Dorchester Elite Eagles are national champions, Mattapan Patriots soar
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The Dorchester Elite Eagles and Mattapan Patriots football teams have brought national attention to the state of Massachusetts.
The Elite Eagles made history with a 20-0 shut-out of the Darby Monarchs of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, completing a perfect 14-0 season at the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Terry “Beefy” Cousins, president of the Elite Eagles, and coach Terry Hurston have mentored Dorchester’s Pop Warner Players on and off the field for nearly three decades. The program has sent several players to Division 1 football programs, including Lance “Showtime” Holtzclaw, a current member of the No. 2 ranked Washington Huskies, one of the Final Four teams to compete for a NCAA Division 1 national football title.
In a recent interview, Holtzclaw spoke of his days in the Dorchester program.
“We had a lot of talent on our teams. Some guys were knuckleheads but came around to be solid players, thanks to the coaching staff that stressed discipline and teamwork,” he said.
Hurston added, “The program teaches players how to get their minds right for the rigors of football and life. You want young people to know that doing good things has its rewards. Our program runs year-round with such events as Football IQ sessions and early spring football clinics that are open to the surrounding communities. Both young men and women benefit from several aspects of our program.”
Cousins puts things into perspective when discussing the bottom line: “It takes a tremendous amount of money to pull this off. We [pay] out of our own pockets to make a lot of things work. But we need financial help to keep this program going. Coach Hurston and I hope that winning a national championship and the attention that it will bring to Massachusetts will increase our visibility and funding. The trip to the Pop Warner National Championship competition was very expensive. We will need help raising enough to give the team a banquet and championship jackets. This is important for these young people that have brought such honor to Massachusetts with this first-time achievement.”
For anyone interested in helping this cause, contributions can be sent to Members Plus Credit Union, 494 Gallivan Blvd., Boston, Massachusetts, 02124.
The Mattapan Patriots 14-and-under team also gained national attention following their 30-6 victory over The Maryland Gators at the American Youth National Championships in Naples, Florida. By virtue of their win, the Patriots finished their season ranked No. 3 nationally, the highest ranking ever for the program.
Mick Brunache, the team’s founder, president and coach, is quick to tell everyone: “This team and this overall program haven’t had this much success in a long time.” The Mattapan Patriots program, which emphasizes football and cheerleading, has been in operation for more than 30 years. Its mission is to form a community among young athletes from Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park and other areas.
This 14U national championship team is a special brotherhood and sisterhood group, including a girl on the team.
The Mattapan program has produced major results in its first year in American Youth Football Competition in a variety of age groups, bringing home three state championships, three division championships and two cheerleading divisional titles.
The Mattapan community and its many supporters deserve honorable mention for their support and fundraising that enabled the 14U team to make it to the nationals. More than $50,000 was raised to get the team to Florida, and more will be needed to properly honor this team.
Both the Dorchester Elite Eagles and Mattapan Patriots deserve the recognition that is being bestowed upon them. And a special mention must go out to everyone that supports these programs.
Men like Cousins, Hurston and Brunache are quick to praise the coaches and communities that create the “family atmosphere” that is so important in producing the on-field success of their programs.
Players like the aforementioned Holtzclaw and Datrell Jones, a Division 1 football player at Boston College, are just two of the many success stories that come from programs like the Dorchester Elite Eagles and the Mattapan Patriots. They provide a dream-making platform for those who follow them.