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10-0 and one goal to go

Luke Gansberg breaks into the open for the Douglas Tigers Pee Wee division football team in its 45-24 win against the South Tahoe Vikings in the recent Snow Bowl. The undefeated Tigers won their regional championship game on Saturday, 38-7, against the Santa Cruz Sharks.
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There is still some unfinished business the Douglas Tigers Pee Wee division football team would like to take care of when it returns to the Pop Warner “Best of the West” Championships.

“We’re looking forward to going back and winning,” coach Terry Carson said.

The Pee Wee Tigers (10-0), who ended their 2012 season with a loss at “Best of the West,” qualified for another shot with a 38-8 victory against the Santa Cruz Sharks on Saturday at the Pacific Northwest Region Championships in Woodside, Calif.



Their sights are now set on Dec. 7 against an opponent still to be announced at Rancho Christian High School in Temecula, Calif. About 10 players on the current roster played on the 2012 Douglas squad, so this is a veteran group of 10-12 year olds.

“This is a really strong team,” Carson said. “We have kids, parents and coaches who get along great, and when you have a combination like that, you’re going to have success.”



The Tigers have some talent going for them, too. Just consider that the margin of victory on Saturday was impressive since the Santa Cruz squad (6-3-1) had entered the postseason as a No. 3 seed and knocked off the top two teams to reach the regional title game against Douglas.

It only took two plays to take a lead they never relinquished when Luke Gansberg broke loose to score on a power play. The touchdown was the first of two for Gansberg in the game.

“He is just fast as lightning,” Carson said of Gansberg. “We scored on the second play and kept the pedal right there.”

This is obviously a team effort, Carson emphasized. Blockers create running space for the runners, and tackle Jonathan Sloan and fullback Jordan Bailey figure prominently for the Pee Wee Tigers.

“Jonathan is just a beast,” Carson said of Sloan, who also scored a touchdown on Saturday. “He is strong enough and athletic enough to block anyone. He really sacrifices a lot for our team, too, because he is also one of our best running backs. Not a lot of people can tackle him.”

Bailey is a load to handle as a lead blocker and a leader on defense from his middle linebacker position, the coach added.

Austin Clark, who doubles as wingback on offense, produced another key play for the Tigers when he returned an interception inside the 10.

“Defense is what wins a lot of games for us,” Carson said.

One week before, the Tigers emerged as 45-24 victors against the South Tahoe Vikings in the Sagebrush Empire Snow Bowl championship game in Sparks. This marked the third straight Snow Bowl triumph for the Douglas Pee Wees, according to Carson.

Before they take the field in Temecula, however, Carson pointed out the team and its supporters will be busy trying to raise funds to make the trip to Southern California.

“This is going to cost a lot of money so we’re going to be doing fundraisers,” the coach said.