What's better than a coveted league championship in Texas? Two. What's better than winning a national championship in your own backyard? Back to back natty's? Dating back to their 2021 championship run, the 33-0 Dallas Prime have their ambitions set on goals many organizations don't have the opportunity to accomplish.
At this time last year, the Dallas Prime were coming off of a historic season as national champions and a dominant performance in front of their home city of Dallas, Texas in AT&T Stadium.
Despite handedly beating a #3 ranked Missouri Cyclones 28-6 in the national championship game, the Prime still had doubters due to what seemed like overnight success for the brand new organization.
"No one thought we'd do what we did year one!" expresses team veteran Tevin Brewer. Winning was their way of "leaving a bitter taste" in the mouths of these who weren't on the bandwagon to begin with.
One year later, the defending USA Bowl national champions are eager to bring their swagger back to the national stage and are feeling like there is still much to prove.
"Complacency gets you beat!" continues Brewer. "I hate losing, so I try to instill that in my teammates. When they get that feeling, we all move on one accord. When we move as one, it's hard to get complacent or comfortable because our only goal is to continue to win!"
After their inaugural 2020 season was interrupted by the COVID pandemic, winning is the only thing that this team has done since running the table in its first complete season. Brewer and the 2022 team went on to dominate the competitive Texas United Football League with scoring averages of 38 points per game and 8 points per game defensively.
"We keep it simple and keep it more than just football"
Team owner and head coach Darion 'Prime' Waits has built a program with very few weakness on the field, but he knows his team's greatest strength is its brotherhood bond off the field.
"In order to motivate your team, you have to have some type of personal relationship with all players. The hardest part is motivating a team that hasn't lost in years." Waits explains. "Even though we haven't lost a game, you still break those wins down and breakdown what could have been done better. The most important motivation is always let them be them(selves), while still understanding their job!"
The team's close-knit nature stems from more than just practices and game time logged on Saturdays. Many of the original staff members and veteran players considered each other family far before the battles on the grid iron began.
Bonding off the field has also helped the city of Dallas feel the team's presence as well. Through community outreach events for schools and children in need, Waits has found ways in the offseason for his team to help build the community of the city they represent, while simultaneously pulling the best from his players "off the field and in life".
Dallas Prime participating in community outreach activities this past offseason
When asked about aspirations that he has not reached yet, the championship coach reveals just how high he aims to push his players. "One goal I want to accomplish is to get a couple of players to a NFL tryout. We're moving the needle inch by inch each season to accomplish this!"
Waits' investment into his player's personal success is summed up simply in his own words.
"We keep it simple and keep it more than football!"
"Dallas Prime has been there before, we all know the name"
The upcoming job at hand will be no easy task for Waits' team, as they are matched up against the #2 ranked Tulsa Gators based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa is coming off of a blowout 56-14 win in the 4 States Football League championship game and are looking to expand it's national résumé.
Similar to the Prime, the Gator's organization is fairly young but are no strangers to national competition. The Gators have 4 years of league play notched under their belt, while appearing in 3 consecutive national bowl games.
This year's bowl appearance comes off the back of an undefeated season with impressive team statistics from the Gators. Tulsa's offense steam rolled opponents, scoring 40 points per game offensively; while their defense stifled opposing offenses to just over 11 points per game.
While both teams match up well statistically, Dallas has yet to be challenged in big games. They have played two unbeaten teams with at least 10 wins, winning by a combined score of 42-6.
Records and winning streaks aside, the most common factor Prime players point to as the catalyst to their success and extreme confidence is preparation.
"Dallas Prime has been there before, we all know the name." quarterback Lauren Morales describes. "It's the work that goes into this team and the mindset that is created by its leaders in the weeks and months leading up to a game that really sets this team apart."
But the time for preparation is quickly fading as both teams get ready to cap off excellent 2022 seasons, regardless of the outcome. A victory in Daytona would surely be a statement win for either team and positive momentum going into their 2023 seasons.
The incumbent champions are not shy about how they intend on starting out the new year, sending a message to their national championship contending counterparts: "Don't block down and don't run to my side!" Brewer advises. "No other state is ******* with Texas and we gone show y'all why everything is bigger in Texas".
The Texas vs Oklahoma football rivalry will continue when these teams finally kickoff on January 14th, from Daytona Beach at 4:15 pm eastern standard time.