Each week the St. Clair News Aegis will feature a team of the week. This week's featured team is the East Central Patriots.
East Central is the home for the homeschooled kids in this area. They started football in 2006 with Greg Nelson, Vince Smith and a few others leading the charge. They only had 12 to 16 players on the team. They went 0 - 8 that season. They played for two seasons, but because of the numbers, football could not hold up, so it ended. Enter new Athletic Director Mike Long and football was back. It started back two years ago.
The Patriots lost a tough one week zero at home to Tabernacle 48 - 38. They were ready to bounce back against the North River Chargers out of Tuscaloosa at home this week.
Luke Nelson broke free for a 51 yard touchdown run on the second play of the game. Nelson later scored from 27 yards out for his second score of the night. Andrew Barksdale had an interception and a touchdown. Tony Paffumi scored from 7 yards and 67 yards out. He also converted 2 extra points. The Patriots got their first varsity win in their history with a 36 - 9 win over The North River Chargers.
There is a ton of talent on this Patriots team, but there are two offensive and two defensive players that will be players of the week. Luke Nelson has rushed for 151 yards, scoring 24 points with 3 touchdowns and leads the team with 215 total offensive yards, and 10 tackles of defense. Tony Paffumi has 159 total offensive yards, 105 kickoff yards and 3 touchdowns on the season so far.
One other outstanding thing about Paffumi is how he jungles his school work, football practice and soccer practice. Yes, Tony Paffumi is also an outstanding soccer player who plays for the FC Birmingham Soccer team. There are two twins that lead the team on defense. Bennet Flemming has 16 tackles and his twin brother Bryant Flemming leads the team with 25 tackles and each has one sack.
East Central will make their first road trip of the season to Trinity Christian in Alabaster tomorrow night. This season has the making of a great tradition of varsity football for the team. The road ahead is bright.