Youth football team just shy of goal to compete in national championship

Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 4:33 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2017 at 12:23 PM EST
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PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A Petersburg-area youth football team is calling on the community to help them get to a national championship game next month.

NBC12 told you about the Tri-City Flames earlier this year when the team first formed to give young boys a positive outlet. They never knew it would result in qualifying to compete nationally.

"Should we even try?" That's the question organizers asked themselves when they learned the team qualified to participate in the national championship in Florida. That's because they knew money could get in the way. They quickly realized, they've come too far to give up now.

Kevin Williams believes joining the Tri-City Flames was one of the best decisions he's made.

"Everyone here is like family," said the 13-year-old.

The family of 12-year-olds to 14-year-olds won big this month at the State championship in Williamsburg - beating the very team the Flames lost against in their first game of the season.

"We went through a lot. Our first game we lost, and we built our way back up," said teammate Justin Taylor.

For him, this is more than a game.

"It teaches you discipline and respect, and how to work hard," he said.

Now he's hoping to get the opportunity to work even harder next month. The team qualified to compete for the National Championship in Florida.

"That's just like the World Series or Super Bowl. It comes down to one, and we hope to be that one," said Assistant Coach Anthony Briggs.

It's hope that could be shattered due to finances. It will take thousands of dollars for travel.

As of Thanksgiving, the team was just about $500 shy of its $5,000 goal! Help them reach their goal here.

"We're trying to put that in the back of our minds right now. We're thinking, with the help of our city and our community, we know we can get there," Briggs said.

In order to come back winners, they have to first get there.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to Florida," Williams said.

They're calling on you to help a team fulfill a big dream.

"It means a lot," Williams added.

There's no time to wait. The big game is in just a matter of weeks. The Tri-City Flames have created a GoFundMe page here.

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