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Preparing for his Florida football fantasy

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Zach Carpenter is pumped about swapping the snow of Winnipeg for the sunshine of Florida.

The 15-year-old linebacker, who plays for the Greendell Falcons, has been invited by the Offense-Defense Bowl Committee to take part in the Citrus Bowl in an All-American Bowl later this month.

Offense-Defense is one of the biggest full-contact youth and high school football camps in the U.S., and features NFL and college football coaches.

Carpenter’s mom, Laurie Baxter, said she couldn’t be more proud of the College Beliveau student, who will be leaving for Orlando on Dec. 28.

"I’m proud that Zach has maintained his interest in football, sports and music. For six years, he’s played electric guitar, so culturally it’s a broad spectrum, but he’s primarily focused on football," Baxter, 44, said.

"He never fails to impress me and he is out to do his best every day. Football is something he hopes to pursue and I’ll be with him every step of the way. As a mother, no sacrifice is too much."

When it comes to Carpenter’s football ambitions, Baxter said the sky’s the limit.

"He can really shoot for the stars, whether it’s in the Canadian Football League or another professional league or at least a college scholarship. I want to encourage my son to go as far as he can in the sport that he loves," the Island Lakes resident said.

Carpenter says he is intends to seize his chance with both hands.

"It’s awesome. I feel super-lucky and it’s a great opportunity to showcase my talent. I want to give a shout out to my parents and coaches," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the outcome in Florida is not as important as the fact he’s been invited to participate.

"I’m not really concerned about whether I win or lose. I just want to be there, play hard and play well. I’m grateful for the support of my family and hope to have a great experience in Florida."

To learn more about the Falcons, visit greendellfootball.com

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