Families turned out in big numbers on the evening of Feb. 9 to take part in the Puyallup Nation Warriors football awards banquet at the Youth Center. Awards were given out to players from youngest to eldest and to the Cheer Squad as well.
“To watch them grow this year I see as growth in our community 10 years from now,” said Coach Chester Earl. “These are going to be the coaches for the next generation so it was absolutely amazing watching the growth in each and every one of them.”
Special guest Tristyn Gese was there to take part in the celebratory event. This Puyallup Tribal member has made quite a name for himself for his skills on the field, most recently helping to lead Bethel High School to the 3A state tournament this fall, finishing with a 9-2 record, 42 passes for 602 yards and five touchdowns. He was a quarterback throughout his career but in his senior year he gave up that position for tight-end to allow another player to take this position to help out the team. “To me that was the ultimate sign of respect to his teammates and love for the game,” said Coach Ty Satiacum. Last week Tristyn signed his letter of intent to attend and play football at Western Oregon University for a full-ride scholarship.
When he stepped up to the podium to address the youth and banquet guests, he was very encouraging to all the young players present.
“Pursue your dreams and never give up,” he said. “All you guys have a passion for football. I hope the best for all of you and I love seeing young people grow up wanting to be the next big thing.”
He stressed the importance of being a good student as much as an accomplished athlete, advising the youth to keep their grade point averages up so that they could get into college.
“How are you going to make it to the NFL if you don’t go to college?” he said to those players who are dreaming big.
Coach Philip Dillon echoed Tristyn’s words. “To be successful in anything in your life, and especially the sport you love, it’s not what you do on the practice field; it’s what you do off it. That’s what’s going to prepare you for the next level.”
Puyallup Tribal Councilman David Bean spoke on behalf of Tribal Council, expressing nothing but praise for all the youth present.
“All you football players and cheerleaders, I just want to say we are so proud of you on behalf of the Puyallup Tribal Council,” he said. “It was awesome to watch you all put your hearts on the field, to listen to these young ladies out there cheering for the football players, to watch you guys grow and develop… That’s what I want each and every one of you to do – to grow up like Tristyn and go off to college. You have to work hard on the field and you have to work hard in the classroom.”
Councilman Bean spoke gratitude for those who have taken the young players under their wings. “Thank you, coaches and parents, for working so hard to teach our youth the fundamentals of the game and sportsmanship. I raise my hands to each and every one of you.”
Cheerleader coaches Anna Bean, Kelly Bean and Lisa Wright said they couldn’t be more proud of the young ladies who turned out for the 2017 Puyallup Nation Warriors Cheer Squad. Anna Bean said that not only did she and her two fellow coaches come in with no experience in coaching, the young cheerleaders had never cheered before. “We all learned together and by the end of the season we were rockin’ it,” she said. “We look forward to seeing what the turnout is going to be like next year.”
The same is true for the football players themselves, starting from ground zero with fresh, young players who were new to the game.
“The goal was to create a place where they wanted to be part of something good here,” Coach Ty Satiacum said, and that goal was reached beautifully. “We had a solid core and we built from there.”
Coach Phillip Dillon said that the coaches are working with Northwest Premiere Youth Football League to create a stable, established league that will be in next year ranging in ages 6-7, 89, 10-11, 12-13 years old.