The University of Central DeKalb Jaguars!!!
by Artanza McGuire
(Locust Grove, GA) Driving down the winding roads of Locust Grove, and into Warren Holder Park, my eyes were immediately drawn to the parking lot full of blue jerseys, blue helmets, and the plethora of blue shirts. Instantly, I knew that I was in the presence of the University of Central DeKalb Jaguars. After greeting the teams and the players, I went to find Head Coach Zarold Wilder - affectionately known as “Coach Z”. Coach Z informed that his 7U Blue Elite team was here to have fun and play football. He also made sure to highlight some of the key players to lookout for this season: team captains, #2 Gregory Turner III, #12 Bryce Clavon, #72 Nikolas Abraham, and #11 Jamar Graham.
As Coach Z headed back to warm-up with his team, I headed to the sidelines and had the opportunity to speak with some the parents. Coach Chaka Mason , Head Coach of Stephenson Middle School Football Team and father of #23 Brookins Mason, shared with me that he chose Central Dekalb Jaguars because they taught safety and development; and simply, because they were the best! Mia Mason, wife of Coach Mason, said, “The program [CDJ] is really nice. I really love the parents and how we come together as a community. I think it’s good for the whole family actually.”
After speaking with the Masons, the Team Mom, Anika Bakker expressed how her son #72 Nikolas Abraham has played several sports but football has been the one he seems to like the best. She also recognized the men in the organization and how they had been pouring into Nikolas’s life, even before he began to play for CDJ. Ms. Bakker introduced me to #75 Logan Brown’s mother, Michelle Watkins. Anika Bakker described her as the mom who cheers for the entire University of Central Dekalb Jaguars. Geared up with her blow horn in hand and her CDJ shirt on her back, she was indeed the most enthused parent there.
It was time for the game to start and both teams were on the line and ready. With 7:50 left in the 1st quarter, CDJ's #2 Greg Turner III caught an interception and ran 20 yards towards the end zone. On the very next play, #3 Zavion Wilder juked the Falcons defensive line and gained another 20 yards. Following up Wilder, #11 Jamar Graham scored the 1st touchdown of the day, setting the score at 6-0. After audience-gasping hits by #2 Turner & #32 Cartier Atchinson, with only 18.10 seconds left on the clock, #1 scored another touchdown and followed up with a 1-point conversion ending the 1st quarter, with the score of 13-0.
In the 1st quarter, the 7U Central DeKalb Jaguars set the pace for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, the Locust Grove Falcons couldn't make a comeback and the Central DeKalb Jaguars continued to dominate, resulting in a 26-0 victory against the Falcons.
After the game, I followed up with Coach Z and some of the key players from the game. Coach Z said that he's always proud of his boys and what a great job they did. I asked #2 Turner what he did to help his team win the game today; he replied, “I caught the ball and I led my team.” #12 Bryce Clavon replied by agreeing with #2 Turner did indeed help lead his team to victory.
It was a great day at Warren Holder Park. We look forward to seeing both the Locust Grove Falcons and the Central DeKalb Jaguars again!
The U ….You Know!!!