A suburban youth football team has proved perseverance pays both on and off the field.
In less than a week, the Hoffman Estates Redhawks' 7th and 8th grade football team raised enough money to take them to the Pop Warner Nationals in Florida.
"We did it!!" Coach Storm Warner wrote to NBC 5. As of Wednesday morning the team raised 90 percent of its $20,000 goal to transport all the players and coaches to the game they worked years to attend.
Warner said the team's first game has been confirmed for 3 p.m. CT against Loveland Titans from Colorado. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 3.
After several seasons of coming within a point or two of nationals, the team last Friday earned its chance at the championship and trip to Walt Disney World.
Amid the instant elation, Warner said it didn't take long for reality to set in.
"I know how much money we need," he said. "Lots."
Last weekend the team worked as hard off the field as they do on the field, raising the money to make their dream a reality. The team established a Go Fund Me account and created a hotline where fans and supporters could donate.
The response Warner saw was even more than he'd hoped. He said they now have enough money to rent vans for transportation and hotel rooms for the team.
"Thanks for everything you did for us," Warner said. "I'll keep you posted on how we do."