This weekend, all the areas football teams won big, the Baltimore Ravens over the Detroit Lions, 48-3, and the Washington Redskins over the Oakland Raiders, 34-13. But either team won bigger than the youths of the proud state of Maryland as championship contending teams played for state titles where there were no losers.
For the past two weekends, teams from around Maryland traveled to neutral sites at Mergenthaler Vocational Tech High School (Baltimore) for Division IV, Good Counsel High School for Division II and III and M&T Bank Stadium (home of the Ravens) for Division I championship games. The turn outs for all the games were great, especially the atmosphere.
All the kids that played received packages from the Maryland Youth Football sponsor, Under Armour, after each game. Thanks to Directors of Maryland Youth Football, Steve Brown and Brandon Dunn, this event probably would have gone unnoticed or ultimately, would not have happened. “Steve Brown and I took over and managed the business and we expanded the business into two camps, full contact camps and combines,” said Dunn with such joy. “We partnered up with Under Armour this year. It’s all very new, it’s growing and it’s very, very exciting.”
On Saturday morning as hundreds of players, coaches, parents, and friends walked into the doors of M&T Bank Stadium, the excitement of many were stronger than the normal crowd on Sundays because their children were running and hitting on the turf that the big boys play on. Having the Ravens as a sponsor, as well, is huge because despite being a billion dollar corporation, it’s great to know that they are paying attention and they care. “The Ravens are amazing,” said Dunn. “It’s amazing to be partnered with them, they follow our website throughout the year, they allowed us to use this beautiful stadium for all the different age groups for the championships, and it’s an amazing experience for the parents and players as well.”
One of the victors, the Pikeville Wildcats 7-9 team won for their age group on Saturday and had one of the largest supporting groups there with some extremely, excited parents in attendance. “This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said Dave Shears, father of D’Angelo Shears (#4) who plays cornerback and backup quarterback. “It’s called team work, that makes a dream work and we will do it again next year. Don’t deny Pikesville, man – it’s unbelievable baby.” The Wildcats head coach Mike Savage who had a Gatorade bath was excited for his boys as well and recognize what the importance football can bring. “The kids worked hard and we push them because our practices are like high school practices,” said Savage. “Discipline is a must, discipline football on the field and off the field and good sportsmanship. That’s what I love to see out of them.”
Congratulations to Team Holy Dirt program of the 6-8, 7-9 and 9-11 age groups who won the state title on Sunday. This season was their first year of existence for Team Holy Dirt and the program is the only unit that does not present a local area, which was started by local entrepreneur Duncan Anderson. “We started this season not knowing what was around the corner or what tomorrow holds,” said Anderson, emotionally. “I just knew what God told me to do.”
This is the sixth year for the Maryland Youth Football, as an organization, and is on a path to greatness, which will eventually be noticed nationwide. As of right now, the nation is not their goal, but to promote Maryland’s youth first and then beyond. “The plan is to move it to different states and with Under Armour being with us now, we probably have better resources to probably do that and maybe push it out nationwide,” said Dunn. “But right now we are focused on making Maryland Youth Football the best it can be.”
Congratulations to all the parents, coaches and kids who participated and the programs that don’t make it to the championship games, you all are winners, as well. Now get some rest and do it against next year. “The kids, parents and coaches are amazing and it’s very rewarding overall to work with the kids,” said Dunn.
For more information about Maryland Youth Football, go to www.marylandyouthfootball.com