GRAFTON—The North Central Panthers All-Star travel football team, featuring coaches and players from Grafton, Clarksburg, South Harrison, Buckhannon, Elkins, Bridgeport, and Fairmont, was recently invited to the World Youth Football Championship in Canton, Ohio from December 5th-8th for their recent performances in statewide events.
Highlights and stats of the Panthers were sent in by tournament directors, and for their hard work and sportsmanship, the Panthers were awarded an invite to the championship games in Canton next month.
The U10 team was assembled three years ago, and over the past two years have won the West Virginia Showdown at the Greenbrier Resort, the Ice Bowl in Charleston, and most recently, the Turkey Bowl in Logan.
At the WV Showdown, the Panthers outscored their opponents by a combined total of 74-0, while just last week at the Turkey Bowl they outscored their opponents 62-6, to win yet another championship.
Players from Grafton who are members of the team include #5 Kaden Keener, #30 Josh McIe, #31 Riley Humphries, and #99 Cameron Poling.
On the sidelines for the North Central coaches will be Grafton’s Hartsel Keener, who is grateful for the opportunity that his team has been given.
“I’m extremely proud of our Grafton boys and can’t wait to play on the biggest stage of youth football,” said Keener. “This tournament is considered the Little League World Series of football and we are ready.”
Other coaches for North Central include Anthony Kirk, Shane Fordyce, and Justin Chamberlain (Clarksburg), Jonathan Hatfield (South Harrison), and Robert Murphy (Bridgeport).
Opening ceremonies will be held on December 5th while the games will be played on December 6th and December 7th. The championship game will take place on December 8th at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s $889 million-dollar world class football complex and be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.
Other events which are scheduled to take place throughout the week are National Media Day which will include press conferences from each team, a Bracketology Show which experts break down every team, and a gold jacket presentation which will include a speech from a current Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these boys to showcase their hard work and dedication to the game,” added Keener. “These opportunities don’t come around often so we are excited to get there and represent our community and state.”