Before the Northwest Raiders stormed onto the field and dominated the Pop Warner National Super Bowl Championship for the "Midget" division, their star running back was listening to Drake's song "Draft Day," getting his mind in the game.
Sometimes I laugh with God about how you can't stop me
I'm his darkest angel, probably, but he still got me
As Drake rapped about Johnny Manziel getting drafted, 15-year-old Isheem Young of North Philadelphia was getting pumped up - for his most high-profile game to date, playing at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for the national championship, broadcast live on ESPN2.
"In the song, he was talking about Johnny Manziel getting drafted, and I was just thinking about myself getting drafted," Young said.
Four touchdowns and 158 yards later, Young was one step closer to that future day, with the West Oak Lane-based Raiders defeating Connecticut's New Britain Raiders, 26-6.
"It's been a good week - well, a good year, really," said Raiders coach Duane Watson.
Going in, Watson said, the players - a crew of 12- to 15-year-olds - were nervous.
"Once they settled down and started running and playing the game plan, everything worked out perfectly," Watson said.
That included the linemen, Watson said, who cleared the way for Young to take off.
Earlier in the day, another Philadelphia team, the North Philadelphia Aztecs, lost in its effort to regain the championship the Aztecs won in 2004. The 8- to 11-year-olds fell, 24-7, at the hands of the defending national champions from Miami, the Gwen Cherry Bulls.
For his part, Young said with a teen's bravado that he never had any anxiety about the showdown.
"I felt very confident that we were going to win it," he said. And when that ball came into his hands in the second quarter, he took off running, 89 yards straight into the end zone.
"As I scored the first touchdown, I knew I had to just keep going. Keep the touchdowns going," he said. He even skipped his usual dance: "There's a celebration I do, but I didn't do it this game. I wasn't really thinking about it, I was just focused on winning."
Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Young now lives in North Philadelphia with his mom, Nicole Hawkins, and his dad, Crawford Young. None of his three brothers plays football.
Family and friends gathered around the TV in his house Saturday afternoon, watching him as he scored touchdown after touchdown. The first run: 89 yards, 6-0. Then 22 yards to make it 12-0. After the Connecticut team scored on the Philadelphians, Young came right back - 12 yards in the fourth quarter, 19-6. That's when he knew it was over, he said.
"But I was gone," he said, in the zone and unstoppable. "I still was going to keep playing."
"My coach is always telling me, 'Play until the fourth quarter is over.' "
So he did, running an additional 35 yards for a final score of 26-6.
As soon as he broke free from the celebration, the boy who started playing the game at age 7 called his mom.
"He said, 'We did it!' " his mom said.
With his eyes set on college and, one day, professional ball, Young is transferring from Delaware Valley Charter High School to Imhotep Institute Charter High School in East Germantown, whose powerhouse team uses the same field the Raiders do.
Netting A's and B's in his classwork, Young is also looking at the other sides of his game, he said, joining the track team to stay in shape in the offseason. When he works out at night, he said, he'll do a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups.
His dream is to play for the Eagles - "my city," he explained - but Saturday evening, hours after the clock had run out, the high from the win had not yet worn off. On the bus back up to his city, he said, he was getting a lot of messages of support on social networks. His phone was buzzing nonstop.
"It feels great. We made history, the Raiders never did it before," he said, letting out a huge sigh.
"It was a great experience."