A heart felt congratulations are in order for the 2011 Pop Warner Midget National Champions, the Jupiter Mustangs from Jupiter, Florida. Good friend and Winning Youth Football system user Dan Schlager head coached this team. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dan for the last 6 years and have cliniced their coaches a number of times. Their team is pictured above in their hard fought semi-final win over the Landsdowne Ravens from Baltimore.
How did they do it? Did they have a stacked team full of older lighters and world class athletes? Not in the least, the Mustangs only had 5 older lighters and they drafted their team in a legit 1-1 draft. The Jupiter Mustangs simply have their act together under the leadership of Kevin Justice and Dan along with a bevy of committed, hard working and knowledgeable coaches. Dan, his coaching staff, players and parents deserve all the credit for their National Championship season.
Dan has always been a coach who values coaching and he invests a great deal of time and effort into becoming a better coach, he sees it as a challenge. We will be interviewing Dan in the next several weeks here on the blog. He will share some of the tips he used to get his team to Orlando and then winning the tournament. If you followed his teams progress, they scored on the last play of the half and on the dramatic last play of their first round game to advance to the semi-final game. They beat the Far West Jets in the finals, who were riding a 39 game unbeaten streak and were 2-time defending National Champions.
Winning a National Championship is special and we thank Dan for letting us ride on his coattails a bit. We were able to view some of Dan’s games and his opposition via Hudl prior to getting to Orlando for the tournament. We also had the opportunity to attend one of Dan’s practices, work a little bit with the team and do some film study with the coaching staff. While spending some time with the team and coaching staff it was very apparent early on that his was a special team on a mission, very focused. They were a team that was bonded not only to each other, but to their head coach. They had to overcome a lot of adversity to win their National Title and there wasn’t a soul in the tournament that gave them any chance of making it to the title game, let alone winning it. They believed in each other, they believed in their coaches and they were about the only ones who believed they could not only make it to the tournament, which no Jupiter team had ever done, but that they could win it. And win it they did beating what most experts thought was the unbeatable team, more on that later.