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Bedford Pop Warner team eyes national title

BEDFORD - On the eve of their sendoff to the national championships in Florida, the Bedford Jr. Bulldogs Pee Wee Silver football team held a spirited scrimmage Wednesday.

Shawn Kelley, president of the Bedford Football and Spirit Association, said the team is unique because there are no tryouts and no cuts. Bedford fields two teams and they're picked by a draft.

"We have a philosophy of equal play time. Every kid plays," Kelly said. "We have two separate teams at this level, and this is really what makes it unique."

"We don't have a really good team and then a bad team. We don't put all the best athletes on one team."

The team won the New England Pop Warner Regional Championships on Friday, beating the best teams in the region and qualifying along with seven other teams for the national championship in Orlando, Fla.

"We're heading to Florida (today)," Kelley said with a grin before a pep rally at the New Hampshire Sports Complex.

The Bulldogs are the only team going from New Hampshire, which hasn't sent a Pop Warner team to the nationals since 1997, Kelley said. Each team will play at least two games, though it will take three wins for the national title.

Asked how they made it happen, Kelley said the team is very blessed to have fantastic coaches. "Jason Dyer, the head coach, played for the Air Force Academy. He's got many years of experience. But we're lucky enough to have former high school coaches that are assisting him."

Dyer's father, who the team calls "Papa" Dyer, is also a big asset to the team.

"And these kids are just extremely resilient," Kelley said. "They don't give up."

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