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Local youth football team gears up for trip to Vegas

The Brazos Gators youth football team is preparing for a championship run in Las Vegas in mid-January.
Local youth football team gears up for trip to Vegas
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 05, 2024

WACO, Texas — The Brazos Gators youth football team is championship hungry as they travel to Vegas on Jan. 11 for the AAU West Coast Football National.

This group of about 70 athletes enjoys this league, while not only sharpening their football skills, but learning life lessons and gaining experience along the way.


Through the glow of headlights from vehicles belonging to parents and supporters, the Brazos Gators youth football team is gearing up for the championship stage next week.

“We’re ready to go, we’re ready to play,” said 10U head football coach, Jeffrey Smith.

With close to 70 players from the area, these coaches give everything to these kids to create an experience they’ll never forget.

“You have a lot of inner-city kids to where we’re giving back to the community as far as myself and the other coaches out here, to where a lot of us didn’t have coaches like myself or other coaches growing up," Coach Smith said.

"Just to do things with kids, to have them smile, enjoy what they’re doing — that’s what gets me."

Everyone is happy to be on a field any chance they can get, to get better at their sport and make themselves better overall.

“I just want to bring a championship back to Waco, because we lost in the semi-finals last year,” said 10U football player, Demond Wilson.

“What’s it going to take to bring it back?” 25 News' Heather Healy asked.

“Hard work,” Wilson said.

“Everyone doesn’t get to do this, but it’s special when you can," said 12U football player, Hayden Stoglin.

"You have to collect all that and make sure you soak that in."

“It’s special,” said 6U football player Ayden, Smith.

“It’s special! Why is it special?” Healy asked.

“Because we work hard,” Ayden said.

Some use the time on the field as an escape, like 10U player Anthony Campos, who as you may remember, lost everything in a fire just a few months ago.

“This keeps me happy," Campos said.

"They’re almost done with building everything too, and, I just miss my house."

Perseverance and a great support system is key to pushing through the hardships and score on the other side.

“To get to where they got this year, man, it was a blessing just to see their faces and get to be able to work with these guys,” said 8U head football coach, Arlanders Estelle.

These local players are ready to chomp the competition in Vegas.