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Hard work sends N. Raleigh Bulldogs to Pop Warner Super Bowl

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The North Raleigh Bulldogs don't play the game of football just for the cool nicknames, although those names are pretty cool.

Player Logan Shaheen said some of his nicknames are "Here Comes the Boom," "Pancake" and "De-cleater."

But despite the fun of football, school still comes first.

"It's very important because if we don't get our school work done we can't attend practices, or if we have a project due, we can't attend games either," said player Matthew Jones.

The kids live for game days, which is why the team grade-point average is 98. Coaches and parents stress academics, but the young athletes put the time in as well. Their days are often 8 hours at school, followed by homework, a snack, practice, dinner and then off to bed.

"But it's worth it, it's worth every minute of it," said Bulldog parent Trish King. "The kids are excited. They love the game. I love watching them. I think the parents love watching them."

Football is also a game that teaches life lessons. Lamonte Garrett has coached the Bulldogs, a mighty mite power, for 4 years. He enjoys winning, but more than that, he enjoys coaching from a broader perspective.

"It's teamwork: be a good teammate, be a good person and just work hard and get better each week," he said.

This team has done that. And now, the Bulldogs will be rewarded with a trip in December to Orlando for the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

"These kids are so psyched," King said. "I think the parents are as psyched as the kids are."

"I know we're playing a really good team, so I've got to really toughen up," said Shaheen.

So it's back to work for the Bulldogs, even though their regular season has come to an end.

"It's all worth it because I get to do what I love every day," said Shaheen.  

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