Homegrown Talent Aims For Championship

Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 5:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- While most Oklahoma team's post-season quest is just beginning, anothers is ending. The NOAH Jaguars - an independent team comprised of homegrown, home school talent will play for what they call the home school national championship Friday night.

"Words can't describe how awesome that is," said offensive lineman Ben Castles. "All these programs that are popping up now that we're able to compete against teams like us and hopefully we'll be able to win."

The NOAH program has come a long way in its brief five year history. The Jags have gone from going 2-8 in its first varsity season three years ago to 9-2 this year.

"It's grown from our first year in junior high having 18 kids now to the 40 plus we have now," Castles said. "It's a very competitive team. Most people didn't think homeschoolers could play football at this kind of level. It just goes to show you anything can happen."

The stats are also stacking up with OSSAA schools. Caleb Gastelum leads the state in sacks with 26 and Malachi Blankenship is third in passing with nearly 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns.

"We put work into it just like public schools do," Blankenship said. "We practice during the summer and I have great relationships with my receivers. We've been practicing since January getting ready for this year and it's shown."

As the team prepares to play for the biggest game they've ever been a part of, the opportunity to just be playing football funnels through the minds of these teenagers.

"I've been homeschooled all my life and I wouldn't be able to play football if I didn't have a home school football team to play for," Gastelum said.