Former Charlo standout football player Devon Cox is aware without football he wouldn’t have had some of the opportunities in life to get to where he is now.
Cox, who was a Vikings’ standout football player and later even played NCAA Division-I football at Boise State, is hoping to give back to the game that gave him so much.
Cox knows how to be successful, and it starts with establishing a culture from the onset of an early age.
Cox is now one of the key players behind bringing flag football to the Mission Valley, which will allow all of the regional feeder schools such as Polson, Ronan, Charlo, St. Ignatius and Arlee to benefit from learning the essential fundamental elements of football, by formulating a flag football league.
Cox, who is child-hood friends with former Arlee boys basketball coach Zanen Pitts, who led the Warriors to back-to-back Montana High School Class C state basketball titles and four consecutive MHSA Class C state basketball championship tournament appearances, is on the board of Arlee’s Warrior Movement. Forming a flag football league is one of the latest initiatives towards expanding the not-for-profit’s mission statement of developing the anti-suicide campaign nationally.
The flag football league will start Aug. 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Ronan High School’s football stadium. It will include giveaways, door prizes, hot dogs, chips, drinks, football games, and a special guest speaker, and special guest.
The following Thursday they will begin training certification progams for coaches and referees.
Cox saw that some kids’ opportunities to play and get exposed to football are limited because of a lack of financial resources.
“It is a struggle unless you have the resources to go to Kalispell or Missoula,” Cox said. “It is expensive to travel, and it is time consuming. That is what we wanted to do at the Warrior Movement is figure out how to get flag football at little to no cost, and make it available to every kid in the valley, not knowing if that was a realistic goal or not.”
Cox, through the Boys and Girls Club, was able to connect with the NFL, who runs an NFL-sponsored flag football league which provides resources and training for the players, coaches and participants.
Now, with the NFL involved in this flag football league, it will offer resources and training to all prospective participants.
“This has allowed us to shift our focus to how we can we serve the kids, and even the high school kids, which is exactly what we are trying to do to build a program that is a good feeder for the (local) high schools,” Cox said. “All of the local football coaches have been supportive of this and the Warrior Movement. This gives us a little bit of an opportunity to mentor some of the elementary school kids and have someone to look up to.”
One way you establish a football culture is by introducing the fundamental components of the game and making it fun for kids at a young age.”
“We are trying to make it as fun the kids as possible,” Cox said. “The Boys and Girls Club has brought a ton of stuff to the table, and we are hoping to get a good level of interest (in the flag football league). I think the interest is there for the kids.”
The Mission Valley will continue to work to build a culture of winning football.