Updated: Thursday, 04 Dec 2008, 12:07 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 04 Dec 2008, 12:06 AM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It wasn't looking good Wednesday afternoon, but a last-minute drive has raised enough money to send the Junior Bills to the "super bowl" of Pee Wee football.
It may be a basketball court they're practicing on, but the athletes are some of the best young football stars in western New York.
Head coach Larry Thompson said, "This summer and this spring they worked very hard to get to this point."
That hard work has paid off, 27 of the Buffalo Pop Warner players are heading to the national championship in Florida. It's a dream for the players that almost didn't happen. As of Wednesday morning, they still needed 14,000 dollars to go on the trip.
Bills Pop Warner President Keon Williams said, "This may be the first and only time these kids get to Florida."
They just found out on Monday they were eligible. Within three days, the team was able to raise the 25,000 dollars needed to travel, thanks to some hefty donations including the Bills.
B&L Wholesale owners saw the story on the news Wednesday morning.
David Parks (B&L Wholesale Supply) said, "It piqued their interest and they talked to Kenny and decided to donate the $5,000."
And so now, the kids will be on their way come Thursday night.
Football player Andre Gamblin said, "I'm looking forward to the day that we have good game in Florida and that everything goes smoothly and we have a safe trip to Florida and we don't leave early and we win the super bowl!"
And late Wednesday night, Pop Warner says First Niagara Bank
came through with a 15,000 dollar donation to help with travel
costs for the team.