Saturday May 04 2013
The longest yard: Delta Ducks doing whatever they can to keep playing football
By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
Local minor league team improves to 7-0 with 99-6 victory at Del Oro High
The melting pot of football players for the Delta Ducks is astonishing.
The Ducks are a minor league semi-professional football team and are a part of the 11-team Pacific Coast Football League.
There are guys pushing 40, former college stars and even one player looking to get back into the NFL.
Despite the differences in talent and age, one thing remains the same — they all are looking to continue to do what they love the most.
The Ducks are currently first in the PCFL at 7-0 after a 99-6 drubbing of the Bay Area Assassains in their regular season home finale at Del Oro High School on Saturday.
Kejon Murphy was a part-time starter in all four years at Utah State from 2006-09. On Saturday, the 25-year-old cornerback returned a punt for a touchdown.
Despite being out of contact football for the last two years, the Fresno native is still looking for one more shot at a paycheck.
“I’m trying to get some film and get a workout every week,” Murphy said. “I’m not just doing this for fun.”
No player gets a paycheck from the Ducks.
All have lives off the field.
Murphy went from the stadium to his night job at a crisis control residence center as an overnight counselor in Citrus Heights.
He’s not alone.
Kicker Dave Stachelek found semi-pro ball in 2010 through a Craigslist posting. The 44-year-old sales rep for Aramark is playing this season “just to get a ring.”
Wide receiver Tim Lang juked defenders on Saturday all night. The 25-year-old former Grant High standout played one year at Fresno State in 2007 before real-life took over and he left the program to take care of his family.
“I’ve gotten older and now my head is on straight,” Lang said. “I’m just trying to keep my options open.”
That’s where Syd’Quan Thompson, who the Denver Broncos selected in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, comes in.
Thompson, 26, ruptured his Achilles tendon in September of 2011 and has been out of the league since.
Through the help of his agent, Thompson knew he needed to get into game shape before there was a legitimate shot for him to attempt a comeback in the NFL.
So he called up the coaching staff and got on board with the Ducks.
“This is football, this is the game I grew up playing,” Thompson said. “Any opportunity that I can get to play, I will play. I just use this, man, as a way to stay in shape. I can always get better.”