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This year at YALD was truly eventful. It all started at training camp, where we were drafted into teams and began our journey together. As the season progressed, I witnessed the amazing transformation of players into friends, friends into teammates, and teammates into family. I often reflect on my experiences both on and off the football field, and share with others the invaluable lesson of playing for the next man. For me, the scoreboard was never the ultimate measure of success. It's the bonds that football creates that are truly priceless. Even today, my closest friends are those who were once my teammates. I know that some of the players may not fully appreciate the significance of these relationships yet, but in 20 years' time, they will understand what I mean.
In the words of Tom Landry, "A champion is simply someone who did not give up when they wanted to." I believe that this statement perfectly encapsulates the spirit of YALD and the dedication of all those who are part of this amazing community.
At the start of the season, Fernando Portilla shared his vision for the Giants: to compete in the present while building for the future. As the youngest team in the league, they faced challenges, but they rose to the occasion with character, heart, and team spirit. One unique aspect of their season was the rotating cast of quarterbacks, with David Benros, Justin Vear, and Naythin Borrome all getting opportunities to showcase their skills. This approach allowed Coach Portilla to evaluate the team's talent and make adjustments accordingly.
Looking ahead, the Giants have reason to be optimistic. The recent additions of Ari Benegas, Jordan Sanchez, and Ana Ventura are sure to bolster their roster and propel them to greater success in the seasons to come. Though their record of 3-9-1 is not ideal, it's clear that this team is on the rise and has a bright future ahead.
The Falcons' performance this year was a remarkable improvement from the previous season, which was marred by a winless record. Led by Coach Leandro Castellanos' unwavering commitment, the team showed a resurgence by winning three games. The seasoned players, Justin Polanco and Christian Kendell, exhibited remarkable leadership, inspiring the younger players to step up and contribute to the team's success. With up-and-coming talents like Max Benson-Parker, Jacob Castellanos, and Jylin, the Falcons are well-positioned to regain their winning form. Overall, the Falcons ended the season with a record of 4-8-1.
The Bears have shown gradual improvement every year, culminating in their first playoff appearance last year. This year, they're once again in the mix, thanks in part to the leadership of Coach Robert Valley and Quarterback JanLuis Castro's solid management of the offense. Justin Fernandez, a Youth Clinic and YALD veteran, had an outstanding season on both sides of the ball, while new players Nathan Pena, Jariel Fernandez, and Evan Diaz made significant contributions to the team's success. Although the Bears finished with a record of 6-6-1, their hard work and dedication are clear to see.
In my opinion, the Bucs are the wildcard team of YALD, and that's just one reason why Coach Jason Cedeno can never be counted out. Veterans like Emil Rivera, Janiel Rivera, and Justin Rivera had incredible statistical years, with Emil looking as comfortable in the pocket as any top quarterback, and Justin making plays all over the field. Jordan Ceballos is relentless, and with newcomer Allen, the Bucs have a solid chance of making the playoffs again, despite finishing the season with a 6-6-1 record.
It's no wonder the Packers have been so successful this season, despite the setback of losing Matthew Gonzalez during preseason training. Under the guidance of Coach Miguel Guzman, the team rallied and found a rising star in quarterback Dylan Castellanos, who has established himself as one of YALD's top players. In addition, rookies Jayden Guzman and Dennis Benegas made impressive debuts, further bolstering the team's roster. With a record of 7-5-1, the Packers are poised to continue their winning streak as they head into the playoffs.
As anticipated, the defending champions have claimed a top-tier spot in YALD. Under the expert guidance of Coach Kevin Camilo, the 49ers enjoyed an immensely triumphant regular season. League MVP Jaden Pena has established himself as the pinnacle of excellence, inspiring many to strive for greatness. Meanwhile, Quarterback Colin Rodriguez delivered another stellar year, and Alex Cruz proved to be a valuable contributor to the team's success. Additionally, new addition Joshua Ortiz quickly acclimated to the team's dynamic and delivered impressive performances. Securing the top seed, the 49ers aim to maintain their stronghold. Their record stands at an impressive 10-2-1.
Kelvin Valentin, Program Director
HEAD REFEREE KELVIN VALENTIN (L)
ASSISTANT REF CARLOS CASTELLANOS (R)
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