"FRIDAY NIGHT TYKES" RETURNS TO ESQUIRE NETWORK BEGINNING JANUARY 17TH
-- The Hit Documentary Franchise Heads to Texas for a Fourth Season and Western Pennsylvania for a Second Season --
LOS ANGELES - December 8, 2016 - Greatness starts here. The night of tykes begins when "Friday Night Tykes" season four premieres Tuesday, January 17th at 9 PM ET/PT. Esquire Network's most watched original franchise among A18-49 will also deliver a season two of "Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country" beginning on January 31 at 10 PM ET/PT. Both critically acclaimed series provide an authentic and sometimes provocative look at the cultural phenomenon that is American football at the youth level.
"Friday Night Tykes" season four returns to Texas with 10 hour-long episodes, documenting some of the most competitive youth football teams in the nation. Taking an unfiltered look at the 10, 11 and 12-year-old divisions of the Texas Youth Football Association (TYFA) and the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL), viewers meet the future of professional football, their coaches, parents and mentors.
Meet the "Friday Night Tykes" teams:
SAN ANTONIO OUTLAWS
Led by head coach Fred Davis and assistant coaches Marecus Goodloe and Clayton Guillory, The San Antonio Outlaws are among the premiere youth football teams in the nation. After joining the Snoop Youth Football League last season and winning a National Championship, the Outlaws come into this season bigger and better, having poached many of the most talented youth athletes in Texas en route to building a super team. Aside from the wealth of new talent, the Outlaws are still led by 12-year-old phenomenon Myzel Miller, regarded by many as the top 12 year-old running back in the country.
JUDSON JR. ROCKETS
In an area known for it's legendary high school football team, Judson is led by team president Keith Dyson, a former serviceman in the United States Army who has vowed to bring the Jr. Rockets back to their former glory. Keith has also been extremely vocal about the mistreatment he feels his team has received over the years from the officials who run TYFA.
The Venom is a new organization in TYFA led by team president and TYFA commissioner Chris Davis. Chris is a self-described "alpha male" and larger than life character. The Venom were formed when two different youth football organizations merged at the beginning of the season. While the kids have come together seamlessly, the merger has created a situation where the adults don't always see eye to eye - most notably Chris Davis and head coach Cory Jefferson.
After bouncing around from team to team in TYFA, Paul and Lori Hurt decided last season to start their own youth football organization, the Texas Storm. Although their son Justice has aged out of the league, the Hurts have brought back the Storm for another season, and this year Lori has decided to coach in addition to her role as team president. But dwindling numbers and the lack of preparedness have made it difficult for them to compete.
Led by team president Jay Joplin, the 210 Outlaws are an offshoot of the San Antonio Outlaws organization. Formerly Fred Davis's partner in the Outlaws, Jay decided to create the 210 Outlaws when many of the families were not willing to commit to the travel involved in the Snoop Youth Football League. Jay's checkered past has led him to a life of service in his community, and mentors kids as a way to keep them from making the same mistakes he made at a young age. With many of the San Antonio Outlaws former players, the 210 are one of the most competitive teams in TYFA.
Led by team president Shannon Crenshaw and head coach Sedrick Alexander, the Austin Steelers are the odds on favorite to win the TYFA Championship this season. Having come close the last few seasons, the Steelers are loaded with talent, including Tre Tre McCutchin, regarded by many as the best 11-year-old wide receiver in the state of Texas.
"Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country" season two returns to Western Pennsylvania with eight hour-long episodes. Once home to NFL greats such as Joe Namath, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett and Darrelle Revis, these small American towns have some of the country's biggest rivalries. Cameras showcase the compelling in-depth stories of the working class communities who connect culturally, socially and emotionally through youth football.
Meet the "Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country" teams:
CENTRAL VALLEY WARRIORS
After winning the championship in last season's 10-11 year-old Mighty Mite division, head coach Todd Alexander is back coaching the 12-13 year-old Midget Division. A surgical supplies salesman, Todd runs his disciplined Warriors team like a professional organization. Leading the charge on the field is Todd's son Landon Alexander, a 12-year-old running back that may learn the hard way that touchdowns may not come as easily in the bigger, stronger Midget division.
Last season's runner ups, the Blackhawk Cougars enter the Midget Division with a new head coach, Nick Shansky, who is also the stepfather of star player Tyler Dietrich. A return to the championship for the rural Cougars is unlikely as they enter the Midgets with mostly 12-year-olds, meaning they will likely be outsized and outmatched by teams with bigger, stronger 13-year-olds. New to the team is running back Josh Hathaway, a 13-year-old with Type 1 Diabetes. Josh is raised by a single dad, Mike, who works as a truck driver. Josh is left in the hands of a caretaker throughout the week while his dad is on the road. But Mike always makes sure to make it back on weekends and has never missed a game.
One of the most economically challenged communities in Beaver County, Aliquippa also has one of the most enduring football legacies. While the Quips exited the playoffs in the semifinals in the 10-11 year-old Mighty Mite division last season, the 12-13 year-old Midgets have won the championship the last two seasons in a row. They look to three-peat as the Quips have a big, punishing defense and an offense led by star running back Nico Flati. Head coach Hop Jeter has been confined to a wheelchair since 2001, when he was shot during an altercation. Mayor Dwan Walker is also back as an assistant coach on the Midget team. The Quips are the early favorites to win the championship.
BEAVER FALLS TIGERS
Led by head coach Albee Hill, the Beaver Falls Tigers figure to be one of the more competitive teams in the Midget Division this season. On the field, the Tigers will hand the ball to superstar running back Josh Hough, who's dad Jason has had him on a regulated football regimen since a very young age. Also of note is quarterback Chase Thornton, who's dad Ken was a former Aliquippa high school football legend, having been Ty Law's quarterback. Ken raises his family in Aliquippa, yet has his son play in Beaver Falls because he believes it is a safer community. He also homeschools his kids and is a self proclaimed "prophet" and "street preacher."
STO ROX VIKINGS
Just on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, the Sto Rox Vikings play in an urban setting plagued by crime and poverty. Struggling to maintain numbers within the organization, Sto Rox, is led by only two coaches, Matt Chapman, who is also the volunteer fire chief in the community, and Keith Bailey, a forklift operator who works the night shift to ensure that he can still coach football. The Vikings will likely struggle to compete against the bigger, more organized teams in the Midget Division, but for Matt and Keith, their mission is to provide kids football as an alternative to the dangers of the streets.
No matter how you define success, the journey is more important than the destination. Within this high-stakes subculture lies one common denominator, youth football. In Texas football is religion. In Western Pennsylvania football is life.
"Friday Night Tykes" returns Tuesday, January 17th at 9 PM ET/PT only on Esquire Network.
"Friday Night Tykes" and "Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country" are produced by 441 Productions, Texas Crew Productions and Electro-Fish Films for Esquire Network. For 441 Productions, Matt Maranz, Gabe Honig, Andrew Morreale and Jake Laufer are executive producers. For Texas Crew Productions Terry Stewart and David Karabinas are executive producers. For Electro-Fish Cile Spelce and Chris Elley are executive producers. For "Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country" Todd Stevens is an executive producer.
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