The Pride's only loss was to the ABN Bulls, of Texas, who won the championship.
Many of the players and coaches on the Ormond Beach Pride’s 12-and-under football team have been together for years. Many have grown up playing together, some since they were 5 years old. Coaches Dennis King and Shovon Patton have led them for the majority of those seasons.
"Ormond is always underrated."
DENNIS KING, Ormond Pride football coach
The group first made the national stage as part of the Flagler Warriors’ 10-and-under team, qualifying for the 2017 national tournament in Kissimmee, where they defeated a team from Jacksonville to finish in third place.
Now playing for the Pride, the group qualified for the national tournament, which was held in Plant City in early December, yet again.
“It was like deja vu all over again,” said Patton, an assistant coach for the Pride who was also on staff for the Flagler Warriors’ national appearance two years ago. “It was a great experience to watch the kids grow as individuals and as a family and to reach another plateau in their development.”
The Pride faced three teams in the tournament, which is put together by the United Youth Football League. The Pride lost their opening game to the ABN Bulls, of Texas, 33-0. The Bulls went on to win the championship. The Pride bounced back with a 12-8 victory over Immokalee and closed with a 12-6 victory over the Hill Butler Giants, of New York.
Several Ormond players
The Pride were coming off of a two-week break, including Thanksgiving break, when they faced the Bulls, which may have been a factor in their lopsided loss.
“I think it had something to do with it,” said Patton, whose son is a defensive back for Ormond. “But they’re a solid group of kids. I see them playing together for a long time. Their skills set is pretty high. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t do well at the high school level.”
King, who has been coaching youth football for the past 10 years, just wants his players to always cherish the experience.
“It’s an experience that the kids will never forget,” said King, the team's head coach. “To me as a coach, it means a lot. It’s a very memorable thing.”