Carmon, Huff turn tryout into arena football career

Published 11:56 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

They came for the tryout. They stayed for the season.

An invitation to tryout for the Harrisburg Stampede AIFA arena football team turned into a contract for Ironton lineman Jesse Carmon and Fairland wide receiver Sam Huff.

Carmon and Huff were teammates on the Kenova Crash minor league football team. Carmon — who played last season for the Huntington Heroes AIFA arena team — got an invitation from the Stampede and he brought the speedy and talented Huff with him.

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After talking with Stampede owner and president John Morris and touring the facilities, Carmon and Huff decided to stay and signed contracts.

“I came out here last week to check things out. I was supposed to go to Lexington (Ky.) for a workout. Instead we came up here and signed,” said Carmon who is being projected as a starter at guard.

“Sam was invited to training camp and I’ve already signed. They like Sam.”

And Huff likes the Stampede.

“They love me down here. They said I have a lot of raw talent,” said Huff. “I have a bad shoulder right now. They want me to stay here. It’s a good opportunity.”

Both had a second tryout with the Lexington Horsemen, but Carmon said the situation was too good to pass on.

“It’s awesome up here. Our arena is bigger than Charleston (W.Va.). It’s one of the biggest I’ve played in,” said Carmon.

“The competition is getting better. The AFL-one folded (for this season) so some guys are going to the AFL2, so we’re getting better players. I’m going against a guy in practice with 4.5 (40-yard dash) speed.”

Huff was not only a talented receiver but can also play defensive back. He had 30 interceptions in high school when he earned All-Ohio honors. However, Huff has never played indoor football before signing with the Stampede.

“It’s a whole new ball game,” said Huff. “It’s challenging, but I’m getting used to it. Once I get it down, this is my type of game. I like the fast tempo. It takes a lot to get used to. A lot of guys get confused.”

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Huff, who runs a 4.4, has been nursing a bad shoulder, but he said the Stampede officials like him well enough to keep him around while he rehabs.

“I was the only receiver to catch every single ball thrown to me in practice the other day,” said Huff. “Because I had so many picks in high school, they’re using me at safety, too. They say I have a lot of heart.”

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Carmon said the Stampede are the AIFI preseason favorites. The team gets television coverage from the Philadelphia and Maryland area’s.

Harrisburg played an exhibition game Saturday against the AIFI all-stars, and they will begin their regular season March 7 against the South Carolina Force.

“I’m keeping my dream alive,” said Huff.