Bellwood Bulldogs will kick off new season, still raising money

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Bellwood Bulldogs will return to the gridiron after all!

For weeks, they've been worried about not coming up with enough money by today to pay league dues. But the community pulled together to help out the youth football team!

Opening the door to the equipment storage room is symbolic in many ways for Bellwood Bulldogs coach Dale Thompson.

"Look at that," said Thompson.

After weeks of uncertainty for parents and players.

"I thought we weren't going to be able to play," said six year old Dale Thompson, Jr.

The youth football team will kick off a new season marking 49 years for the Bellwood Athletic Association. It wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of so many.

"Just overwhelming the people who have just called me and sent a check," said Thompson.

Since our story first aired August 18th, the bulldogs have received about $4500 in donations, including $2,000 from the family of Corey Smith, the NFL star, with ties to Richmond, who was lost at sea during a tragic 2009 fishing trip.

They're now more than halfway to their goal of $8,000.

"We can make a partial payment," said Thompson.

Rival teams pitched in too.

"These are some of the helmets donated to us the other day by the Scott Association," said Thompson.

A well-received gift said Thompson who's also welcoming new players.

"We've almost doubled most of our teams since the first interview," said Thompson.

The Bulldogs were supposed to hit the gridiron on September 10th, then Irene blew into town and practices have been limited. Their start date was pushed back to September 17th.

"People haven't got enough practice you need so much time in your shoulder pads," said Thompson.

Thompson's 6-year-old son plays flag football for the Bulldogs.

"This one's going to be a little big," said Thompson.

For little Dale and his teammates, a door closing on their football dreams is no longer a threat.

"It's very heartwarming that people will do that nowadays," said Thompson.

The Bulldogs' first game is on the road. If you'd like to help out the team, call Coach Thompson at 437-2724.

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