FERNDALE, Mich. – Members of a youth football team are heartbroken after they defied the odds to reach the Pop Warner Super Bowl but were ruled ineligible.
Local 4 first introduced you to the Ferndale Eagles Dec. 1, as the young football and cheer program was in its first year and needed help funding their trip to nationals in Florida.
That's when the community stepped up in a big way and raised the $20,000 needed.
"The community stepped up and did exactly what we thought they would do," Ferndale Eagles President James Lewis said.
Once in Florida, the Eagles' oldest team, the unlimited team, which is ages 11-14, was unstoppable, winning two games en route to the Pop Warner Super Bowl. But before they could play, they were disqualified.
Pop Warner released a statement Friday before the game, reading, in part:
"The Ferndale Eagles unlimited team has been removed from the Pop Warner Super Bowl championship game for player registration violations. It was alleged that the Eagles used falsified registration information for several players."
Lewis sent a statement to Local 4 taking responsibility, but didn't discuss any details.
"I can assure you that my role in the circumstances that transpired that led to the disqualification were not done with malice to deceive or cheat our children or the other participants at the event," Lewis' statement said. "However, regardless of who is responsible, the ultimate responsibility lies with me, the president of the organization."