XENIA — With a desire to bring family fun back to the sidelines, the Ohio Valley Saints semi-pro football team is coming to Xenia for the 2018 Premier Amateur Football League season.
Jordan Blair has played semi-professional football ever since graduating from Greeneview High School back in 2008. Now a pediatric nurse when he’s not donning shoulder pads, Blair was a member of the Xenia Tornadoes, a semi-pro team that ceased operating four games into the 2017 football season. He hopes to learn from the experience he had with the Tornadoes, and wants to place an emphasis on making football games fun for the entire family.
“‘Faith, Family and Football,’ that’s our slogan. And that’s why we picked Athletes In Action as our home field. We’re a Christian-based football team, and we wanted to be a part of their program. They have the same ideals as we do,” Blair said. “I have a 3-year-old daughter, and I want to make it a family friendly environment where people can bring their entire families to the games and can have a good time.”
The team has been practicing in recent weeks at an indoor facility in Tipp City, but Blair says several players have been conditioning since last summer. Once the weather warms up, the team will be practicing at either Spring Hill Park in Xenia, or on the field next to Central Pre School.
Opening Day for the first-year team will be Saturday, May 12 in Cincinnati. The first home contest for the Saints will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19 on the AIA field. Four of the team’s first five games in the PAFL will be on the road, but Blair likes that four of the team’s final five contests will be at AIA.
“We’re looking forward to June and July, when we’ll be playing most of our games in front of our home crowd,” Blair said.
The Saints are considered a Tier Two team in the three-tire PAFL. The more experienced teams play in Tier One. Teams in Ohio Valley’s league are mostly within easy traveling distance, too, which is always helpful for a fledgling program. Blair says there are teams based in New Carlisle, Dayton, Middletown, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Teams from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia make up the entire PAFL.
BOWLING FUND RAISER
Fans can come out and meet the Saints team while enjoying an afternoon of bowling fun on Jan. 27 at Beaver-Vu Bowl in Beavercreek. For $20 per individual or $30 per couple, fans can enjoy 2 1/2 hours of bowling which includes a pizza, a pitcher of soda and inclusion in a 50/50 raffle.
Bowling starts at 7 p.m. and will last until 9:30 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser will help support the team during the 2018 season.
Blair has several sponsorship packages available, starting at $150 and going up, for area businesses.
“We’ll offer team banners that we’ll show at all our games, home or away. We’ll have T-shirts, season passes. We can even go so far as to run a business sticker on our helmets or patches on our uniforms.
FAMILY FRIENDLY FOOTBALL
Ticket costs for Saints games are reasonable, too. General admission is $5, active military members can get in for $3, and kids get in free.
For more information about the Ohio Valley Saints football organization, call Blair at 937-570-6216, visit the team’s Facebook page, or go to their website at freeteams.com/ohiovalleysaints.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.