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Flyers fans are full of anticipation for the beginning of the season

By BY ERIN PRADIA - EPRADIA@VICAD.COM
Aug. 26, 2011 at 3:26 a.m.

Flyers' fans, from left, DeAnna Alvarez, Debbie Martinez, Tina Reeves, Yvette Small and Melinda Miles cheer as the Flyers football team runs out of the tunnel and onto the field at the beginning of the game Friday evening.

Four mothers arrived at Patti Welder stadium more than an hour before the start of the opening game of St. Joseph's football season.

"We get here at 6 and make sure we've got our spots," said Debbie Martinez, whose son attends St. Joseph. Martinez's son played football for the Flyers last year, but this year she came to support a close family friend, Eric Alvarez.

While they waited for the game against TMI of San Antonio to begin, the mothers munched on tailgate chili and looked through the game program. But before Martinez, Tina Reeves, DeAnna Alvarez and Yvette Small took their usual seats near the 50 yard line, the mothers "got all blinged out" with beaded shirts, blue and white clappers, and "football mom" pins.

"We are crazy mommas," said Alvarez, whose son Eric is quarterback for the team. "I try really hard not to embarrass him. But it's hard."

Alvarez said it doesn't matter if the Flyers play in Victoria or Dallas, the fan base is strong.

"We have the same if not more fans at away games," Alvarez said. She said other schools have moved to bigger stadiums for games against the Flyers because of the notorious mass of fans who travel from Victoria to see the game.

Among the Flyers' avid fans are twin 54-year-old self-proclaimed sports junkies Tommy and Timmy Lee, of Port Lavaca. The brothers graduated from Calhoun High School, but they said the Flyers are their favorite team. They have been traveling regularly to see the Flyers games for the past two years.

Fans also take part in pre-game tailgating in the parking lot.

JoAnne Bashaw, 38, of Victoria, was with her daughters Kate and Brodie Bashaw, both 7, who ate snacks in the back of the family van while they waited to watch their brother Ross Plasczyk, a junior on St. Joseph's football team.

"I really like to look at the score," Brodie said as she munched on a bag of Fritos.

Kate showed off her nails, painted blue as she ate her chocolate cupcake and tortilla chips.

"I painted them blue because I like blue," Kate said. "But I also knew the game was coming up."

Colin Zafereo, 12, attends most Flyers home games to support his brother Cameron.

"I am just hoping they do good and make the playoffs this year," Colin said.

As kick off time approached, the players' parents gathered near the end zone to make a tunnel and cheer for the players as they prepared to run onto the field before the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Everybody on your feet, let's get this party started," the sports announcer's voice blared over the antsy crowd.

"Don't be nervous. It will be all right," Small reassured her friends.

All of the mothers said they have prayed for safety for the players on both teams.

Braxton Mayfield, 14, of Victoria, is a trainer's assistant for the Flyers. He has several friends on the team and said he is happy to support his school.

"I think we're gonna be good," Braxton said. "We've been doing two-a-days in 103 degree weather. I think we are prepared."

Randall Nelson, 14, who plays on the junior varsity football team at St. Joseph said he has practiced with the team.

"We will see if all the practice pays off," Randall said. "They've beat TMI several years in a row. We're hoping to keep that streak going."

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