After rough start, Pop Warner team heads to national championship

Grand Park Trojans football team had equipment stolen in July


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Pop Warner football team from Jacksonville's Northside is headed to a national championship game in Orlando this weekend after a rough start to its season.

News4Jax first told you about the Grand Park Trojans in July when the team's storage rooms were vandalized. Hundreds of dollars worth of equipment was stolen, but corporations like The Athlete's Foot and Academy Sports stepped in, giving the players new equipment and saving its season.

ICYMI: Grand Park Athletic Association vandalized, burglarized

Cal Jones, the team's head coach, says his players started off with no helmets or shoulder pads.

"We were having to get new stuff, new helmets and basically start all over again," Jones said. "It was just hit and miss here, hit and miss there, but we were able to overcome everything."

Jones said the team kept going despite the setback. Now, they're practicing for a national championship -- a game they never predicting to play in.

Lakeisha Burroughs is a parent of a Trojan's player. She's thrilled at how the season turned out for the team and her son.

"To see him stand firm, to be excited, to represent not just Grand Park, but to represent Jacksonville," Burroughs said.

A team that started the season as victims is now ending its season victorious.

The Trojans are raising funds for their trip to the national championship where they will play at Disney World and be featured on ESPN. They've set up a donation account online.