Falls athletes played for Wisconsin in youth all-star football series

Team advanced to second round

Jan. 11, 2013

Longtime Menomonee Falls/Germantown girls gymnastics coach Tracy Howard is used to guiding, teaching and passing along her wisdom and knowledge to her athletes and seeing them succeed.

It's been quite a bit different for her in recent years to have her own sons be coached by others and then succeeding on their own terms, such as when sons Danny (a linebacker) and Tommy (a cornerback) along with fellow Falls resident Josh Lamp (lineman) were recently selected to compete for Team Wisconsin in the Football University National Championships.

Publicists for the FBU National Championship say it is a version of Little League World Series meets March Madness.

The FBU National Championship kicked off Dec. 1 at various locations across America with the winners advancing in single-elimination fashion from a field that included 64 state-based teams. The first four rounds took place at regional sites and the semifinals and championship were held Jan. 5 and 6, respectively, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week celebration.

Expanded to 64 teams

This year's tournament was the largest youth football tournament ever put together, featuring an expansion to 64 teams nationwide, including more than 250 games, 6,000 athletes and 1,200 coaches. The tournament will showcase 250 games through a four-week period, resulting in more than 1,000 hours of content.

All-American Games also produced a "Sports Center" style studio show, providing detailed, round-by-round updates and news, hosted by longtime national TV/radio announcer Neil Sika. All-American Games executives are currently in discussions with numerous web and broadcast partners. With webcasts of each game along with the studio show, All-American Games planned to produce more than 350 hours of content.

The FBU National Championship is produced by All American Games and its national training academy, Football University (FBU). The seventh- and eighth-grade teams are comprised of the top 35 all-star athletes from various regions throughout the United States, who tried out for the various seventh- or eighth-grade regional teams.

Athletes were identified through FBU's network of state tournament directors from more than 40 FBU camps in various U.S. cities, and through those nominated on the tournament's page located at www.footballuniversity.org.

Recruited to the team

"Danny and Tommy were spotted at a Menomonee Falls Jr. Indians seventh-grade football game by a coach of the FBU team," Tracy Howard said. "They needed more quality athletes for specific positions after the tryouts. They were invited to be a part of it. Josh Lamp went to a football camp at Whitewater this past summer and they needed more linemen, so he was invited. The normal protocol is a tryout to make the team or by invitation only.

"Wisconsin had kids from Green Bay, Waukesha, Racine, Oak Creek, Madison and several other cities throughout Wisconsin. All states are a composite of kids that tried out for positions or were invited to be on the team. Our regional was Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa."

The regional was held at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa. If Wisconsin had won the regional, it would have moved onto a super regional in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wisconsin split its two games in the regional, beating Minnesota, 12-2 but losing to Iowa, 19-0.

Tommy Howard had a key interception against Minnesota, and both he and Danny Howard were selected to be captains for the Iowa game.

Lamp played a key role on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Though the team, nicknamed the "Ducks," was disappointed that it could not advance further in the competition, Howard said her sons were happy that they took part.

"The whole experience was positive, from quality practices to high level competition," she said.

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