By Tina Ray/ParaglideAugust 20, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Several Fort Bragg servicemembers have joined a local semi-professional football team and found yet an additional brotherhood.
Sergeant Antares White plays defensive tackle with the Fayetteville Enforcers, members of the Alliance Football League which features teams throughout the mid-west and eastern United States.
White, who joined the Enforcers this year, said that teammates get along well.
"The camaraderie is really good. It's like we've been playing for years though it's my first year," said White, who is assigned to the 407th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "Civilians treat us just like if they were military - everybody is brothers and everybody looks out for each other."
White learned about the team from his son who attends Albritton Junior High School, which also happens to be where Enforcers owner Carla Nau-Redman coaches football, he said. He decided to try out for the team and said it has been a good fit.
Fellow servicemember Brandon Strong is also a member of the Enforcer's defensive squad. The middle linebacker has been playing football since he was six years old. He said playing for the Enforcers is a continuation of his sports enjoyment. It has also earned the Shelby, N.C., yet another Family of brothers.
"I like it. It's like my second Family," Strong said.
He first learned about the Enforcers from teammate and good friend, Paul Jeffcoat, who played last year. This year's team is a better team, said Jeffcoat, who joined the roster as wide receiver.
During the third quarter of a game Sunday versus the Carolina Falcons from Charlotte, Jeffcoat got a touchdown and brought the Enforcers to within one point of what had been a losing effort on the field at Reid Ross Classical School. A subsequent field goal tied the game at 14.
Major Randy Smith has played semi-professional football for teams in Georgia and Kansas. Yet, the 3rd Military Information Support Battalion officer said the Enforcers team is the best compared to others.
"We take care of each other and really, truly embody the team (spirit)," said Smith.
Co-owner Jeff Redman could not agree more.
"We're a pretty tight family. We've pulled together tight and grew from last year," he said.
The cohesiveness helped the Enforcers defeat the Falcons 28-20. The win brought their overall record to 9-1, including a default win on the forfeit of next week's game by the Burlington Trojans.
Among the spectators watching Sunday's game were Staff Sgt. Kimber Ball of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, Sgt. 1st Class Gilbert Ojeda of the 135th Infantry, and civilians Jonathan Morris and Jose Delarosa. They were there to support offensive lineman, Mauro Ruiz.
"Taking in a game is a nice activity that gives us something to do that is not high-school related," Ball said.
Carlose Prescott is a 3rd MISB specialist. Though he's been a servicemember for three years, the 5 foot, 9-inch wide receiver said it has always been his dream to play football. Prescott, too, seems to have found a brotherhood with the Enforcers team.
"I love it. Football has always been my dream, just an opportunity to come out here and play football, (there's) nothing better than that," Prescott said. "They're like my brothers."