Steelers getting geared up for regionals

Published 11:45 pm Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Suffolk Steeler dance team will compete in the regional championship, in Raleigh, N.C. over Thanksgiving weekend, then in the Pop Warner National Championship in Orlando in early December. The Steelers are having a fish and chicken dinner sale on Friday, Nov. 4 at Carolina Cleaners at East Washington St. and Factory St. as part of their fundraising for the trips.

If the other team can’t score, they can’t win.

Plenty of football teams and players have heard that message. The Suffolk Steelers have put it to perfect practice this season.

The Steeler midget Pop Warner team (age 11-15) is undefeated and hasn’t allowed a point in its run to the Southeastern Virginia Pop Warner Conference championship this season. The Steelers have won the conference’s midget title five straight years.

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“Hard work makes it easy and easy work makes it hard,” said co-captain Toni Mayfield before a practice Thursday evening at John F. Kennedy Middle School’s fields.

A 7-0 overtime win over Suffolk rival the Downtown Titans was the closest contest the Steelers have faced this fall.

“On defense, it’s about getting 11 men to the ball,” said co-captain Notorious Brown.

Brown and Mayfield are two of the four main two-way players for the Steelers.

As dominating as the Steeler defense has been, head coach Kevin Shepherd credits the offense, which is averaging 19 points a game, along with giving major praise to the Steeler special teams.

Mayfield plays as important a role as the Steeler punt and kick returner as he does on offense and defense.

“It’ll be much tougher,” Brown said about the practices the Steelers will be getting in between the end of the regular season and their regional championship game in Raleigh, N.C. during Thanksgiving weekend.

“It’ll be tough, but we’re always trying to get to the next level,” Brown said.

“It’s hard, but you’ve got to get used to it,” Mayfield said.

“It’s also about trying to prepare these guys for the next level, for high school ball,” Shepherd said.

The Steeler dance team has been working since early August just like the Steelers on the gridiron. Unlike the football team though, the dance team has all of its competition ahead of it.

The Steeler dance team has its regional competition in Raleigh alongside the football games. As one of the only dance squads in their age group in the region, the Steelers are assured of going to the Pop Warner National Championship in Orlando in early December.

“The girls have been working really hard,” said head coach Trina Arrington. “We’ve changed our music twice. They’ve been practicing three or four days a week, two hours a practice.”

“There’s homework and grades they have to take care of before each practice because education is a must,” Arrington said.

Five Steeler dance team members are veterans of past Steeler teams that have gone to regional and national competitions. Five of the dancers are rookies to the Steelers.

The dance team is holding a fish and chicken dinner sale on Friday at Carolina Cleaners on East Washington St. and Factory St. as part of their fundraising for the North Carolina and Florida trips.

To make donations or for more information, call Arrington at 448-8806 or Ed Walker at 270-8490.

The Steeler football team’s looking for donations as well. If the Steelers win the regional title, they’d be headed to Orlando as well.

To help the football team, contact Shepherd at 419-0186 or Suffolk Steeler president Fred Greene at 237-1494.