D.C.

Ward 5 Warriors head to Florida, but not without a delay

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A group of young D.C. football players are headed to Florida for the Pop Warner Super Bowl, but their trip almost didn’t happen when their bus didn’t show up Thursday morning.

The team huddled outside the Langdon Park Community Center Thursday morning, but the bus scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m. never showed up.

The Ward 5 Warriors have been training for the championship for months. 

“Some of our teammates had to lose weight,” says Alexander Gant. “We had to do a lot of stuff to make it to where we are now.”

But the team's winning football season hit a road block around 8:30 a.m. The team’s coach says the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation agreed to pay the cost to transport all 19 Warriors to Orlando for the championship. The team huddled outside the Langdon Park Community Center, but the bus scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m. never showed up.

Coach Kevin Nesbitt says the Department of Parks and Recreation pushed the bus back to 9 a.m. Friday morning, but under Pop Warner rules, all teams must be in Orlando by 5 p.m. Friday or they are forced to forfeit. 

“It is not acceptable when we’ve been talking about this for at least a month,” says Fred Simmons, the athletic director.

It’s customary that DPC pay for buses of any team that qualifies for championship games, but now the parents have to break the news that a forfeit is likely.

Devastated, they called Seven On Your Side for help. ABC7 did not get a response in person at DPC’s offices on U Street, but received a call minutes later from DPC’s spokesman saying a bus was on its way.

DPC says the bus’ arrival was not due to ABC7's calls, but that staff had been trying to find a bus company and drivers for a few days.

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