JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Rhett Giesecke, 10, and Josh Whitecotton, 11, are preparing for something most athletes dream of doing: playing for a national championship.
The two are members of the Round Rock Outlaws, a select football team. The assistant head coach is Mark Giesecke, Rhett’s dad. All three live in the Marble Falls area.
The 12-and-under team (8-1) are the Texas Select Youth Football League champions thanks to capturing the title at AT&T Stadium on Nov. 8 to qualify for the United Youth Football League National Championship tournament, which will be played Dec. 6-12 in Plant City, Florida.
The Outlaws beat the Yoakum Outlawz 26-0 in the championship. Earlier in the season, Yoakum defeated Round Rock 20-12.
“We literally played every game to beat that team in the championship,” Mark Giesecke said. “All these kids work (on the sport) year-round.”
In July, the Outlaws, made up of several sixth-graders, faced a group from Mexico. That’s when coaches knew they had a special group, Giesecke said. The Outlaws play opponents that feature seventh-graders, he said.
The team consists of players from nine different schools.
Rhett Giesecke is the smallest player on the team, his dad said.
“He’s known as the hardest hitter,” Mark Giesecke said. “He has a really good nose for the ball. He freelances. He’s like (Pittsburgh Steelers safety) Troy Polamalu. He’s also a pretty good possession receiver and is pretty sure-handed.”
Whitecotton uses his intangibles to be a dangerous player, the coach said.
“He has incredible hands,” Giesecke said. “He has height and athleticism. He’s a mismatch for any defensive back. We also bring him off the edge as a defensive tackle.”
The coach said the tournament will draw the top team from most of the Southern states and Ohio, Michigan and California. The tournament limits each team to 25 players.
The projected cost to play at the national tournament is $20,000. Go to www.gofundme.com/12urroutlaws to make a donation.
To be an Outlaw, Giesecke said players must follow the guidelines of the University Interscholastic League regarding grade-point averages and citizenship.
As a team, the Outlaws have a cumulative GPA of 95.3.
“We want young men becoming leaders, and they are,” Giesecke said.