Running a semi-professional football team is no small task, but it’s something that the co-owners of the West Texas Lions — Jesse Rose, Stephanie Rose, and Director of Operations Derek Smith — all take pride in.
“It’s an honor to see our vision of having one power team in El Paso. This has been my vision from day one as founder of the Lions,” Jesse recently told Developmental Football USA. “To be able to say El Paso is now, not just contending, but beating teams out of Lubbock, Midland and other areas predominantly known for football is truly something I am proud of and I know El Paso will be proud as well.”
Smith took a more “nuts and bolts” approach to the aspect of running a team. As mentioned above, it’s no small task, and that’s something the Director of Operations expressed in great detail.
“You have to start with a solid foundation,” Smith said. “You have many different people, personalities and egos that have to mix together to become one solid program. It is not always easy to bring together people of all backgrounds to come together as one. The time and effort put into a successful team cannot even be counted, sometimes it is a 24-seven job to deal with all that comes with a successful organization. The sacrifices made from families, friends and loved ones by all people involved in the long run are immense and sometimes overbearing.”
For Stephanie Rose, the love of football has kept her moving through the process with the Lions.
“Being a female owner in a predominantly male league has been a challenge, but growing up with nothing but brothers, I have grown to love the sport of football and I have learned so much throughout the years,” she said.
The final product of the hard work, passion, and focus has been a West Texas Lions organization with not only big expectations, but the talent and focus to meet if not exceed those expectations.
According to Miss Rose, the Lions have their sights set high. Not only was the team the No. 1 seed in the Minor Professional Football Leagues’s Western Conference Championship last season, but they also hosted a game against the West Texas Pride from Midland — which is nothing to scoff at.
“This year, our goal remains the same to not only beat the Pride, but bring the CRAFL League Championship back home to El Paso,” she said.”It will not be easy considering the Pride is a more seasoned team full of talented players, but the Lions have intense talent and discipline as well — along with a coaching staff that is highly skilled and dedicated. We are looking to accomplish big things around here.”
The Lions will lean on their coaching staff – Lorenzo Gathers, Robert Barron, Bill Parker, Stephen Martinez, Ernest Troutman, A.J. Vital, Shawn Wortham and general manager Stephen Martinez – and the talent they’ve assembled as they look to defeat the Pride once again this weekend.
Speaking of talent, the Lions have plenty of it.
Offensively, they’re led by running backs Demarcus Johnson and Dee Lee, who the West Texas coaching staff described as talented athletes who leave it all out on the field. The offensive line is also a crucial part of the Lions’ attack, making it an overall balanced unit.
On defense, the Lions are led up front by defensive linemen Tauren Hall and Jesse Rose. Other players to note mentioned by the coaching staff include Jeffrey Turnbull, Chris McNulty, and Tay Collier.
The Lions know they have talent on defense, and as a staff, they know that the defensive unit is a main component to the overall success of the team.
In their third year of existence, the Lions will be looking to capitalize on the fact that not only are they now an established team, but as a unit they’ve gained incredible experience and knowledge.
“The energy and chemistry of the team on and off that field overall is the best it has ever been. That is crucial and shows on that field,” said Stephanie Rose.
The players and organization also know they represent El Paso as the only team around, and that’s a huge motivator. The team has partnered up with youth football teams in El Paso in an effort to provide younger players with mentors and role models. They’ve also done All-Star youth barbecue events and have also have hosted youth football appreciate nights with more events planned for the future.
The Lions play at Santa Teresa High School, which is on the west side of El Paso, and they’ve even attracted fans from Las Cruces and some of the other surrounding areas.
“We appreciate their continuous support,” Rose said of the city of El Paso and the surrounding area. She also was very clear of the organization’s intentions both now and in the future.
”We have one goal in mind and that is bring back that trophy to El Paso.”