Naples, FL— The nation’s most exciting National Championship tournament in youth football reaches its climax today in Southwest Florida. Tweleve all-star based middle school teams have assembled in Naples to battle for the right to be called national champions. The tournament, which begins with nearly 64 teams in each the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bracket has drawn down to the final four in each grade.
Today’s match ups are as follows, here’s a preview:
Broward County vs. Indiana:
This match up favors the team from South Florida (Broward). Indiana as an FBU National Championship program has faired well over the past few years, putting a finalist into the tournament each of the past two years with the 8th grade team representing in 2014 and the 6th graders this year. With that said, the Broward County team should roll in this match up. But Indiana is here for good reason, so it will be one to watch.
North Texas vs. Seattle, Washington:
The North Texas program is made up predominately of athletes from the Dallas area and depending on the year, can sometimes attract kids from Oklahoma. Seattle is a program that has had a ton of success in this tournament, playing a role in the initial final four in 8th grade. We don’t think it will be enough, particularly with the time change for Seattle as the game will feel like it’s being played at 7AM in the morning for that team.
Broward County vs. Maryland:
In 2012, team South Florida played Maryland in San Antonio Texas in the inaugural year of a 7th grade final. This is a rematch, many years later and things have changed in both regions. The first noticeable difference is south Florida is now featuring unlimited weight players in this tournament, matching what is done on the East Coast. The second noticeable difference is the weather, today’s game will be played with temps around 70 degrees. Perfect for South Florida. Team Maryland benefited from sub 30 degree temps in 2012. This 2015 match up pits the defending runner ups in Broward against a strong Maryland team that got to the finals in 2013. This game will have a championship like feel. The winner will likely be the favorite to win it all.
Seattle, Washington vs. Kansas City, Mo
This game is going to be a contest that is worth keeping an eye on. Kansas City is a last moment invite after losing their regional final to Dallas Ft. Worth and later it was determined that Dallas had an ineligible player. The player was actually in 8th grade (though he was age qualified). Nevertheless, expect Kansas City to play with house money and be excited to be playing in Naples for the championship. Seattle, under the direction of Sam Adams should be stout. Coach Adams has been touting his 7th graders as the best and wants respect for Northwest Football. Should he win, he’ll definitely have earned it without question.
Maryland vs. GFL (North Georgia)
Ken Burge, the godfather of the FBU National Championship leads his GFL team into the finals for the third time in five years. After losing last year in heart breaking fashion to Broward County, he’s out for redemption. Burge will have to face Terrence Bryd, a championship winner in his own right in this tournament. He won in 2012 with his 7th grade team. He’s come up short he past two season but is back again to make a championship run. The this the first match up ever between two coaches who have won the tournament in the Semis in FBU National Championship History.
Las Vegas vs. North Texas
Team Las Vegas has been strong in this tournament the past two seasons, last season they fell just short of a trip to Naples, this year they got out clean from the West. They’ll face the Texas giant, North Texas and this should be a tremendous contest.