Nearly three dozen football players vied for the chance to play indoor football for the Dodge City Law at Saturday’s open tryouts, including three hopefuls who traveled from the Iowa-Illinois border area to participate.
Daejohn Love, Blayke Spears, Ashton Hardy made the ten-hour trip to Dodge City to put their skills on display. While each of the players’ ultimate goal was the same, to make the team, their backgrounds and reasons for wanting to play differed.
Love, a defensive back and special-teams player who played at Upper Iowa University, came in search of an opportunity to continue his playing career, Love said.
Since his college career ended, Love has tried to find an opportunity at the next level.
“It has been a year since I last tested the waters at the pro-level,” Love said.
Though Love has not been on the field for some time he has stayed in shape and prepared for another opportunity, he said.
Despite not having played for a while, Love believes that his chance of making the team is as good as anyone else’s.
“Everybody’s opportunity is equal. You show up, you show out, and you make a name for yourself,” Love said.
Love’s audition went well and he is confident that he will have an opportunity to play for the Dodge City Law.
“My numbers today don’t surprise me, but there is always room for improvement,” Love said. “I feel pretty good about where I stand right now.”
Blayke Spears, one of Love’s travel mates, came to Dodge City in order to continue his professional career, Spears said.
Spears, who played multiple defensive positions and special teams for Ellsworth Community College in Iowa, has played for several semi-pro football teams since his college career ended.
The highlight of his career so far was being selected as a member of an semi-pro football All-American team and being an MFA All-League selection during the 2010 to 2011 season.
Spears said that he noticed several other players who are skilled football players, but that he focused on his own performance rather than how other players did.
“I don’t worry about anyone else,” Spears said. “I worry about myself because I know how much time I have put in at the gym and on the field.
Though Dodge City is far from his home in Iowa, Spears said that he would jump at the opportunity to play here.
“I would be willing to move here for the team,” Spears said. “I would live out of my car if I had to.”
Aston Hardy, a resident of Illinois who played on a semi-pro team with Spears this past summer, said that the tryout was a chance at redemption for him.
Page 2 of 2 - After graduating from high school, Hardy had the chance to play football at the college-level, but he squandered his opportunity by not doing well in the classroom, Hardy said.
“I messed up the opportunity that I had,” Hardy said. “But, I felt like I should get back into football.”
Hardy hopes that the Dodge City Law will give him the opportunity to continue his quest to make-up for previous failures and to keep playing football.
“That’s why I wanted to play semi-pro football,” Hardy said, “to get to another level.”
Saturday’s tryout session did not go as well as Hardy had hoped it would, but he is confident that he can improve.
“I feel like it could have been better,” Hardy said. “I know I can improve, I just have to keep working.”