RICHMOND, Va. -- All season long, the Southside Ducks have been making their mark on the gridiron. They’ve been steamrolling anyone and anything standing in the way of this championship trophy, which is now proudly displayed at their Southside Community Center home.
“It felt like a dream when it first happened,” seventh-grader Johnnie Washington, III said.
He’s still on cloud nine. Washington and his teammates are now all business, ready to clinch the championship in California. The team earned a spot in a tournament hosted by rapper Snoop Doggy Dog.
“You've got to represent where you come from. When I’m on the field, I’m worried about doing my job and them doing theirs, so we can win,” Washington said.
Southside Community Center supervisor and coach Earl Hughes wants the twenty-seven players to only worry about giving their all on the field.
Hughes said he’s proud and excited to know the players will have a chance to play against the best in the country. “That’s what they need to know. That they can compete on different levels,” Hughes explained.
He and his team of coaches and parents are working around the clock to make sure all the expenses for the five day trip to Los Angeles are covered. Hughes said they want to make sure once the kids get there, that they will have money to eat and take part in some sightseeing activities.
“Most of the kids come from the inner city and have parents who just don’t have the means. I know we will take 27 kids and half of them won’t have spending money," said Hughes. "Now they get a chance to go to California and I think that’s a great chance for these kids. When we get there, we’d like to take them out a few places. To the movies or maybe even Disneyland. We’ve even been contacting some shows out there so maybe they can go to a TV show.”
Hughes is praying the team can reach their $6,000 goal. He says they also hope they raise enough to be able to pay for a few parents to go on the trip. Having extra chaperones would definitely come in handy, Hughes said.
They’re all hoping the community will help and donate to their “The Road to Cali” GoFundMe page and show the players that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.
“As a city, we need to rally together for these kids and for the community. Because we always say we are about the kids. This is a chance to step up,” Hughes added.
He went on to say that Parks and Recs took care of a lot of the cost.
“But we want them to go to California feeling a certain way, acting a certain way. As a city, we need to rally together for these kids and for the community. We always say we are about the kids. This is a chance to step up,” Hughes said.
The Southside Ducks are set to fly out to California on December 11 and return on December 16. Donations can also be made at the Southside Community Center on Old Warwick Road.
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