Talon News - Good Local News

By Lisa Bailey



December 1, 2017

Boosters gather to "Break the Bridge" before home football games

Tiger Nation is how AHS Football Booster Club President Laci Phillips refers to Aztec. An Aztec graduate herself, Laci is excited to be a part of building the football booster club and helping to make sure that the players and coaches had what they need during the season. Laci is quick to acknowledge that she could not do it alone. She said the parents have been amazing, and community response to the booster club's needs has been tremendously generous! Hearing what has been accomplished this past season, it seems there is an excitement and momentum building.

It all started in January when Coach Steinfeld approached Laci regarding his vision for a booster organization for the football team. Booster clubs are not new to athletic teams, but the degree of participation fluctuates. Laci promoted parent involvement in their children's education and activities, "We take our kids (to school), they run into this building and we just assume they have everything they need, that the teachers have everything they need. That's really not the case. They need the parents, teachers, administration, players, and coaches."

The cohesion of this group is obvious. Laci said that Athletic Director Bryan Sanders has been one of the biggest advocate, helping to reinstate and implement pieces that contributed to a great season for the football program as a whole.

The coaching staff is comprised of eight coaches; Head Coach Matthew Steinfelt, and Brandon Brown, Michaels Cowden, Rodney Hutchins, Monte Maxwell, Justin Hargrow, Derick Jensen, Justin Lupe, and Cory Minton. Each week Laci contacts the coaches and emails a newsletter to parents. The booster club also provided a weekly dinner for the linemen. For every home game, the booster club arranged for the team to be fed. They organized "Break the Bridge." Perhaps Aztec residents have seen the group at the bridge over the Animas, in their Tiger colors, with balloons and banners, cheering the team as they travel to the field. Additionally, the booster club has a Facebook page and Instagram account where current information and pictures are posted.

This past season there were five home games, Randy Hodge of Rubia's hosted three of those meals. Aztec Domino's provided road trip pizzas for an away game. And, while the team practiced for the last playoff game, the parents were off to the sidelines barbecuing steaks donated by Flora Vista Farmers Market and preparing sides donated by Aztec Safeway.

Fundraising is always a key piece in Booster Clubs. This year's fundraisers, a golf tournament and selling tailgating spots at the field, were well received. The booster club parents asked Aztec businesses for door prizes for the golf tournament. After player's parents were given first chance to purchase the tailgating spots, the remaining spots were offered to the public. Local business M&R Trucking purchased two spots, and hosted a hot dog and hamburger feed for attendees of one of the home games.

The Tigers share a meal at Rubia's before the home game

New additions to the football program this year include a large oversized cage, to let the Tigers out to the field. After the idea was brought to Laci, she went to work on it and eventually found Cody Yocum, an Aztec graduate and former Aztec football player. Cody built and donated the cage for the team.

Coach Steinfelt also introduced a Leadership Council that includes two players from each class who meet weekly to discuss the team and the players. "It's all about the kids," Laci reflects, and it is clear that the kids have an active part in the team's direction.

This year's mantra, "No Excuses," seems to have resonated with the team. Being a business owner, she is no stranger to branding, marketing, and maximizing resources.

The Booster Club is already planning for the 2018 season, always happy to plug in new people and hoping to get their sponsors in place by January. Whether you are a parent, an alumni, or just love football, contact Laci at 623-810-1352 to find a niche.


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