For many developmental football teams, all their preparation goes into making the most out of their single, yearly season. For the South Carolina Snipers, there is ongoing preparation as they play in multiple leagues throughout the year.
In the spring, they play in the United Independent Football League, in the summer they play in the World Developmental Football League, and they’re even having discussions about playing in a fall league as well.
“We use the spring to develop the guys and get them ready for the WDFL which is our summer league,” Snipers owner Trell Heyward told Developmental Football USA. “During the spring we play in the UIFL. There are a lot of big teams playing there and we’re trying to be very competitive in that league. If we can beat the Georgia Cardinals Week 1 on Feb. 11, we should be able to win the championship, because no one else should be able to play with us if we can get those Cardinals.”
For the Snipers, who started in 2008 as the Port City Snipers before moving to Greenville last year, success has been a constant since year one. That’s in large part because of the very talented roster they’ve compiled. They’re led by last year’s WDFL Championship Game Most Valuable Player, running back Bobby Kinnebrew.
“In the championship game, he had 216 yards rushing and two touchdowns,” Heyward said. “He’s always good for at least 100 yards a game or close to it. He’s a power runner. He also just made the Carolina Cowboys indoor team.
“We’re a balanced offense though. Besides Bobby running the ball, we have Derek Williams and Nick Darras at wide receiver. Derek is also on the USA South Rugby and he played rugby for Clemson. Nick actually just came from playing in the Global Bowl for Team America.”
In addition to a balanced offense, we also expect big things on defense from safety James Keenan and linebacker OJ Orage. Both are players with speed that like to thump.
While it may be easy to look ahead to their second, and maybe third season of the year, the Snipers are looking to start the year with a statement in the UIFL, which features multiple nationally ranked teams.
“The Metro Eagles are okay,” said Heyward. “They aren’t the South Carolina Bulls, they aren’t the Georgia Cardinals and they’re damned sure not the Snipers.”
While their hectic schedule may lead some to believe that it’s just about winning championships for the Snipers, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“It’s important to us to contribute to our community off the field,” said Heyward. “We do a lot of community service as an organization and make it mandatory that each of our players does at least twenty hours of community service. This past fall we played a whole season that we dedicated to breast cancer by wearing pink and black uniforms. We’re likely doing that again this year. We had a carnival at Lead Academy.
“We also do a lot of things with Redemption Church where we worked their fall festival. We did a clothing drive and food drive for them and also donated a lot of toys for their Toys for Tots program. On Thanksgiving, we did the feeding of the multitude where we were trying to feed 3,000 people at the Phyllis Wheatley Center in Greenville.”
Given all of the games they play and all of the charities they support, one would think that’s all they could possibly do, but that isn’t quite true. Owner Trell Heyward actually also just started the Carolina Cowboys, which will play in the Elite Indoor Football League (EIF). Heyward sees their developmental football team serving as a farm system for their arena team.
“We actually just launched the Snipers to Cowboys Show,” Heyward said. “It will feature players from the Snipers trying to make the Cowboys. They follow us during the training camp sessions and follow a lot of guys on the Snipers as they try out for the indoor team and stuff.”
It’s safe to say that if you live in the Greenville region of South Carolina, you can always bet on there being a football game you can attend. More importantly though, you know if you should ever be in need the Snipers and Cowboys will be there to help.