July 5, 2006 - Flying Aces quarterback Albert Higgs is having a great time playing football here.
You can tell by the way he
signs autographs after games, or when he
throws footballs to fans in the stands during halftime.
If Higgs looks like a big kid it's because he
loves what he's
doing and the path he
took to get here.
"I love playing and I love it here.I love the indoor game and the guys I'm playing with," he
said."I've always loved playing sports.All my life I've played and competed and that's what's made me successful."Higgs
is a tremendous athlete.This year he's
thrown 55 touchdown passes for over 1997 yards with just 11 interceptions in leading the team to an 11-2 record.At 5-11 and 244 pounds, you wouldn't expect him to be as mobile as he
is, but Higgs
has scrambled away from trouble a number of times and completed touchdown passes in the process.
"It's a tough game.Those guys out there are fast.You have to be able to move in this league," he
said."I'm lucky.We have a lot of young guys on the team and they've done a great job this year."Head coach Dan Maciejczak has coached Higgs the past three years and thinks the world of his quarterback.
In fact, Maciejczak
played against Higgs
in the NIFL
prior to retiring and starting his coaching career.
..."I was playing nose guard and Albert was back there scrambling around.
wouldn't divulge his
age.The Aces Web site has his
date of birth as May 6, 1968, which would make him 38 years old.However, Higgs
said age has nothing to do with one's ability to play.
"I'm ageless," he
Sports were a blessing for Higgs
growing up in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he
was raised by his
mother and lived with her
"Santa Rosa was a nice town but we lived in the part that wasn't really nice," said Higgs
."During the summer they had a sports camp that lasted from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon and that's where I'd be.Sports were a salvation for me.Most of my friends I had when I was growing up are in prison or they're dead.Sports kept me out of trouble."Attending Montgomery High School, Higgs was a standout in football, baseball, basketball, and track.
Upon graduation he
attended Sonoma State in California and played football.After graduating he
was drafted by the Detroit Tigers to play baseball as a middle infielder, but after playing minor league ball at the AA level for three years he
gave it up.
"Playing in the minors was tough.There were hundreds of guys all wanting to make the pros but it's very difficult," he
said."I saw I wasn't going to be going anywhere soon so I decided to not waste my time."
The year was 1994, and at that point he
got the opportunity to play in NFL Europe.All totaled he
played three years in the league for Barcelona and Germany before returning to the states.
"It was a chance to play football and pursue the dream of playing in the NFL.Everybody wants to play in the NFL.Football was always my first love and so I pursued it," he
...Higgs is a scratch golfer and meticulously works to improve his game.
"When you pound balls for hours at a time and work on certain shots you know you're hooked," he
said,While golf slowly worked its way into Higgs' life he continued to play football, playing in the Professional Indoor Football League before joining the National Indoor Football League in 2000.He
played for Boise that year and then went to Utah in 2001.He
played for Billings in 2002 and 2003, where he
first began playing for Maciejczak
.They've been a matched pair ever since.
"We've been together and know each other very well.I've always taken care of the offense and he takes care of the defense," said Higgs, who has always been Maciejczak's offensive coordinator wherever they've been.
After the 2003 season the twosome left Billings for Myrtle Beach and the Stingrays.It was great for Higgs' golf game, but the football team wasn't very good.They went back to Billings and finished out the 2004 season, and then went to Everett, Wash., for 2005 where Higgs
teamed to lead the squad to a 14-0 regular season mark.
then came to Rapid City with his
old boss to start the franchise here.
never wanted to leave Rapid City, but at the time he
had to make a decision.
is savoring the opportunity to go all the way this year.
"After everything we've been through this year, how sweet would it be to win the whole thing?"he
asked with a laugh.