Long is special guest speaker for new Mission Valley Flag Football League signups

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  • FORMER ARLEE boys basketball coach Zanen Pitts talks to high school students about the Warrior Movement. (photo courtesy Susan Lake)

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    FORMER OAKLAND Raiders, and Los Angeles Raiders lineman Howie Long signs autographs for Mission Valley fans, as he was one of the key guest speakers in the upcoming flag football league slated to start in September. (photo courtesy of Susan Lake)

  • FORMER ARLEE boys basketball coach Zanen Pitts talks to high school students about the Warrior Movement. (photo courtesy Susan Lake)

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    FORMER OAKLAND Raiders, and Los Angeles Raiders lineman Howie Long signs autographs for Mission Valley fans, as he was one of the key guest speakers in the upcoming flag football league slated to start in September. (photo courtesy of Susan Lake)

Former Charlo High School football and Boise State University football player Devon Cox is hoping to create more of a football culture and expectation in the Mission Valley for kids starting at a young age.

Cox, along with the Boys and Girls Club, the Warrior Movement and the NFL is working on generating interest for parents, coaches and players.

Cox got help from the NFL and the Boys and Girls Club, along with several special guests, and thriving local area high school coaches.

The Mission Valley was also in for a special treat when former Oakland and Los Angeles Raider Howie Long showed up to speak and help generate interest among prospective Mission Valley football players.

Cox, who is friends with former Arlee High School Warriors coach Zanen Pitts, who was asked to help bring a flag football league to the Mission Valley as part of the Warrior Movement, said he felt the turnout was successful.

The NFL, who is willing to train parents to become coaches and referees for the upcoming flag football league, is still looking for volunteers.

“I think that is the biggest limiting factor people (are afraid) to become referrees, or coaches because they don’t understand the game or partnership with the NFL,” Cox said. “The NFL is able to provide training, and structure in this league to qualify for a team-building skills, knowledge, and getting kids to like the game, and hopefully, in a year see how it goes, and once people get a feel for what this is, and is about are less intimidated to jump in.”

Cox said he was pleased for a turnout of prospective Mission Valley flag football participants, who received door prizes, food and got to meet top-tier Mission Valley high school football players, and Zanen Pitts, one of the founders of the Warrior Movement, along with Howie Long, which made the event successful.

“It was awesome, we had a lot of support from a lot of people, and it was cool,” Cox said. “We had Boise State and Eastern Washington give away t-shirts and posters, and Montana State provided pictures,” Cox said. “There were some cool NFL jerseys, and a couple of signed Raiders’ jerseys and Eagles Jerseys. That was the encouraging part that the kids were willing to help people out.”

Cox, said he was pleased with the initial turnout from people in feeder schools Valley-wide from Polson down to Ronan.

“We are appreciative to all of the different schools, and moms and dads that volunteered,” Cox said. “It was pretty fun to see people caring and wanting to give their kids more opportunities.”

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