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Future of sports in the SCV: Looking downfield

Local youth programs are full of talent that could soon be suiting up for Foothill League schools

Posted: August 5, 2010 9:52 p.m.
Updated: August 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.

(From left to right) SCV Warriors football players Dylan Sweet, Zack Trammell, Chris Hamilton and Joey Bilbo have excelled in youth football, according to their coaches. All four could be future stars in the Foothill League.

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There’s an old coaching outlook that says at the lower levels, there aren’t great players so much as great athletes.

The same is true of football.

Once those athletes get to middle school, however, their skills become more refined and a few begin to separate from the others.

The same is true of local youth football programs.

The Canyon Country Outlaws and the SCV Warriors have standout players headed to different schools in the valley.

One of the standouts heading to Valencia is eighth-grader Zack Trammell, who plays linebacker and center. Trammell enjoys hitting people at linebacker, but his coach, Randy Cooper, praises his intelligence at center.

“I’ve paid attention through the past six years about what’s going on, both in the backfield and on the line,” Trammell said.

Eighth-grader Chris Hamilton is also bound for Valencia, and the coaches praise his poise and intelligence.

Hamilton also plays safety, but his most important contributions come under center.

“He has a great arm,” said Warriors director Rett Hicks. “He’s very polished. He’s not a prima donna, either. He’ll stick his nose in there.”

Two of Hamilton’s weapons with the Warriors are eighth-graders Dylan Sweet and Joey Bilbo, who could both star for Hart in the future.

Sweet is a small but quick running back and safety who believes his biggest strength is his vision, which he said comes naturally to him.

Bilbo, meanwhile, is a linebacker and receiver who is excited to play for the Indians starting next season.

“My cousin played for them,” he said. “It feels like Hart colors are in my blood.”

The Outlaws will be sending plenty of talent to high school next season, too.

Running back Myron McAfee, an eighth-grader who will attend Canyon, was a first-team All-Pacific Youth Football League selection last season at running back.

“He’s an amazing running back and linebacker,” said Brian Adams, president of Outlaws Football. “I’ve coached him since he was 8 years old. He had a natural knack for football from day one.”

Another one of the Outlaws’ stars is quarterback and safety Alex McKenna, an eighth-grader who’s only lost two games in his past three seasons at quarterback, according to Adams.

The Canyon-bound McKenna is a solid athlete, but his biggest strength may be his leadership and ability to keep control of the offense.

“It’s kind of fun to have the ball in your hands every play,” McKenna said.

Eighth-grader Kevin Summers will be McAfee and McKenna’s teammate at Canyon.

At 6 feet, 1 inch, Summers has good size for his age and was an All-PYFL wide receiver last season.

Adams said that Summers has made big strides in other aspects of the game, too.

“He’s developed his toughness tremendously over the years,” he said. “He’s turning out to be one of the toughest players on the field.”

According to Adams, Summers and McKenna are standouts in basketball and baseball, respectively, and could continue their careers in those sports at Canyon.

Saugus High, meanwhile, figures to get a couple of other Outlaws stars next season.

Isaiah Renfro moved to the Santa Clarita Valley from Culver City last year, and the athletic seventh-grade quarterback has shown accuracy in the passing game and the ability to pick up yards on the ground.

“He’s a very smart kid,” Adams said. “He’s picked up on everything we’ve done.”

The Centurions will also get a solid linebacker in eighth-grader Austin Barry, who was an All-PYFL selection last season.

Barry has also worked his way into a starting job as a fullback, but the defensive side of the ball is what he enjoys more.

“It’s fun because I like to hit people,” Barry said. “That’s the main reason.”

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