While no Palm Beach County high school football team has been able to win a state championship in 2021, a youth football team has done the job on the national stage.
The 10U Palm Beach Gardens Gators beat the Northampton, Pa. Indians 34-0 on Dec. 10 in Orlando to win their third Pop Warner Super Bowl in four years.
The Gators also beat Portage (Indiana) and West Haven in the playoffs, overtaking them 62-0 to advance to the championship.
“They were just hungry. The players who lost [last year] I didn’t want to lose anymore, ”said Gators head coach William Fleuridor. “Our captains have stepped up. Our line is what got us to the championship, and they stepped up. “
Fleuridor said the team’s chemistry improved as they got closer to the pitch by going to church together, hosting barbecues and forging “a fellowship” throughout the day. ‘year.
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“Thanksgiving was a highlight for us because some of the kids were sad not to have a Thanksgiving with their families, but the parents brought food… and everyone sat down to eat together, and I thought it was a turning point.
“I explain to them all the time that it’s more than football. I don’t coach to win, I coach for life. I want to be invited to weddings, I want to be there when you buy your first house, I want to see your children.
According to Fleuridor, it took a while for the kids to establish that relationship with each other after the 2020 football season was canceled due to the corona virus pandemic. While some players teamed up with the Jupiter Mustangs to compete in a different area, others didn’t want to play in a different city.
Together again in 2021, the Gators were 17-0 with 14 shutouts.
The Gators are looking to repeat in next year’s Super Bowl, but will first enjoy their championship victory with a trip to Universal Studios while they’re already in Orlando.