Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Choctaw Champion

Joe Standifer shines in AEFL

Joe_Standifer Joe Standifer is a champion, an American Eight-Man Football League (AEFL) champion to be specific. The Sachse Stallions, the team where Joe assumed the roll of number 44 defensive linemen, recently clinched an undefeated season of 10-0 as they earned the title of champion in the AEFL Bowl XII.

The Sachse Stallion boasted a 32-17 win over the Texas Takeover on April 28 to complete their perfect season, an accomplishment that Joe had been seeking since he joined the league. “It has been one big huge roller coaster ride,” he remarked.

Last season, when Joe joined the Stallions, the group saw a mediocre inaugural season. They made it to the first round of the playoffs, but “that wasn’t enough,” remarked Joe. He and his team were hungry for success. “We knew the talent that we had and we knew what we were capable of,” he declared as he spoke of his team.

Every Sunday, each season began, Joe and his teammate Keith Vines, who had introduced Joe to the AEFL, would drive to Sachse, Texas, for practices with Coach Pete Espinosa. Joe and his teammates would perform drills, exercises and scrimmages. These weekly practices would run from August through Superbowl Sunday, with the season beginning the following week.

The league hosted their games at Pennington Field in Euless, Texas. The games were not taken lightly, but were played with every bit of effort each team could rally. You had to give it 110 percent, because you knew the guy on the other side of the ball was. They weren’t just going to give it to you declared Joe as he explained the intensity of the action.

Once the season commenced, every Sunday was a new game and a new time to shine for the Stallions. For Joe, a graduate of Tishomingo High School whose team went to the state championship in ‘98, every game was a way to demonstrate that those talents of the past had not faded.

When Joe joined the AEFL three years prior to the championship title, playing for the Denton Dragons, he was 29 years old and had not played football in a considerable amount of time. He was anxious before his first practice, but, “After that first initial hit, it was like everything that was familiar about it came back,” mentioned Joe.

The league served as a way for not only Joe, but also all the players to stay in shape, experience the bonds of a team and experience the fulfillment that accompanies such feats as winning championships.

“Every Sunday you look forward to trying to knock somebody’s head off, but after the game, you shake hands and everybody is friends,” said Joe. “There was like a mutual respect throughout the league for each individual person and each team.”

After a year with the Dragons, Keith got a call from Coach Espinosa asking him to play with the newly formed Stallions. Both Joe and Keith decided to join the new squad based in Sachse.

During his time with in the league, it was not only Joe committing his efforts, his now 7-year-old son Adrian was happy to serve as water boy all while enjoying seeing his father in action.

Joe has been pleased with Adrian’s support and commitment, stating that he was there with him through the good times and the bad, sporting a Stallion jersey. Sharing the championship with his son in a memory that both Joe and Adrian will hold dear for many years to come.

Through his success with the AEFL, Joe hopes to be a role model to his son and other members of his family, stating that even though the road was long and rough, it was possible to earn the goal through perseverance.

Adding to the complexity of his goal of being a champion, Joe not only was busy training, raising a son and working, but has also been enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He is scheduled to graduate with a degree in math in May of 2014.

This past season will be Joe’s last as a player. “It does take a toll on your body,” stated the now 32-year-old athlete. He continued by stating even though he could push himself for more seasons, it is worth more to him to preserve himself for an enjoyable future playing with his son.

Joe will be leaving the league a champion, and “What better way to walk out than that?” he exclaimed. He does aspire to contribute to the Stallions in other ways such as coaching, stating that his attitude off the field will be the same as it was on the field, “Use me however you want, I just want to do my part.”

If you would like to know more about the AEFL or the Stallions, visit the AEFL website or the Stallion’s website.

The 2013 Stallions. Photos provided.