Local heroes team up in pigskin league

The Hero Bowl football game returns to Cathedral Catholic at 4 p.m. March 7, pitting the San Diego Enforcers against the Atlanta Defenders in the first home game of the season.

The Enforcers are part of the National Public Safety Football League and its players come from 15 different law enforcement agencies across the county.

“The first home game is always the best game of the year,” said linebacker Tony David, the sole firefighter on the team. “We’re anxious to get out there, we’ve been working hard for the last four months and everyone’s ready to go.”

“The more community support we can get the better,” said speedy running back Valley Coleman, from the Chula Vista Police Department. “Fill the stadium up and support our law enforcement and our heroes overseas.”

Jason Sullivan, San Diego Enforcers president, said filling the stadium is a great way to say thank you to local law enforcement - which can sometimes be a thankless job, he said.

“What I love is that these guys can feel and see a big show of support,” Sullivan said.

The Enforcers can then support the Semper Fi Fund, their way of saying thank you to Marines for risking their lives for the country, he added.

Supporting Marines

The Enforcers started up in 1997 as the San Diego Posse but disbanded after a lack of sponsorship.

Sullivan and Greg Ellis brought the team back in 2007, with the sponsorship of The Shiley Foundation, King Stahlman Bail Bonds and Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet.

Sullivan said the sponsors are huge because they not only allow the team to exist, but also allow them generosity with their charity of choice, Semper Fi.

The Semper Fi Fund helps out Marines like Cody Miranda from Del Mar, who was injured in Iraq in 2003. Miranda deals with post-traumatic stress disorder that he said leaves him feeling depressed and unmotivated.

Since 2003, the Semper Fi Fund has not only helped him out financially, but helped get him out of the house and kept him active.

The group helped him get whatever he needed to “feel sane” - be it a guitar, mountain bike or a punching bag.

“Basically they helped start my whole life over,” Miranda said. “If it weren’t for them staying with me I really don’t know where I’d be.”

Serious enforcement

In their third year playing together, the Enforcers are really starting to gel, Sullivan said. They are coming off a big victory in their first game of the season, where they crushed the Orange County Lawmen 35-0.

Last year they went 5-1, losing only to the Los Angeles Police Department team. The Enforcers will get a rematch with L.A. on April 4 at Cathedral.

The team’s players range in age from 24 to 45.

“It’s pretty cool, it’s like being a kid again,” David said. “You miss it when you stop playing. But once you get back on the field everything comes back to you.”

Head Coach Brian Salmon said coaching the group is a dream as they are so committed - some came straight to Sunday afternoon practice from shifts that ended at 6 a.m.

“They do a lot for our communities but also have a passion for football,” said Salmon, who has coached at Poway and Westview High Schools. “These guys are really committed to win.”

At Sunday’s practice, Scott Holslag, San Diego Police Department linebacker, barked at his teammates as they worked on kick-off coverage and coach Salmon screamed for better effort and faster legs.

David jogged to the bench with blood dripping down his forearm. He called it a mere “raspberry.”

To find out more, visit