Northeast High is undergoing a name change. It's out with the Vikings and in with the Buccaneers. Just for a summer break. Northeast will represent the Bucs in the NFL's National 7-on-7 tournament in Cleveland.
"I'm excited, personally, but I'm really excited for the kids," said Northeast High Coach Mike Jalazo. "Some of these kids have never left the state of Florida. To go win two tournaments like we did, the way we did, because we lost a game in both tournaments, so we had to come up and beat somebody twice – twice. So it was really neat and the kids bonded. They're fired up, so we're really excited to be able to do that."
Northeast will be airing it out against the nation's best 31 other teams. Northeast won six straight games to earn the all-expenses paid trip.
For a lot of these players, their dream is playing in the NFL and their hometown Bucs. They'll get a taste of what it's like. The games will be held at the Cleveland Browns training facility, with the title game played in the Brown's stadium.
"We're really thankful and grateful," said Northeast quarterback Ryan Davis. "We get to represent our Bucs and our home team. It's everyone's dream come true to represent an NFL team. That's something we are looking forward to doing."
"I think the coaches to some extent are a little more fired up than the kids even," said Jalazo. "We are going to be up in Cleveland, and I've been told that we are going to be able to get a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and do some stuff like that. This is the 'League'. When they talk about defending the "Shield," we're able to do that here locally. So we take a lot of pride in that and our kids are really fired up on that."
This is a trip of a lifetime for these teenagers. The only thing that could top it is to return home with the 7-on-7 Super Bowl title.
"If we were to come out with the championship there," said Jalazo, "What a great honor that would be. Our kids are going to fight like they never have fought before. We are real excited and we are going to give our best shot at it."
The Northeast Vikings, ah, I mean Bucs, take to the air on July 11.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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