A number of local Pop Warner teams are preparing for regional competition this week after a successful season in Northern Nevada.
Heading the group is this year's Douglas Tiger midget football team, which went undefeated and unscored upon this season on its way to a Sagebrush Empire League Snow Bowl championship.
For the main group on the midget roster, this was their fourth consecutive Snow Bowl win. In fact, the group has gone 37-0 against Northern Nevada competion in the past four seasons, including 33 shutouts along the way.
"Our claim to fame is our defense," Douglas midget coach Clay Peterson said. "We stress that defense isn't just a position, it's attitude. We don't like teams to score on us. The kids even get a little mad when the other team gets first downs."
Douglas primarily runs out of a 4-4 defensive set with only two down linemen.
"It almost looks like a 2-6 set," Peterson said with a laugh. "If you don't have the right kids, you can't run it. But we have been fortunate enough to have some great kids buy into it. The results kind of speak for themselves."
Among the defensive standouts for Douglas this year have been Darrell Morlan, Shawn Castillo, Lee Rusler and Leslie Kynett.
Douglas upended Sparks 31-0 in the Snow Bowl two weeks ago. Sparks boasted three 16-year-old players, including the fastest player in the league, while Douglas' roster consists mainly of eighth- and seventh-graders.
Conner Peterson scored two early touchdowns and Connor Greth kicked a pair of extra points (which counts for two points each) for the early 16-0 lead.
Sparks threatened to break Douglas' scoreless streak when it drove down near the Tiger 10-yard line in the third quarter, but Douglas stepped up to stop them at fourth-and-inches and Michael Hoyt intercepted a pass to regain possession.
The Tigers drove down the field and Hoyt ended up capping the drive off with a touchdown.
Douglas got another touchdown an a pass from Michael Berry to Greth and a final score from Peterson for the win.
Douglas plays in the Pacific Northwest Region semifinals this weekend in Santa Clara, Calif. If the Tigers can win there, and pull off a win in the region championship next week, they would advance to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
The time and opponent for this weekend's game hasn't yet been set, but it will most likely be Saturday.
It would be the second time this group has advanced that far. Incidentally, the last time they went was also the last time they went unbeaten and unscored upon in Northern Nevada play.
Peterson said the key to success this season has been the play of the team's offensive line, which includes James King, Brenton Pahe, Steven Hiatt, Andrew Martinez, Eulogio Urteaga, Sean Jones, Kevin Capone, Raymond Bedow, Christopher Eshe, Sidney Leonard, Joseph White, Ian Pieller, Rusler and Jimmie Bryan.
"As a group, they've been one of the best units in the area this season," Peterson said.
Douglas has also has a number of players make big contributions either carrying or receiving the ball.
Dylan Wilson, Edward Rose, Zackary Schultz, King, Greth, Hoyt, Conner Peterson and Berry have all put points on the board this season.
The team is coached by Clay Peterson, Ben Shuler, Kevin Blum, T.C. Estes, Brock Peterson, Carl Wilson, Steve Hiatt, Jesse Urteaga and is managed by Tanya Wilson.
The Douglas Pop Warner Tigers Pee Wee football team also completed an undefeated season with a victory in the Snow Bowl Championship game to become the Sagebrush Empire League Pee Wee Champions.
The win capped a tremendous 8-0 season for a talented team of balanced offense, defense and special teams, allowing the Tigers the opportunity to play in the Pop Warner Regional playoffs, which begin Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif.
Led by head coach Alonzo Hatchett, this Tiger team displayed the talent, effort and desire of champions from the first practice in the sweltering heat of August. Coach Hatchett is known for intense, disciplined and demanding football from his players, and this team stepped up to the challenge.
The offense was led by the dominating line play of Wyatt Leonard, Brycen Lawrence, Mason Garduno, Nathan Clinger, Anthony DeArcos, Corey Markwardt-Abrigo, Logan Lathrop, Johnathan Hoyt and Jordan Peters-Moran, as well as tight ends Dilyn Rooker and Kyle Adams.
