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Former Clay Star returns home to start semi-pro football team

Clay County Devil Dawgs join state-wide 8-Man EXFL league

Posted 7/20/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In an ambitious effort to revitalize youth football in Green Cove Springs, Lyndon Dunham, a former wide receiver and safety at Clay High from 2004-2007, recently started a semi-professional football team, the Clay County Devil Dawgs.

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Former Clay Star returns home to start semi-pro football team

Clay County Devil Dawgs join state-wide 8-Man EXFL league


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In an ambitious effort to revitalize youth football in Green Cove Springs, Lyndon Dunham, a former wide receiver and safety at Clay High from 2004-2007, recently started a semi-professional football team, the Clay County Devil Dawgs.

The team plays as a member of the Eight-Man Extreme Football League.

Dunham seeks to field a strong team and bring home a championship to the county, but the main goal of his vision is to rekindle the city’s youth football program.

“We started this program to bring the little league back here,” he said.

Other municipalities in Clay have at least one or multiple youth programs, but not Green Cove Springs.

Dunham’s goal is not to detract from existing programs but rather provide an additional avenue for young athletes.

“I’m not trying to take away from anyone,” he said.

However, Dunham’s dream could become a reality soon, as the former Blue Devils star’s vision is already gaining momentum.

Clay County played its first home game on July 8, with the launch of Lyndon’s “project” going extremely well, the Devil Dawgs drawing more than 30 fans to Thomas Hogan Field and finishing with a win against the Sanford Tomahawks.

The Devil Dawgs faced the Pinellas County Falcons in St. Petersburg last Saturday, losing 28-24.

They will travel to South Florida on Saturday to face the Palm Beach Capos.

After visiting the Tri-County Steelers -n Lake City on July 29, the team will finish the season with a two-game homestead on Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 against the South Florida Raptors and Sanford Tomahawks, respectively, which will be played at a different stadium location, which has yet to be determined.

Clay County seeks to build excitement by awaiting the big announcement, offering the local community an opportunity to rally behind the hometown team.

The Devil Dawgs’ journey to the field didn’t come without plenty of twists and turns.

The former Blue Devils’ star wanted to play for Edwards Waters College in Jacksonville after high school but instead joined the U.S. Marines, where he earned honors on the branch’s football team.

Dunham later earned a preferred walk-on invite to play for East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, but he decided to come home.

Since returning to Green Cove Springs, his primary focus has been reintegrating youth football into the city.

Dunham has already organized a youth football camp through the Devil Dawgs’ program this summer, but he wants to ensure he fully follows through on his big mission.

“We have kids that participate in the camp. Their parents come out and watch it. They like that kind of stuff. You also have people moving here looking for something for their children,” Dunham said.

The children that have participated in the camps have built a “big brother-little brother” like relationship with players this summer, relying on their Devil Dawgs’ heroes as positive role models in the community on and off the field.

They have also participated in gameday operations such as performing ball boy duties, holding the down markers, and providing cool water to players during breaks.

In the meantime, Dunham juggles many duties as the head of the operation.

“You have to wear many hats,” he said.

This includes seeking sponsorships and finding coaches and players, among other duties.

The Devil Dawgs boast a diverse roster comprising players with various backgrounds and experiences. Dunham expressed excitement for the opportunity to work with former college players, even those who played in high school years ago who want to strap back on their cleats.

“Our mix of talent and experience creates a dynamic team that is determined to succeed. We have the bodies to rotate and the dogs to get there,” he said.

The county also offers a potential platform to help players reach their professional dreams, where they can find a roster spot on the Jacksonville Sharks of the National Arena League or in the XFL, USFL or possibly the NFL.

“I can help these guys (play professionally), you know what I’m saying? Getting paid to play a game they’re passionate about, why not? I can help sharpen them up,” Dunham said.