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Jaylon Brock heads to Canton Classic with Team Indiana

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Clinton Central eighth grader Jaylon Brock and his Team Indiana teammates will compete with teams from across the country at the Hall of Fame All-Star Canton Classic this weekend in Ohio.

Team Indiana Football touts itself as “an elite middle school football program with the goal of winning a national championship.”

Brock tried out for the All-Star travel football team earlier this year and competed in the Naptown Classic from Nov. 24 to 26 at Grand Park in Westfield. Now, Brock and Team Indiana are ready to travel to Canton on Thursday for a tournament they begin with a game against the reigning champions from North Texas.

“My boss used to coach this group, and he let me know they were having tryouts in August,” Brock’s father, Jason Brock said. “So, we took Jaylon down to try out in Fishers. Then, in October, they sent an email and said that he made the team, and they would like to bring him on.”

Jason Brock coached his son from the time the now 13-year-old Jaylon was in second grade through his fifth-grade season with Clinton Central.

“He went down to his first practice on October 15,” Jason Brock said. “They practice each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They had the Naptown Classic two weeks ago and played a team out of Detroit and two teams out of Indianapolis. They won their first game over an Indianapolis team, lost their second game to a team from Chicago and then tied the third game versus Detroit.”

After its 1-1-1 performance in the Naptown Classic, Team Indiana qualified as one of the top eight eighth-grade teams in the country and was seeded in this weekend’s Canton Classic, which is considered the championship tournament.

Team Indiana begins the Classic with a 10 a.m. game versus North Texas on Friday.

“They won the championship last year, so they get to state against a pretty good team,” Jason Brock said.

After opening ceremonies on Thursday evening, Team Indiana is guaranteed two games on Friday and at least one game on Saturday before the championship game is played at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“He is pumped up,” Jason Brock said. “We are real proud of him. (Clinton Central) was happy enough to see him make this that they let him wear his Clinton Central jersey. So, he has been able to represent Clinton Central too. “

Brock made a Team Indiana squad comprised of players from all across the state.

“Some of them are from Terre Haute,” Jason Brock said. “There are a few kids coming from Columbus. There is a guy from Kendallville.”

Standing at 5-foot-11 and around 290 pounds, Jaylon Brock plays offensive guard for Team Indiana.

“He is bigger than me now,” Jason Brock said. “He has done real well down there. He has learned quite a bit. They run a different offense which has taught him some different things.

“He wants to play college football so, when he runs into kids that you can’t find in our small community, it is a lot like college. He is going to be around a lot of different people, and they are all going to be very good. He has been able to step up his game but he also learned quite a bit about other players who are real good.”

Jaylon is excited the opportunity to play in Canton this weekend.

“I am happy,” he said. “I don’t think anyone else from Clinton County is in it. I like that I am representing Clinton County, and it is always a good thing when you are representing your state. Not only I am representing the state and my area, but I am representing my family.”

Having played football since second grade and watched it with his family since even before that, Jaylon’s favorite college football teams are Notre Dame and Purdue. His favorite NFL teams are the Colts and the Cowboys, and his favorite NFL player is J.J. Watt.

“His ultimate goal is to play football at Purdue,” Jason Brock said. “I always told him, since he was one, that he would be a Purdue All-American tackle.

“He made the honor roll the last nine weeks,” Brock added. “I told him a thousand times if not more that he would have to have his grades put him through college.”

The Brocks leave for Canton on Thursday.

“We are excited for him,” his mother, Amanda Brock said. “I am really proud of him. Of course, the mom in me has to worry quite a bit. He has had two mild concussions in the past playing locally, but he has had a pretty safe year.”

“We love him and we are excited for him,” she continued. “It is going to be pretty awesome seeing him play. Hopefully, they go all the way and play in the championship game on Sunday.”

His Clinton Central coaches who have helped him develop over the past few years are also excited about Jaylon’s opportunity and his potential as he enters his first high school season next summer.

“He has been a very, very hard worker,” Clinton Central head junior high coach Jeff Mosbaugh said. “This year, he has come out of his shell and is developing into what I think will be a very good football player. He has really pushed himself and made us coaches very proud of him.”

“With his attitude and everything, he is shaping up to be a very good football player,” he added. “He has really worked and made us proud.”

“I also had Jalon at the youth level,” Clinton Central assistant junior high assistant coach JoJo DeLeon said. “I have always had Jaylon as one of my players. The kid has a huge heart. He wants to get better. He asks questions and works hard. We have seen that thrive this year. He hits the weight room and runs on his own. He has made strides. We are looking forward for him with his size and his heart and his knowledge. He works on his weaknesses and knows what his strengths are.

“He is a great kid,” DeLeon added. “It is a tremendous opportunity for him. He deserves it, and it will make him better.”