The Baltimore Ravens have one goal in mind as they prepare for a playoffs matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 9 and that’s win a Super Bowl championship. But even if the Ravens are successful throughout the playoffs, they won’t be the only champions from Baltimore City.

The Forest Park Black Hawks Little League Football 10-and-under club of West Baltimore captured the 2010 AYF Under Armour National Championship after beating the Naperville Gators of Illinois in the title game on Dec. 4 in Orlando, Fla.

The Black Hawks earned their way to the championship by winning the Maryland state title in early November, then capturing the regional championship held in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 19. When they came to Orlando to compete in the national championship playoffs, they had to beat teams from California, New York and other various states around the U.S. before finally reaching the title game.

“I’m so proud of these kids because they worked hard for this,” Forest Park Vice President Curtis Covington said. “We’re pretty tough on our kids, but that’s because we know their full potential is limitless. We coach them up to hold mind over matter and I think that really gives them an edge during tough situations.”

The Forest Park players knew it was going to be tough to win the national championship against Naperville; they had lost to the Illinois based team back during the summer in a youth football jamboree that Forest Park put together in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“They were a little nervous because we lost to this same team back in August, but I told them that was just an exhibition game for fun,” Covington said. “So we took one loss for the year, but that was the last loss we would see because we went on to win 18 straight games and revenge our loss in the title game.”

Covington, who also coached the team that played in the championship, said this accomplishment is major because it’s another positive occurrence coming out of Baltimore that the media can talk about.

“You always hear about the negative things that youths do in our community, but it’s a lot of good stuff that we got going on and it never gets talked about,” Covington said. “So when I see my kids making the press for their high productivity, that means the world to me and I’m just so proud of them.”


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor