Pop Warner: A Season to remember
The Douglas Pop Warner Pee Wee football team’s incredible run through the 2004 season came to an end Friday at the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida, but it sure didn’t dampen the team’s spirit any.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Tiger head coach Mike Dillon said. “They gave 100 percent all season long and worked as hard as they possibly could. The numbers on the scoreboard were secondary, because this team presented themselves as champions both on and off the field all year.”
Douglas succumbed to the Newington, Conn., Knights 31-0 in Friday’s national championship game.
“Even when we were behind, the guys kept going out there and giving everything they had,” Dillon said. “We just ran into a buzz saw against Connecticut.”
The head referee for the game made the comment to several Douglas coaches that he had never seen a classier team in all of his years officiating football than what he saw from the Douglas squad.
“Everywhere we went all week, people kept commenting on how well-behaved these young men were,” Dillon said. “They acted like gentlemen wherever they were.”
Earlier in the week, Douglas beat Yuma, Ariz., 14-12 to advance to the national title game.
“It turned a lot of heads I think,” Dillon said. “People know where Douglas County is now. A lot of people were in the stands for that game. It was a great atmosphere.”
Along with playing two games in a week, the Tigers got to go to Disney World and see some of the sights around Orlando. Highlights of their game against Newington even made Sunday’s Top Ten on ESPN’s Sportscenter.
“It was a tremendous experience for everyone involved,” Dillon said. “We can’t thank the community enough for getting behind us and supporting us all season. We could not have made the trip without the incredible efforts of the people in this area.”
Douglas wrapped up the season with an 11-2 record and championships in both the Sagebrush Empire League and the Pacific Northwest Region. The Tigers also received a gigantic national runner-up trophy.
Members of the Douglas Tiger Pee Wee squad included Luke Peterson, Clayton Limacher, Chris Lanier, Conner Dillon, Ryan Ake, Michael Benson, Collin Inwood, Joe Ahart, Patrick Miller, Michael Darby, Derek Gilmore, Ben Reed, RJ Winans, Pierce Dykes, Jason Perko, Shane Derbyshire, Dylan Singh, Zach Squier, Theo Denson, Scott Rudnick, Cole Freeman, Cameron Jorgenson, Jacob Fowler, Cody Valente, Kevin Telles, Tanner Egan, Michael Sepulveda, Mathew Metz, Shane Connelly, Landon Wynar, Joseph Yniguez, Eugene Bedow, William Sherwood and Fred Rodriguez.
Dillon said he wanted to thank his bosses, Andy Hackler and Cindy Fencl at Petroleum Card Services, for giving him the week off to accompany the team to Florida. He said the other coaches with the team were similarly grateful for getting the time to travel with the team.
— Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.