Local boys face top competition with Team Colorado
This is the biggest stage in sixth-grade football, and a trio of local youth football players are ready for the big time.
The players are part of Team Colorado, an all-star team of sixth-grade football players.
Carson Lee, Aden Dangler and Ty Dangler will be playing with Team Colorado this weekend in the quarterfinals of the Football University National Championship in Sacramento, Calif.
Team Colorado earned its ticket to Sacramento with a pair of shutout wins, defeating a Phoenix team 29-0, then winning the regional championship with a 24-0 victory over a Las Vegas team.
Shane Lee, Carson’s father, said the three players were invited to try out and won spots on the team. Earning a place on an all-star team was a thrill for the three players.
“I was very excited,” Aden Dangler said. “I always wanted to play on a traveling team.”
“It was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever felt,” Carson Lee said about how he felt when he made the team.
If the Colorado team wins on Saturday and Sunday, it will advance to the national championship semifinals in San Antonio, Texas, in early January. The tournament started with 64 teams, and now Team Colorado is in the final 16.
Carson plays center and nose guard, Aden plays quarterback and defensive end, and Ty plays wide receiver and linebacker.
Shane Lee said he first heard about the team from former state senator and Grand Junction High School and Colorado Mesa University graduate Josh Penry, who now lives in Centennial. Penry’s son, Chase, is on the team.
The team, which has 28 players, is made up predominantly of players from the Denver-area, and it has some of the best sixth-grade players from Colorado, Shane Lee said.
“It’s a lot more challenging,” Ty said about the competition. “There are a lot more better players.”
Shane Lee, who was on the 1988 Grand Junction High School state title team, said it’s a great opportunity for the three to play for and against a high level of competition.
“It’s going to make me a better player and make me work harder,” Carson said.
Aden agreed, adding, “I know I’m going to have to get better and improve.”
All three players said it was a little nerve-racking at first, but after the two big wins, they are just looking to keep getting better.
“It gives us a lot of motivation,” Ty said. “I think we have a good team.”
Carson, who is 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds, has always been one the biggest players on his teams. Now he has to play against players who are bigger than him.
They all say it’s been fun to see how they match up against players from other all-star teams.
The players had been traveling to Denver every weekend to practice with Team Colorado.
The Dangler brothers helped lead the Redlands Chargers to a 40-16 win over the West Raiders in October’s sixth-grade Mesa County Junior Football Association championship game. Carson played for the Raiders.
For more information about the Football University program, go to http://www.fbunc.com.