The event featured 64 teams from the United States and Canada playing in three divisions based on grade level.
Local players on the Georgia sixth-grade team were Bailey Cannady of the Cherokee Junior Warriors and John Williams of the Creekview Junior Grizzlies.
The eighth-grade Georgia team included Drue Lewis, Cameron Gales, and Noah Sherburn of the Sequoyah Junior Chiefs and Harrison Markham of the Woodstock Junior Wolverines.
The six local players were selected for their respective teams from a group of more than 12,000 players who tried out. Only 6,000 athletes were invited to join an all-star teams for their respective regions or states.
The sixth-grade team made it to the finals before falling to a team from North Texas.
Still, the players were able to take away some great experiences.
“Losing stinks, but winning second place despite being cramped on a charter bus for a long 17 hours was a success,” said Williams, a defensive end. “It was nice meeting and competing players from all over the country, but the experience and bonding with his teammates was the best part.”
Williams and Cannady both have gotten better from this experience and said that they are better players going into seventh grade.
Offensive line coach Casey Cannady, Bailey’s father, shares the same feelings. The elder Cannady said he was coaching in his second championship game in the Alamodome.
“No matter what the level, whether it is a local or national level, it’s awesome to play for a championship, and I am grateful,” he said. “Both Bailey and John played great, and if we hadn’t beaten ourselves in the finals, we would be champions.”
The eighth-grade team, however, finished the tournament as national champions, beat a Seattle team 31-0 in the finals.