HARVEY, Ill. - The Chicago area is buzzing with excitement as communities rally behind the remarkable success of two youth football teams.
There are the Dixmoor Vikings of Thornton Township High School, and then the Robbins Eagles.
With an impressive record of over 27 wins this season, the Vikings are gearing up for a national showdown at the prestigious Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida, next month.
The coaches attribute their success to the players' dedicated efforts, both mentally and physically. Representing more than a dozen suburban communities, the Dixmoor Vikings stand out not only for their athletic prowess but also for their academic achievements. Every player on the team maintains an honor roll status with a minimum GPA of 3.2, opening doors to scholarships and various opportunities.
"We’re not even asking them to do it. They’re just doing it," said Dwayne Tyson, Vikings founder and head coach.
Their first championship game in Florida is scheduled for December 3.
Meanwhile, the Eagles secured their place in the American Youth Football League Championship – following in great footsteps, as NBA superstar Dwayne Wade was also an Eagle.
Brittney Jackson has two sons on the team and said, "most kids in their youth career never get a chance to win or travel to another state."
Collectively, players from both the Vikings and Eagles come from more than a dozen towns throughout the state. Some of them have faced various hardships, like Derrick Thomas whose mother died in September.
Both teams are now soliciting donations to cover airfare, lodging and food.
"These boys are definitely under good leadership with the coaches. They’re really about education, making sure that’s first and football second," said Vikings parent Taneshia Mosely.
Those interested in contributing to the Vikings can do so through the team's GoFundMe page or by contacting Coach Dwayne Tyson at (708)-439-2920. For Eagles donation information and further inquiries, please contact head coach Justin Harris at 708-663-8915.