By Kyle Foster, photo courtesy of Don Lex (LuckyDuckImages.com)
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Football season is right around the corner. The town of Napa got warmed up to football with The Spring League playing one of their showcases in Wine Country.
The East beat California in the game 23-19, in front of a good sized crowd at Napa Memorial Stadium.
“It was fun, it was a great crowd, bigger than we expected, we had about 20 people at the last one, we had a big crowd today,” Anthony Dixon said, “you know man it’s just football who don’t love to play football, NFL football almost here, CFL already started, this is the best sport in the world hands down.”
The Spring league is a developmental league aimed to help players reach the National Football League.
“Our primary goal as a league is to allow the players here to reach their NFL dreams, we really are just a platform, and what we try to do is give them a state of the art experience, with pro coaches, and a pro system, and a pro style where they can get exposure, and repetition, and give them the easiest path to realizing their potential,” Ezra Levine an investor in The Spring League said.
Dixon the former San Francisco 49ers running back, Fred Jackson former Buffalo Bills running back, and David Ash the guy who replaced Colt McCoy as the Texas quarterback when he went to the NFL were the big name players in the game.
“I just wanna thank god for helping me get through that, helping my teammates get through that,” Dixon said afterwards. “Football is the number one sport in the world, who don’t wanna play football, when Brian (Woods CEO for The Spring League) told me he was doing another one I came running. It’s a great feeling to be out there with all my homeboys, and all the other guys who played in the last one, it was fun man.”
“Our core player in this league is a 23, 24 year old developmental guy, but having guys who have NFL experience, veteran type players are good guys to have in the locker room ,” Woods said. “Names like Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon definitely certainly help sell tickets, but more importantly are a good influence on our young guys that take part in this.”
Dixon’s highlight play of the game was a 49 yard rushing touchdown on his first carry of the game.
“It felt good man,” Dixon explained of his opening rush of the game. “I was phone calling all the NFL teams, and all the CFL teams, you know whoever’s listening, that was my phone call to them, I hope they watch it, I hope they pick up.”
Woods, and Levine both explained why they chose Napa as a place for the game to happen.
“We were really looking for a climate that would be conductive to several practices, being able to hold a game, and not have to worry about weather or anything of that nature affecting a format like this that only goes on for five or six days, so we felt like the San Francisco Bay Area in specific the Napa area would be a good climate for us for this operation in the month of July, and we found a great venue in Napa Memorial Stadium, and we want to continue being here year in, and year out,” Woods explained.
“So what we wanted was a venue that was obviously scenic, but more important a venue that would drive traffic, and bring people to the game,” Levine explained of the choice of Napa as a host. When we did our original concept it was in West Virginia’s Sulfur Springs which is a beautiful place, but there’s just not a lot of ability for people who are from the local area to come, and so when you say Napa people think wine, and luxury, sun, and perfect weather, and great people, and that was one of the attractions of coming here to Napa. This really is a gorgeous field, and the weather’s perfect, so we couldn’t of asked for a better arrangement.”