These “Mitey Mites” were the first to represent Manchester Youth Football in a national championship in the team's 20-year existence; and they were in jeopardy of becoming the first to be postponed.
The Manchester Youth Football team, consisting of 8 and 9 year olds, had a stellar, 10-0, undefeated 2012 season, advancing them to the national championships in Orlando, Fla.
Then, Hurricane Sandy came and went. These children and their families had trees fall on their on houses, dealt with power out for weeks and saw their famiies lose their jobs and income because of a storm-forced work stoppage.
Enter Jersey Coast Academy's Jaguars, an area football team that plays at the junior college level, which stepped in with its own verson of a "safety."
Jersey Coast Academy coordinated an the effort to help over 3,000 victims displaced from Seaside Heights, then rescheduled a game with Globe Junior College that benefited the youth football team.
"The game had to be played so that they could donate all proceeds to help these kids get to Florida and play that championship game," the academy sad in a release. "Jersey Coast Academy empowers their student athletes by giving back to the community and helping others in need to develop their character through example.
The game almost didn't happen, anyway. One coach, Reggie Beard, saw his family displaced and was not available,
But failing to follow through would have nullified JCA’s "no student-athlete-left-behind" mission, which provides a second chance for student athletes.
"Too many top level athletes in New Jersey fall through the cracks in striving to obtain the best path for their future," the academy said. "Some discontinue their education missing the chance to grow and develop to their potential."
Scholarship opportunities lost after high school are now attainable. The JCA says it is driven to support these athletes - not just on the field, but in the classroom as well as life itself.
For more information, please visit the website at www.jerseycoastacademy.org.