Duo trying to start semi-pro football team in Brewton
In the very near future, Brewton may be home to its first semi-pro football team, the Escambia Spartans.
That is the wish and hope of Jerick Cooper and Willie Campbell.
“I have been in this league (the Premier South Football League) for three years,” Cooper said. “My first year I played for the Pensacola Wolfpack and my second year was with the Wolfpack and we won the championship.
“I now play for the Santa Rosa Ravens. By seeing the talent on the teams I have played for, and the history of Brewton, that we could possibly have a good team also so I thought about starting a team.”
Cooper, originally from Troy, and Campbell, originally from Evergreen but living in Brewton for the past eight years had a dream for the team.
“I actually played in this league before I played in the NAFL with a team in Evergreen,” Campbell said. “My main reason for wanting to come on board, although I won’t be playing, but I will be coaching as the defensive coordinator, is I feel like there is a lot of talent in Brewton as well as the surrounding cities. There is not a whole lot of recruitment that goes on in high school so this will give our seniors who do not go on to the next level, the opportunity for a second chance and be seen. From here, you could possibly go to Division 1, you can go to arena football and just other different stuff.”
Campbell said the PSFL League is a non-profit organization. The coaches do not get paid, the players do not get paid.
“This league is just for people who really have a love for the game,” Campbell said. “Brewton is a football town. Everyone says that Texas is a football state, well Brewton is a football town. I think if we can get this established in Brewton, I feel that it will do good. I really do. Like I said, there is a lot of talent here and in this area. If we get it off the ground, it will do good.”
Cooper is a current player in the league with the Ravens, but will be the owner of the Brewton team.
“I will be the general manager, the owner and the coach,” Cooper said.
If Brewton is able to get a team set up, they will be part of the 17-team PSFL (www.thepsfl.com).
“Right now we are in the playoffs in the league,” Cooper said. “ We will have the first of two tryouts at Jefferson Davis Community College beside the women’s softball field, Saturday, Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.”
The tryout is open to anyone 18-years-old or older. All players will need to wear workout gear. Also at a later date and time, tryouts will be held for cheerleaders.
“More importantly, it is not about the team,” Campbell said. “If we bring semi-pro football to Brewton, it will be good the community, the youth, and Brewton period. It will bring currency to the city. All the teams that would have to come in and play us would have to buy gas here, maybe spend money at the hotels, eat at fast food restaurants, maybe some shopping or something. I think it will be good for the city of Brewton.”
Campbell said he expects 60 or more players to come out to the tryouts.
“We have been in contact with a lot of people and I think it is going to go real good,” he said.
If the team gets off the ground, Campbell said there are options out there of where to play home games.
“We live in Brewton and we are tax payers to the city so we would like for it to stay in Brewton,” Campbell said. “We are lobbying now for one of the local high schools to let us play there. A regular season schedule is 10 games with five home and five away. Also, we are in negotiations with a few sponsors, businesses in Brewton to lend us a hand and sponsor.
“We welcome any sponsor to get their company’s name out there.”
Both Cooper and Campbell said they are really excited about getting this team together.
“We are really anxious to get started and get the ball rolling,” Campbell said. “A lot of guys are coming to us.”
Cooper said former T.R. Miller Tiger Cortez Banks is playing in the league right now.
“Cortez is playing with me for the Santa Rosa Ravens,” Cooper said. “Right now they are trying to get him in the combine. He is doing really good in this league and putting a lot of fear into some of the wide receivers. He is playing defensive back.”
Campbell said with adults playing in the league, it will instill values back into the community.
“The adults that are playing are everyday people,” Campbell said. “They are workers, for their sons and daughters to see them playing, it instills values and lets their children look up to them.”
The first games of the season will not start until the end of May and the beginning of June.
For more information contact Cooper at 205-233-1523 and defensive coordinator Campbell at 251-363-2903.