When his days playing football for New Mexico Highlands came to a close, Andy Endemann had no intention of hanging up his cleats.
The hulking (6-3, 305 lbs.) but good-natured Endemann stayed active, signing up to play rugby locally with the Vatos, a club that has over the years represented a way for many NMHU athletes to continue competitive sport beyond their years of intercollegiate eligibility.
With the advent of the Lone Star Football League, a Texas-based indoor football organization that launched in 2012, a new door opened for Endemann. He signed with the New Mexico Stars, the only team of the five LSFL franchises situated outside of Texas, and played with them this past season, which ran from mid-March to early July.
“I enjoy playing with the Stars because all the guys are like brothers to me and the bond formed throughout the season is amazing,” Endemann said. “Playing for the Stars allowed me to stay close to home and meet awesome coaches who have inspired me in many ways.The excitement for being a professional football player is great. I’m also blessed to still play football and doing what I love to and get paid for it.”
Doing what he loves is part of the fuel that kept him going this past season, when he found himself juggling the responsibilities of new fatherhood, his jobs, and making a regular commute from Las Vegas to Rio Rancho, as well as taking on trips to Texas. His son Sa’Aga — named in honor of his father — was born in April, right in the middle of the LSFL season. Endemann was there for his son’s birth, making a trip to Rio Rancho hours later to help his team.
“Now that I have a family to support and spend time with on top of football and rugby, it makes it that much more challenging to find time for everything,” Endemann said. “But with the support and encouragement of my fiancee Lisa, my son Sa’Aga and friends, family and training partners like Andrew Lavea and Keoni Gogue, and my work at Dick’s Liquor for giving me time and being flexible with my work schedule for practice and games, I am able to continue doing what I love doing. Thank God too for the talent and blessings.”
That talent has been on display in recent weeks.
Endemann recently was honored as the Lone Star’s Defensive Player of the Week in Week 16 after making two and a half tackles for loss — specifically two and a half sacks for 11 yards — and returning a fumble eight yards for a touchdown in an 89-42 victory vs. San Angelo on July 1 in the season finale.
Playing on the defensive line, Endemann finished the season with a total of seven solo tackles, six assisted tackles, five for a combined loss of 23 yards; three quarterback sacks for 16 yards; and one fumble return for eight yards. He registered stats in five of the Stars’ games.
As a team, the Stars went 6-7 overall, with three of their losses coming against the eventual LSFL champion Amarillo Venom. New Mexico made the postseason playoffs but lost a close one to the Laredo Rattlesnakes by a 61-56 tally.
Laredo went on to lose to Amarillo by the slimmest of margins, 70-69 on July 13.
The Stars, who play their home games at Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star Center, have drawn an average of approximately 2,400 fans, according to the league.
Endemann said he hopes to keep bringing his athletic abilities, team play and dedication to both the Stars and the Vatos for the forseeable future. “I have always had a passion for the game,” he said, “and I plan on continue playing for as long as my body allows me to. During offseason I plan on staying fit and active playing rugby.”