BILLINGS – Football is an easy enough game, right? Especially if you’re only 12 years old.
“It’s pretty confusing,” admitted Jakob Wilcox, linebacker for the 12U Billings Outlaws. “We have, like, seven different formations and we use them all in the same game.”
But these 12-year-old players are actually making it look easy. They just won a two-game regional in Albuquerque. Running back Xavier Brackenridge sums it up like this.
“We just dominated out there, that’s it,” he said without smiling.
The Outlaws beat New Mexico’s state champs by two touchdowns last week then hammered Las Vegas 40-6 in the title game.
Up next: eight teams vying in Canton, Ohio, next week for the national championship.
“I mean, I think we can rule,” said quarterback Thomas Norman, albeit with a little uncertainty. “I don’t know. We’ve never played anyone from the east before, so I’m interested to see how this goes.”
“We’re just trying to get these knuckleheads to the next level,” said Outlaws coach Jaquwan Brackenridge smiling. “These are our knuckleheads and we’re just so proud of them. It’s been three years in the making.”
Three years ago, that’s when Outaws Youth Football launched. It’s an AAU league and this group is 12-1 on the season. The Outlaws are not part of the Yellowstone Youth League in Billings, but played against some of those teams and won the 12U Rocky Bowl.
But the idea is to see how these players stack up across the country.
“We became a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame this season,” said coach Chris Dixon. “We wanted to get our name into the hat with all the national teams. They’ve got all this national ranking, and we wanted to get our name in. We finally had our chance to get on the big stage and we’re here now.”
The Outlaws will enjoy visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame next week while in Canton and, according to Dixon, will likely meet some NFL Hall of Famers.
Their first game is next Thursday, Dec. 14. The Outlaws play again on Friday. If they win both, they’ll play for the 12U national champion Sunday, Dec. 16.