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Tohono O'odham Sugar Skulls player returns to roots

antonio rosales sugar skulls.JPG
Posted at 9:25 AM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 12:57:07-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Tucson Sugar Skulls lineman Antonio Rosales grew up on the Tohono O'odham reservation, and he hasn't forgotten where he came from.

On Thursday, he and some teammates went to Sells to hold a youth clinic.

Rosales -- who played at Tucson High School and San Diego State -- and other players worked with the children who attended, teaching them football and conditioning skills.

KGUN9 video journalist Alfonso Sahagun traveled along with the team.

"Growing up out here, I kind of know the environment," Rosales said. "Being one of those kids myself when I was younger, there is like a certain kindness, that at a young age, is kind of hard to get over. I made him come and play."

"As soon as things get going, you have all of these big guys and these mean looking guys start smiling, laughing and talking it up, they kind of come out of their shell. You always want to give back to your community, and we have one of our own, Antonio Rosales, who is from this area, and from the reservation, you want to do everything you can to make him feel at home, and make sure that he knows that we support him."

Rosales said he draws inspiration from his home.

"You know, if I was there age, and I saw someone who I knew who was from where they are from, had similar struggles, grew up in the same environment, had success in a professional stage, its definitely something to be excited about," he said. "I know I would be excited about it. It's something I'll never forget. I hope they come out there again, and more people come. Soccer people, basketball people, football people. Their enthusiasm, you can tell it means a lot to them. They are competing, and talking it up. I know, it means a lot to them."

The Sugar Skulls host the Quad City Steamrollers with a playoffs spot on the line at 6 p.m. Saturday. For tickets, click here.