In the end of December, the Conshohocken Bears 7u, under 65-pound, football team was still playing — and winning — football games. Right before the winter break, the team traveled to Virginia and brought home a national title.
"It's exciting, because I've never won a National Championship before," said Donte Robinson, a Second Grader at Conshohocken Elementary School (CE).
The Bears played against teams from Maryland and North Carolina on their way to the National Prep Football Association's Eighth Annual Mid-Atlantic National Championship series in Richmond, Virginia. By winning the tournament, the players brought home individual medals, a team trophy and plenty of memories.
"My favorite part was making the interception," said Ky'leem Williams, a CE Second Grader whose favorite quarterback is Cam Newton.
"My favorite part was when we made the guy fumble and then got a touchdown," said CE Second Grader Yusef Coleman. "And when we won the final game."
The boys play tackle football and, despite being a smaller and younger team, have strategies to use against bigger players.
"You can't tackle high," said CE Second Grader Wyatte Strittmitter who enjoys playing defense. "I don't tackle on their hips, because sometimes they're really big."
"Our kids are small, but I saw that the passion and drive in these kids were far advanced," said Coach Kyle WIlliams. "They were educated. They were disciplined. They were above their age. I saw throughout the season that they were really good and beating teams, and we had to hold back some of their talent because of the league rules, which is understandable."
To give the boys an extra challenge and keep them active, Coach Williams added the tournament to the schedule. In the end, the team finished the season 15-1, scoring a combined 486 points — and they're going to continue training and improving heading into next season.
"We're going to play bigger and older guys, but we're going to keep pushing and work hard," said Yusef. "We just need to believe in ourselves."
In addition to the four players from Conshohocken Elementary School, Tristan Knight from Whitemarsh Elementary School also plays for the team. The rest of the Bears come largely from the Norristown area.
"Both regions together is beautiful," said Coach Williams looking at the future of the players. "When they get to high school, even though it's going to be competitive, it's going to be a brotherhood."