By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 10, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Before game-winning touchdowns, the hard work starts on the practice field.
"The process along the way was pretty competitive,” said Chaires Eagles coach Tremaine Hughes.
The competition culminated on the gridiron in central Florida, where the Chaires Eagles competed in the 2018 National Pop Warner Championship game. There were more than 60 teams from eight regions.
"They played with their heart,” said coach Hughes.
Tremaine Hughes Jr. is the quarterback for the team.
“I felt good after all of our hard work we did over the summer and practice and bear crawls and all that stuff, it really paid off,” he said.
"I can't even explain it to you. We did what we had to do and we won," said Terrell Copeland, wide receiver and cornerback for the Eagles.
The team won in blowout fashion, 34-6, against a team from North Carolina. Last year, they were eliminated in the regional championship game.
The team says after a loss like that, coming back to win it all this year meant the most to them. Coach Hughes explained that helping these 10 to 12 year olds make it to a stage like this is incredible but, even more importantly, is the life lessons and the friendships gained.
"We talked to the kids about understanding the time and the moment. This may be the last time you play football, so when you're out there give it everything you have,” said Coach Hughes.
Jimichael Copeland is a parent of one of the players. He says there’s sacrifice for parents, too, but they have to model the commitment that they want their children to have, and that’s what makes it worth it in the end.
"As a father to see him on a team that's competing at this level and him putting in the effort and we're getting the results that we're looking for, it's amazing,” Jimichael said.
An amazing moment this team said wouldn't be possible without parents and the community.