Longmont Flag Football Team Represents Broncos in National Tournament at Pro Bowl
You can add the Longmont Broncos, an under-15 team in the We Sport U NFL Flag Football League, to the list of Broncos invited to th e NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla.,at the end of the month.
Much as is the case for their professional role models, the Jan. 27 trip is not just a vacation. It’s a chance to represent Colorado in the NFL’s Flag Football National Championship. Thursday night, the team of 11 13 and 14-year-olds from the St. Vrain Valley School District even got to practice in the Pat Bowlen Training Field at the Broncos training facility at Dove Valley.
While the NFL is paying for room accommodations and tickets to the Pro Bowl for all 32 teams that were invited, should the Longmont Broncos make it to the finals, they’ll also have the opportunity to play in front of the 65,000 fans at Camping World Stadium directly before the Pro Bowl kicks off.
Winning, however, would merely be the icing on the cake for many of them.
“It’s a cool experience to have with my friends, I’ve never done anything like this before.” Sean Medlock, a 13-year old at Mead Middle School, said. “Hopefully we can win, but mostly I just want to have fun,”
This even-tempered outlook might seem a bit unusual for a middle schooler who’s playing football on the Broncos practice field as he prepares for a tournament at the Pro Bowl. But this relaxed, fun-loving attitude is exactly what got them here.
The team itself was only assembled a few months ago, and despite the fact they go to different schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District, all of the players said they were able to coalesce as a team very quickly thanks to their collective selflessness.
“We’re not the biggest or necessarily the fastest, but we ’ve bonded together and had that chemistry,” Aidan Helme, a 13-year old at Altona Middle School, said. “We know how fast we are and what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.”
This bond carried the Longmont Broncos to four straight victories in the National Flag Football Battle of the Rockies in Aurora. They lost the final game, which technically meant they didn’t qualify for the Broncos Invitational Tournament and lost their shot at the Pro Bowl.
But after another team had to drop out, the Longmont Broncos were awarded a last-minute invite, due to their performance and sportsmanship during the Battle for the Rockies.
They would not miss their second opportunity, winning the championship game by 15 points, despite being down 24 to 14 at the half.
“It was so exciting I actually hugged my brother (Robert, the team’s junior coach), which we like never do,” Ryan Burke, a 14-year old freshman at Skyline High School, said. “I feel like these guys are all my best friends now, even though I didn’t even know a lot of them a few months ago. So I think we can win it in Florida.”
The parents give a lot of the credit to coach Tim Test.
“He’s really special,” said Leona Lowrie, the grandmother of Easton Lowrie, a 13-year old at Flagstaff Academy, whowas on the sidelines in Dove Valley Thursday night to watch his practice. “He builds their confidence so they see themselves as winners. And at this age that’s what molds the person.”
Having personally recruited each player, Test credits the team’s success to its selfless character.
“My motto is T-E-A-M, together everyone accomplishes more,” he said. “I truly believe that is the secret to our success. We have selfless players who are there for each other, who know that no one is perfect and that one person’s strengths pick up another’s weaknesses.
It allows us to attack defenses in a lot of different ways. You may think Andrew Muncy (a 14-year old freshman at Skyline High School), who’s 6 feet tall, might be our guy to watch, but then Sean makes a big play with his speed or vice versa.”
John Spina: 303-473-1389, email@example.com or twitter.com/jsspina24