BY TRONE DOWD
Undefeated in its first-ever high school football season last year, the Eagles of the Eagle Academy For Young Men in Jamaica is a shining example of how an unlikely underdog can persevere with the right combination of talent, hustle, hunger and support.
Assistant Coach Lorenzo Sterling told the Queens Tribune that the team’s rise to prominence last year was a whirlwind of emotions for the faculty and the players alike. This year however, brings a brand new set of challenges—but ones the team has already begun to overcome, showcasing their trademark tenacity both on and off the field.
When putting together a football team for the Eagle Academy last year, the coaches had an uphill battle. The team started out with none of the basic equipment and necessities. There was no weight room or training equipment. The team’s budget was nonexistent and its players didn’t have a practice space or field, forcing them to use St. Albans Park and the Jamaica High School field.
Despite the handicap, the team’s leaders pressed on. In most cases, a new team starts out in a development league under the PSAL. Sterling and lead coach Kevin Williams pushed heavily for their team to go straight to varsity, giving the school’s seniors a chance to get into the game and show the world their abilities. When the PSAL granted the request, providing for them a test game with a sister school in Brooklyn, the Eagles took the opportunity and ran with it.
The PSAL decided to give the team a go. They haven’t looked back since. The team went on to rack up seven wins and no losses, impressing the league and making a splash in the division.
“We changed the paradigm for football in New York City,” Sterling said proudly.
Check back later this week for the full story on the Eagles’ journey to the top of New York City’s high school football league.