Select Michigan Panthers players visited the Downtown Boxing Gym on a sunny Friday as the team got set to open the 2024 United Football League season at Ford Field against the St. Louis Battlehawks – and it looks like the visit brought the team good luck. The Panthers started their UFL season in dramatic fashion, hitting a 64-yard field goal with seconds to win for a final score of 18-16 in their home opener.

The day before the big game, quarterback Brian Lewerke, safety Corrion Ballard, linebacker Noah Dawkins and offensive lineman Ryan Nelson warmed up with DBG students on our multi-sport field and helped get the young fans excited about the new season.

The United Football League (UFL) is the premier spring football platform, formed by the merging of the XFL and USFL in 2024. The UFL has eight teams in Arlington (TX), Birmingham (AL), Detroit (MI), Houston (TX), San Antonio (TX), Memphis (TN), St. Louis (MO), and Washington D.C. The pros seemed impressed as our students made some great plays. The fun moved from the multi-sport field onto our basketball court where there were plenty of impressive shots and smiles to go around.

At DBG, sports sampling provides an outlet after a long day of school and helps our students stay in shape. It also serves as an icebreaker to a bigger conversation.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than a lifetime of questioning,” says DBG founder and CEO Khali Sweeney. “Once we’re playing and having fun together whether it’s on the field, on the court, in the ring, or playing chess, our students open up and we can have deeper conversations that enable us to determine their unique needs and ultimately make programming decisions that help address those needs.”

Saturday’s winning game at Ford Field was the first of five home games for the Michigan Panthers this season. Click here for the full schedule, tickets, and more. Go Panthers and thank you for visiting DBG!