Former Daphne stars carry on the tradition of football camps
Five members of Daphne High School’s undefeated 2010 Class 6A AHSAA Championship team went on to make it to the pros. But they haven’t forgotten where they come from.
On Saturday, a tradition that began in 2017 continued with the Daphne Youth Football Camp at Trione Park. The event was hosted by Ryan Anderson, Eric Lee, Torren McGaster, Michael Pierce and TJ Yeldon.
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“It’s important to give back,” Anderson said. “We grew up here, and we couldn’t really see much – the other side, the camps. We had one that Coach (Kenny) King put on, and I always tell the same story because I’ll never forget it. That’s why I think it’s important to come back and do this every year.
“It’s our community. We just want to give back when we can. They gave us so much. It took the community, it took the whole village to get us to where we are at this point in life, so we just want to go back and try to instill what we can in these kids. If we only hit one of them, it would mean the world to us.
Pierce won the MVP award in the AHSAA Class 6A Championship Game on December 3, 2010, when the Trojans defeated Hoover 7-6 to cap a 15-0 season and Pierce’s prep career.
The other four players were seniors on the 2011 Daphne team, which extended the Trojans’ winning streak to 23 games before losing to McGill-Toolen 38-28 on October 21, 2011.
In college, Anderson and Yeldon were teammates for three seasons at Alabama, Lee played at South Florida, McGaster at Vanderbilt, and Pierce at Tulane and Samford.
Four of the players eventually appeared in NFL regular season games, with McGaster receiving the look of the Cincinnati Bengals. Anderson spent four seasons with Washington, Yeldon played six seasons with Jacksonville and Buffalo, and Lee appeared in two seasons with New England and Detroit.
Pierce is still playing and was in training camp with the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.
“We’re going to be together forever,” Anderson said. “It is exactly what it is. It’s our community, it’s our people and we’ll continue to do this together forever – me, Mike, Torren, TJ, Eric and the rest of this community.
On Saturday, a football field full of youngsters from kindergarten to eighth grade benefited from the players’ dedication to their roots.
“We can do that for kids,” Anderson said. “Just to see them smile, to see them run happy – that’s the main goal.”
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.