With almost three quarters of the tour underway, the 7th Annual MaxPreps Football Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard headed south from Atlanta, Georgia to even warmer Miami, Florida to honor the Miami Norland Senior High School Vikings. The Vikings finished No. 19 nationally in the MaxPreps Freeman Rankings poll after completing their first unbeaten season in school history. The team claimed the school's second state title on December 16th 2011 after defeating Wakulla of Crawfordville to win the Florida 5A State Championship.
We arrived on campus bright and early on Monday morning, January 30th, just as the students were starting their day. As the second period began, the students excitedly began to file in the auditorium for the upcoming trophy presentation. Our presentation kicked off with athletic director, Mr. Ira Fluitt, introducing MaxPreps representative, Jason Alpert. After introducing himself, Jason invited the cheerleaders up to get the crowd pumped! Following their rousing performance, Jason excited the crowd by talking about all the Viking's accomplishments this season. "What if I told you were ranked number 19 in the southeast, no, no, no, it gets better….what if I told you the Vikings were ranked #19 in the entire country!" he shouted. Following Jason's captivating words, the crowd went wild!
Once the crowd settled down, the TOC presentation was turned over to Sergeant First Class Steadroy Challenger of the Florida Army National Guard. SFC Challenger spoke about how proud he was of the team's accomplishments and how much it meant to him to present this award since he calls Miami Norland Senior High School home. SFC Challenger explained, "I have family and friends who play for this team, it means a lot." Following his speech, SFC Challenger invited up Coach Heidelburg and some of the key players to accept the coveted Army National Guard national ranking trophy, "the Minuteman". The trophy represents hard work, teamwork, excellence, determination, and perseverance; all traits the Vikings embodied this undefeated season. As the trophy was passed over to Coach Heidelberg, the crowd erupted into applause, cheering and chants of "It's Viking football baby, Woo" heard across the auditorium. Coach Heidelberg accepted the hardware with gratitude and said, "We will see you next year!"
There is no doubt in my mind that we will be back to honor Miami Norland Senior High School for the 2012 season. Congratulations Coach Heidelberg and the Vikings on an incredible season!