LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
After a summer filled with tournament appearances and scrimmages, the Lackland Warhawks - also known as the Air Force Warhawks in San Antonio Flag Football Association - are preparing for their fall season as the league's newest Elite Division team.
The No. 14 B Division team in the state last year, the Warhawks were promoted to the SAFFA's top division following their second-consecutive division title and a short-lived, three-game run in the state tournament at Fort Sam Houston the previous spring.
"In a way, this is bitter sweet," Warhawks coach Winsome Culley said. "It's an honor for our team to be promoted to Elite, but those teams are definitely on a different level than we're used to."
Culley added, "most military teams have historically remained in the B Division."
The Warhawks scrimmaged and practiced every Sunday at Warhawk Field, and entered numerous tournaments to create chemistry within a squad that gained eight new players.
After two frustrating tournament finishes in Dallas, the new-look Warhawks had a breakthrough at the state pre-season tournament at Fort Sam Houston Aug. 14-15, rallying to place fifth out of 23 teams.
The top tier in a three division league, the Warhawks will face off against the best San Antonio has to offer starting Saturday.
Culley said the Airmen athletes' greatest challenge will be overcoming the Elite competitors' team chemistry, where in some cases the rosters haven't changed in a decade.
"When we played 'A' teams in the past, we put up a good fight, but never quite won the battle," the second-year coach said. "I'm hoping we can change our mentality going in and accept the challenge as well as overcome it."