By Wil Crews
The Opelika DawgPound begins its season in August, but the work it does occurs year-round.
Continuing its work through the nonprofit, the Knee High Foundation, the DawgPound teams and cheerleading squads are doing big things on the field and in the community.
Firstly, the 10U and 15U DawgPound teams competed in the G7 seven on seven Passing League and played in a tournament in South Carolina on May 8. The 15U finished in second place while the 10U finished a touchdown shy of reaching the championship game.
“We’ve been improving with seven on seven,” founder of the DawgPound and the Knee High Foundation founder Anthony Bryant said. “The progress has been amazing with the 10U, the 12U and the 15U.”
Different from the seven on seven teams who competed this month, Bryant said most of the Dawg Pound isn’t even practicing yet.
“We are just doing condition and agility,” he said. “… Footwork, speed stuff, we aren’t really going over football stuff right now.”
The real work on the field begins in the twilight of summer, so, in the meantime, a number of things have kept the teams busy.
For example, the Knee High Foundation and Girls Step, Inc., another non-profit, collaboratively celebrated Mother’s Day at Courthouse square last Sunday with a dedication ceremony which allowed attendees to enjoy live music, sno’ cones and a meet and greet with some OPD officers.
“It was a great turnout and just a great atmosphere in general,” Bryant said.
And while the DawgPound has big plans, the cheerleading squads will be there – with their first-year junior coaches – too.
“In total it’s about 48 girls,” Vice President and CIO of the Knee High Foundation and head cheerleading squad coach Alyssa Foreman said. “I have four young ladies who I will be mentoring. They will be working with the squads as well.”
Remaining committed to its goal of giving back to the youth in the community, the DawgPound’s deadline for seniors to submit their applications for the organization’s annual scholarship giveaway just passed. The DawgPound partnered with Cook’s Transport this year, allowing them to give away more $250 scholarships than ever before.
Another way the DawgPound is planning to get involved in the community is by playing in the Opelika Police Department flag football game scheduled for June 19.
Furthermore, the DawgPound is still planning its July football tournament – the first one it will ever host. Bryant said the event has garnered interest from teams out of Texas, Washington and Atlanta, and that the DawgPound’s 6U, 8U, 10U and 12U teams will all be participating.
The DawgPound is also planning to partnering with the local Boys and Girls Club later this summer to put on a backpack drive giveaway, where the organization will be donating 500 supply-filled bags for the students later and the Boys and Girls Club will be giving free haircuts.
“That way we can make sure we get the children prepared as well as offer one less thing for parents to worry about with school heading back,” Foreman said.
Lastly, Bryant said he is planning to expand and add another sport to the DawgPound’s repertoire, but would not yet say what is as the details are not hammered down.
The DawgPound will officially get into pads in August with its season starting shortly. Until then, the teams and the cheerleading squad will continue to make their presence felt in Opelika.
“I am so elated that we are coming to the end of the COVID season because we talked a lot about how it impacts the adults, how it impacts our jobs, but we never really honed in how it impacts the children,” Foreman said. “So, having them come out, having them work with each other, just to see them go back to what they know, I’m elated. Just to be able to offer them some type of outlet, some type of mentoring program is absolutely amazing.”