Texans’ JPD League Closes Out With Jamboree

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: April 19, 2007

Houston TexansHOUSTON — The Houston Texans Junior Player Development league held it’s annual end-of-season jamboree for middle school aged boys football players last Friday at the Methodist Hospital Training Center.

For the past seven years, the Texans have offered the Junior Player Development (J.P.D.) program at three Houston Independent School District Stadiums located throughout the city.

J.P.D. is a four-week, 12-session football program that is free for up to 400 participants between the ages of 12-15 years old. This introductory youth tackle football program teaches all basic fundamentals, such as tackling and blocking at every practice.

This structured and controlled environment enables all players to learn at their comfort level. All practices are broken into instructional segments lasting no more than 15 to 20 minutes.

The particular assigned position of the day is taught in an upbeat tempo that holds a player’s interest throughout the entire practice.

The J.P.D. program, which has been under the direction of Madison High School football coach Ray Seals, focuses on on-field skills development with life skills and character development.

Participants receive instruction from selected youth, high school and college football coaches, as well as counseling that focuses around a weekly life skill.

Each life skill theme is addressed through the context of football with instructors making connections between life skills as they are applied on the field, in school, at home and in the community.

This year the program featured a record-number 432 participants, the largest ever in the seven-year history of the program.

The Jamboree is the climax of the four-week program and the participants look forward to playing indoors at the Texans practice facility.

“This program has helped me a lot,” Burbank middle school player Gerber Hernandez stated. “If it wasn’t for my coach taking the time to get me interested and transport me to and from the stadium I wouldn’t have had the opportunity.”

The J.P.D. program participants received training for four weeks at Barnett, Butler, and Delmar stadiums. Upon completion of the jamboree they each received a certificate, NFL football, J.P.D. jersey, J.P.D. bag, and wristband.

Members of the Madison High School football coaching staff assisted in coaching and training along with:

— John Henry Mills: Assistant coach at Bellaire High School and former Houston Oilers football player.

— Will Thomas: Asst. coach Grady Middle School.

— Dwayne Colbert: Head football coach at Sterling High School.

— Chuck Arnold: Head football coach at Davis High School.

— Joel North: Head Football coach at Booker T. Washington High School.

— Coaches Anthony Fields, Alvin Johnson, and Pat Reinecke from Madison High School and others.

Texans’ defensive tackle Alfred Malone and San Francisco 49ers running back and former Madison High School product Moran Norris took time out to talk to the kids about life and football.

“You need to set goals for yourself in everything you do,” Malone stated. “Everyone doesn’t have the opportunity to make it to the NFL, so you have to have a plan.”

Most Valuable Player awards were given out to the following players per age group/per stadium. They are:

— Reginald Smith: Woodson Middle School.

— Chaz Cross: Ryan Middle School.

— Brandon Jackson: Attucks Middle School.

— Stefon Williams: Woodson Middle School.

— Johnathan Quinn: Welch Middle School.

— Tremaine Byrd: Johnston Middle School.

— Avery Gilliam: Johnston Middle School.

— Christopher Williams: Dowling Middle School.

— Charles Phillips: Dowling Middle School.

— Joel North III and Michael Martinez: St. Francis Day School,

“We had a great group of kids and some outstanding individuals working with the kids this year,” Seals said. “Everyone did a great job and we’re very proud of what we accomplished.”