Indy semi-pro football team on cusp of championship

The Marion County Crusaders play for a national championship in Florida Saturday. (Photo: WTHR)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - It's January and we’re in the thick of basketball season, but there's one Indianapolis football team still playing.

The Marion County Crusaders are en route to Florida this week with a chance to win a national championship on Saturday.

The Crusaders are a semi-professional football team based in Indianapolis, made up of men from a variety of backgrounds.

"We have teachers, we have guys that work at department stores, we have trainers," said team owner Amy Myers.

Unlike the NFL or even the CFL, being on this team is not a job for the players. Most have full-time employment and family responsibilities but they still find time to play because of their passion for the game.

"It’s tough. It’s a grind. You have to be committed but we have a good team and comradery and we’re in it to win it," said quarterback Shawn Tyler. "We meet a couple times a week, sometimes, like now, only once a week."

The Crusaders' regular season is during the summer. They won at least 10 games and finished ranked nationally in the top 10, so they were invited to compete for a championship on Jan. 18 in Daytona.

They've been practicing every Sunday — rain, shine or snow — since the regular season ended in August, just to prepare for this big game. They fell just short of winning a ring a year ago, so they have their sights set on getting it done this time.

"We kinda lost the lead last year down in Florida, and I got to witness that firsthand and saw the heartbreak," Tyler remembered. "We were disappointed, but we're not going to do that again. We're very committed to betting ourselves and actually winning the game this year."