ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The Freeway League Super Bowl champions are headed for suburban Pittsburgh to play in a regional competition later this month leading to the World Youth Football Championship in December at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
The 12 and under team representing the Buckeye Midget Football League recently finished the season 9-1 and won the Super Bowl championship.
Each team must raise a $895 fee to participate in the regional and 20 teams are accepted in each, said Buddy Walters, a regional representative for the hall of fame.
Walters came to Corlew Field on Saturday afternoon to present the team with a "golden key" as they head to Cranberry, Pennsylvania for competition in two weeks.
He said teams are chosen through a process that includes self nomination, scouting and word of mouth.
"We have 11 different regions," he said of competition that occurs around the country in late November leading to the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Football Championship, which is scheduled for Dec. 7 to 15 in Canton.
Coach R.J. Baldwin said the league has already raised the registration fee and is moving steadily ahead on the needed money to pay for traveling expenses.
Walters said the program is an attempt to help youth get excited about the sport and teach them to play the game correctly.
"Every regional winner will be in Canton," Walters said.
He said there are about 12 different age group divisions that will compete and the Buckeye team is in the 12 and under division.
He added there are also international teams participating in the tournament.
The tournament serves to show off the growing complex surrounding the hall of fame that will eventually include $880 million in development.
"It will be the mecca of youth football," Walters said
Walters said the regional winners heading to Canton will meet former professional football players. He said the winning team will be honored with a plaque that will be permanently displayed in the youth division of the hall of fame.