Aliam Appler boosted by Duel success

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Only 10 years old, Aliam Appler is already a proven football talent.
“I’ve been playing football since I was 5, and this will be my sixth season,” he said. “The first year I played on the line, but every year since I’ve played QB. I am going into my fifth season as a quarterback.”
Standing 5-foot-3 and weighing 100 pounds, Appler definitely has the size and strength to be an effective lineman on both sides of the football.
But one thing is already quite clear – he is playing the right position.
Even before Appler won the Duel, NFA’s showcase event, in July, he was a big success under center.
Playing Pop Warner football for the Coastal Cowboys in Wilmington, N.C., last season, Appler and the Mitey Mite Blue team went 9-0 and were crowned 2014 Beach Bowl Champions after beating the Wake Forest Titans.
“Last season went great,” Appler said. “It was the first year I was really able to throw more than once a game, and my teammates did a great job catching the football. We have an awesome team with a lot of talented running backs like Luke Nixon, Trent Hufham and Ni’cere Williams.”
Appler, who passed for 282 yards, rushed for 74, scored 8 touchdowns and also had 25 yards receiving, also was a disruptive defensive lineman for the Mitey Mite Blue and he had over a dozen sacks.
He is back in Pop Warner this season and will play for the Coastal Cowboys Junior Pee Wee Punishers.
“The goal this season is to stay undefeated and make it to the Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney,” he said.
Appler’s season is already off to a promising start.
Competing at the Duel against incoming fifth graders from all over the country, he was third heading into the final gauntlet and rallied all the way back to finish first.
“I felt great,” Appler said. “It was the first time I ever went to the Duel and I really wanted to win. I met some cool friends, too, and I hope I see them at a camp or next year at the Duel. Winning the Duel showed me that I am a good QB and that I can help my team win football games.”
Appler has been training with NFA for four years.
“NFA has helped me a lot,” he said. “I have been able to throw farther and more accurate. They’ve helped me get my footwork better and I’m learning how to read coverages.”
Combining NFA training with his natural ability and great size has worked out very well.
“As a quarterback, I think my strength is throwing the ball with distance and accuracy,” Appler said. “I’m also a strong runner. My weaknesses are reading the defense and ‘juking.’ I normally just run straight forward and hit people. I am working on getting better in both areas.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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