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Lindsay rebuilding the Far Northeast football community

Head coach Tony Lindsay Sr. is returning to his community in hopes of rebuilding the football program into the state's powerhouse.

DENVER — Ask any football fan in Denver about the name Lindsay, and chances are, they've heard it. 

Of course, hometown kid Phillip Lindsay -- who attended the University of Colorado after graduating from Denver South -- continues to be a fan favorite at Broncos training camp. But did you know -- he's not the first from his family to leave a mark on Denver's high school football scene?

That honor belongs to Phillip's uncle, who's now turning around yet another local program.

In fact, Tony Lindsay Sr. has been synonymous with Denver football for decades. In the past ten years alone, he built the South Rebels into a 4A force, acquiring a 78-33 record while also leading them to the state championship appearance in 2012.

It seemed abrupt when he stepped down from the program two years ago, to take over a struggling program across town, coaching the Far Northeast Warriors.

"I came from here. I was coaching here before I came to South. This is my community, and it was just time for me to give back to my community," Lindsay said. 

The Warriors were in search of a leader. In Lindsay, they found much more.

"The program at South, they had won  like three games in four years when we got there, and we were using four freshman on the line," Lindsay said. "Same thing [at Far Northeast]. I was the fourth coach in four years here. They went through a couple of athletic directors, and with that being said, that's why a lot of the kids who are out here didn't choose to come and play football here."

"[Coach Lindsay] is changing the mindset," Martin Luther King High School junior Emmanuel Nwaneto said. "What people don't understand is, it's really hard out here, not just for the coaches, but for the kids, too. We're split out everywhere."

Far Northeast is a co-op program that is made up of student-athletes from eleven different high schools located around the former Montbello High School campus. Their struggles as a program have been well documented. In the three seasons prior to Lindsay's arrival, the team had won three games combined.

"Success is not just about winning and losing. It's about comradery, community and just basically what you're able to do once you leave here and the person you become," Nwaneto said.

That was a mindset instilled by Lindsay. As the players embraced their new goal and purpose, the wins started to stack up. In two seasons, the Warriors tallied eleven victories. Their biggest loss -- the loss of community -- is even starting to make a comeback.

"They made this place feel like a community again," Nwaneto said. "I've been here for awhile. I've been [in the neighborhood] since sixth grade. I've never felt a part of something. But ever since coach Lindsay and [the other coaches] got here, I feel like this is my second home."

Football is becoming part of the new cornerstone at Far Northeast. Once again, the name "Lindsay" is at the heart of the foundation.

"You go through life and people ask, 'What's your purpose?' Well, this is my purpose," he said. "[My players] being successful is going to happen. Because I know it's going to happen."