sanders came away impressed with Central’s whole team as it jumped out to a 43-0 halftime lead.

Jaxton Carson scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, Keiondre James returned a kick for 60-plus yards and the Red Devils’ starting defensive line dominated.

The two-time Super Bowl Champion admitted the young Triple A Academy was a “little scared” lining up against the talented Red Devils squad.

“We have a bunch of freshman, and sophomores trying their best to take the field, fulfill their dreams and aspirations,” Sanders said.

Central coach Jamey DuBose doesn’t let distractions into his locker room, but even he admitted it was special having the eight-time Pro Bowler on the Red Devils’ field.

“Having Deion Sanders in the park, and the publicity of it, what kind of person he is and what he stands for, means a lot,” DuBose said. “I’m proud that he came.”

Sophomore wide receiver Justyn Ross, who made a couple catches right in front of Triple A’s sidelines, savored the opportunity to shine in front a former player he idolizes.

“He’s a legend,” Ross said, with a smile. “I wanted to show him a little of what I had.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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