Three Grove athletes have made the cut.
Toby Cearley, Dalton Cash, and Triton Chandler have all been invited to the developmental games for the U.S. National Football Team.
"We had players who were invited down to Oklahoma City. [The U.S. National team] did thirty camps nation-wide. And they invited what they considered to be the best players from those thirty camps to travel to four different locations across the nation," said Donny Cearley, the father of Toby.
During the initial camp, Cearley, Cash and Chandler were joined by Tayton Chandler and Gavin Mendoza. However, it would just be Cearley, Cash and Chandler moving on to the next round in Arlington, Texas on July 4.
"They will go down and spend five days in front of twenty college coaches, play football in full pads and if they're deemed, out of those kids who were invited, to go to the next level, they'll play in January against Japan and Canada," said Cearley. "It's a pretty big deal for our young kids to even be getting invited at this point in the [process]."
The three athletes will stay in college dorms at the University of Texas and will practice twice a day for four days, then show off on the fifth day, July 8, game day.
Cearley has been coaching his son, Toby, and Cash since they were in the second grade.
"[I've] watched them grow up from when they were little babies in football to where they are now. It's exciting, for me anyway, to see them growing," said Cearley.
Cearley, Cash and Chandler will compete against athletes from all over the country for 62 spots on the U.S. National Team.
U.S.A. football is the sanctioning body for the NFL and for the NCAA. This event is the only event allowed to have full-contact and college coaches during the off-season.
During the 2016 season, Toby Cearley was thrust into the quarterback spot when then junior Davis Dills was injured with a torn ACL in the first game of the season. Cearley went on to play in all but one game and ended the season with impressive stats. He completed 77 of 153 passes for 1375 yards, had seven interceptions and scored eight passing touchdowns. Cearley also rushed 39 times for 293 yards and scored three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Cash rushed 55 times for 255 yards, scored three touchdowns and rushed five times for 40 yards. Cash also stepped in for Cearley and completed three of six passes for 20 yards and threw a single interception.
Chandler was the sole Oklahoman at the National Football Academy last summer, and will be going into his eighth grade year this fall.
Both Cearley and Cash are going into their junior year.
"To be selected, at any rate, is an achievement for them," said Cearley.