- Last Updated on 07:57 AM 04/03/13
- BY Joe Chandler
Pro-development football has come to Halifax County.
The Virginia Assassins pro-development football team, originally formed and based in Richmond, has moved to Halifax County, with local individuals planning to take over the operation of the team next year.
Former Halifax County High School football standout Alfred Ford, who went on to play football for South Carolina State and continued his career playing in the Arena Football League, is the team vice president.
Ford is working with team owner Tracey A. Hardney Scott this season to learn the various facets involved in operating the team, and, with the help of others, will take control of the team next season.
The plan, Ford said, is to next season change the name of the team to Wrecking Crew Football, with the team continuing to compete in the Gridiron Development Football League in which it is a current member.
“I’m learning,” Ford said with a smile.
“I’m trying to learn what the ownership of a team is all about. Next year we will be operating under The Wrecking Crew Football. I’m starting my financing and my marketing now to carry me into next year.”
Ford said time constraints prevented him from taking over the team this season.
“I’ve been talking about it (operating a football team in Halifax County) with some people off and on for about three years,” Ford explained, “ but we really got serious lately. There was no way I could come up with $15,000 (the projected cost of operating the team) and say I’m going to run a team with a month’s notice.”
Ford said the team will play a 10-game schedule with five home games set to be played at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium. The team opens its season May 18, with its first home game set for Saturday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. against the DMV Enforcers.
“We’re looking to maybe try to open at around 2 p.m. and bring in things for kids to do and provide activities that fans can make a day of,” Ford said.
“If we can get 150 people present at the games to start with and see that number grow as we go along, I would think that would be a pretty good start.”
Ford explained he, the team’s head coach Derek Fountain, and others got on board with the team and brought it to Halifax County because they saw a need in the community.
“Derek and I have been trying for years to get something going. When I come home, I see kids in the streets. There is nothing positive to do. We’re trying to provide a positive alternative, and we hope the community will get behind us and roll with it.
“Some people don’t have the grades for college,” Ford continued.
“Some people can’t afford college. If you can come in and play and be successful, you may have a chance to go to a college or junior college. All we’re trying to do is provide an avenue, a different avenue, to help further the football part, the life part, the education part, whatever we can do in the community.”
Ford emphasized that he, Fountain and the others involved with the team are very committed to making the venture succeed.
“Whatever it takes to sustain this year we are committed,” Ford pointed out.
“We want to be a positive program in the community.”
The Virginia Assassins football team is open to players ages 18 and over. Because players are not paid to play, players can retain their college eligibility they may have. That opens the door for players to the possibly of picked up by junior colleges or colleges or possibly getting a tryout with a higher-level team or organization.
“There are a lot of different possibilities and opportunities out there,” Ford pointed out.
“Eight players from the Assassins have gone to the next level over the past three years.”
The current roster stands at 39 players, with players from Halifax County and surrounding areas on the team. Fountain said the team can carry as many as 60 players on the roster.
Under league rules, teams can continue to pick up players through the third week of the regular season.
Players are responsible for purchasing their helmet, shoulder pads, shoes and other items.
Fountain said more players are needed. Anyone interested in joining the team should contact Ford at 804-641-7940 or team owner Tracey Scott at 804-322-0272.
Team practices are held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights at the Mary M. Bethune Complex in Halifax and on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and interested players may come out and contact coaches at those times.
The second time around
This is the second time a football program of this nature has been attempted in Halifax County. The Southside Virginia Gators, a semi-pro team existed for a couple of years or so around 2002 and 2003 but folded after two or three seasons.
Ford played for the Gators and Fountain played and helped coach the team.
“If there had been a little more structure, the Gators may still have continued to exist today,” Ford said.
“We’re working hard to develop the right structure. We believe in doing what we say we’re going to do.”