This unit helped Douglas outscore its opponents by a season margin of 201-18.
Led by quarterback Nick Abreu, the offensive attack scored an average 25 points per game. From the speed and power of running backs Ryan Lippincott and Mason Rhoads to the speed, quickness and elusiveness of backs Connor Lyons, Bryce Belanger, Matt Wasser and Tristin Reid, the Tigers rushing game dominated each contest. The entire backfield not only runs the ball effectively, but also has the toughness to take hard hits play after play.
On the other side of the ball, the tenacious Tiger defense dominated in holding opponents to a total of 18 points over eight games.
They also posted a large a huge interception/fumble recovery turnover margin over the course of the season, including five turnovers in the championship game alone.
The attack was led by linebackers Kaleb Foster, Cale Kynett and Jordan Peters-Moran. The defensive line of David Gervais, Bailey Vidaurri, Josh Curtis, Johnathan Hoyt, Bradley Loshbough, Zach Pelcher, Mark Graham, Christopher Wilson, Hayden Linn and Tristan Beckwith created tremendous pressure and staunch run support
Ricky Simons, Justin Schindler and safety Tristin Reid led the defensive backfield.
Douglas came up just short in the Snow Bowl championship, but will get a shot to end the season on a high note in a match up with the Division III champions in Santa Clara this weekend.
Team members include Tailer Abeloe, Anthony Araujo, Austin Ball, Keith Becker, Andrew Bigam, Fabian Caldera, Justin Carney, Ben Cochran, Jackson Crawford, Wyatt Eichorst, Dusty Fisher, Dalton Grisell, Cody Hayes, Wesley Hundley, Matthew Jones, Zachary Kinder, Taylen Lopez-Simms, Teddy Mason, Mitchell Mcintosh, Cole Melhus, Connor Miller, Adam Munoz, Brennan Neilon, Michael Nolting, Kevin Owens, Ryan Philips, Cameron Scholes, Taylor Seamons, Tyler Seamons, Taylor Souza, Seth Trivitt, Colton Waggoner, Jacob Wartgow and Chase White.
The team is coached by Stacy Trivitt, Dave Cochran, Craig Crawford, John Fisher, Jon Grisell, Mike Phillips, Matt Trenton, Wesley Seamons and Mark Munoz. Team manager is Corinne Ball.
Douglas had two cheerleading squads, the junior pee wees and the midgets, win league titles at the recent local competion.
Both will be competing in the Pacific Northwest Region Championships in Santa Clara, Calif., the day after Thansgiving.
The junior pee wee team includes Lindsey Adams, Cassidy Champlin, Rebecca Cheffo, Mariah Eichorst, Celina Gonzales, Briana Hodges, Kaycee Lee, Malyn Leet, Christine Liddell, Savannah Mournighan, Gabrielle Sexton, Priscilla Thurston and Sierra Lynn Wetzel. The team is coached by Melissa Lee, Teresa Sexton, Kelly Winter, Erin Eichorst and Clair Champlin.
The midget squad includes Nicole Bennett, Miranda Bowlen, Michaela Brewer, Ashley Carpenter, Taylor Chandler, Morgan Garside, Nancy Graham, Allyson Herkenrath, Leah Heydman, Hayley Hunton, Mackenzie Jorgenson, Morgan Karnofel, Sierra Laskowski, Rikki Markwardt-Abrigio, Rachel Murphey, Katrina Olson, Sarah Owens and Alexandra Parker. The team is coached by Marissa Andrews, Brian Beck, Sloan Conte and Connie Bowlen.
The midget and pee wee football teams and midget cheer squad all have the opportunity to advance to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Fla, if they win at regionals. Douglas Pop Warner is taking currently taking pledges for donations for if any of the teams should advance.
By the time the team would find out if they were going, they'd only have five days to raise the money to make the trip. Thus, the organization is taking pledges for now, which would not be collected if none of the teams qualify.
Anyone interested in sponsoring any of the teams should they make the Super Bowl, can contact Douglas Pop Warner at email@example.com or call 781-3704.