A football team of 7-year-olds and 8-year-olds with a perfect record was kicked out of the playoffs for being “too good,” league officials say.
The Flower Mound Rebels are good, no doubt. They have outscored their opponents 199-6 in the first seven games of the season.
“I was just very sad,” 8-year-old center Greyson Tanner said. “I feel like we deserve to play in the playoffs.”
Last year, when it was hard to field a team during COVID, Flower Mound joined a league from nearby Keller.
Rhett Taylor, vice president of the Keller Youth Association, said the group’s five-member board decided the Flower Mound team should be ejected from the playoffs – even though they’re the top team.
"This is the Keller league, not the Flower Mound league,” Taylor said. “In my mind, they’ve dominated our league.”
Taylor also is a coach and a father. His team lost to the Rebels 33-0 this season.
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"My team got one first down all game,” Taylor said. “And my team is good."
The Rebels’ coach, Ragan Montero, said Taylor and the Keller Youth Association are trying to change the rules in the middle of the game.
"He's a sore loser. That's all it comes down to,” Montero said. "He's changing the rules so it benefits him."
Taylor acknowledged the decision was made because of the Rebels’ dominance.
"They are too good. I fully admit it, absolutely,” he said. “They are a select-level team. They are too good for a rec-level team."
Montero said only seven of her 17 players had ever played football before and they worked especially hard in practice.
"I don't think we can be too good,” Montero said. "He wants to play with us but he doesn't want us to be good. I'm not really sure what that teaches the kids. Hey, try your hardest but sorry, you won't get the end result you want?"
Taylor said it’s a fairness issue to him.
"If I let them play in the playoffs in the Super Bowl against Keller teams, I'm going to have a problem from the Keller parents,” he said.
The Keller Youth Association said the Rebels are still welcome to play their final game this weekend but told them they wouldn’t be allowed in the playoffs – no matter their record.
Montero credited her team's success with hard work and said she never tried to run up the score.
For the young players, it’s a confusing lesson about what’s fair.
"I want for us to actually just finish our games,” Tanner said. “That's truly all I want. I'm new to tackle football and the shotgun."