Pop Warner Tigers end up 12-0
A group of Douglas Tigers junior pee wee football team players, coaches and their family members were in Santa Clara, Calif. on Friday night to watch Oregon play Arizona in the Pac-12 Conference championship game.
The high-flying Oregon Ducks won that game at Levi’s Stadium, 51-13.
On Sunday afternoon, the young and undefeated Tigers gave their own Oregon impersonation when they exploded for a 36-0 victory against the Santa Cruz Sea Lions at the Pop Warner Best of the West Championships in San Jose.
The junior pee wee Tigers scored four touchdowns in the first quarter en route to their win at Andrew Hill High School.
“I’m an admirer of Oregon and the second game this season we started going no-huddle on both offense and defense,” Douglas coach Jon Grisell said. “We keep them moving fast at practice and it seemed to help them in the games.”
Enough so that the young Tigers (9-10 year olds) went 12-0, capped by dominant performances in the Pacific Northwest Regional championship game (43-0 over the Bay Cities Bulldogs) in Reno and then two weeks later against Santa Cruz.
Defense was again a strength, as Grisell noted the team secured its ninth shutout in 12 games. The Sea Lions presented a good test, though.
“They were really fast and physical,” Grisell said. “They ran the ball against us as well as any team has all year.”
The Sea Lions busted some big plays, however, they were unable to cross the goal line. Douglas safety Brendyn Hoag came through with some big touchdown-saving tackles, according to coach Grisell.
“Brandon is super fast, a sideline-to-sideline type guy,” the coach said. “He was able to catch them from behind on those long runs and then, fortunately, we were able to shut them down and keep them from scoring.”
The Douglas defense was anchored by the interior line play of Hunter Forbes, Martin Luna and Leo Alaniz, along with rotation of Aiden Bates, Dominick Gruneich and Gabe Marchant. Defensive ends Aden Pillsbury, Jayden Neubauer, Cuinn Doherty and Sierra Edwards also contributed sacks. Linebackers Anthony Menzer, Adam Gerran and Gabe Foster were tough against the run, coach Grisell added. Cornerbacks Hunter Reed, Devon Watts, Wyatt Grisell, Talin Goheen and Hoag were also key in keeping Santa Cruz out of the end zone.
Quarterback Austin Grant triggered the pistol fly-wing attack with his running and passing, while tailbacks Garren, Menzer and Foster combined to handle the inside running chores. Sweepbacks Hoag, Watts, Grisell and Reed provided outside punch to the Tigers’ attack.
Coach Grisell also praised offensive linemen Jared Miller, Jacob Miller, Soren Morgan, Isiah Reynoso, Marchant and Edwards. In addition, tight ends Justin Altig, Cameron Daniels, Mason Anscott and Brayden Schumann helped with seal blocking on sweeps.
The “Heavy Offense” was also effective in short yardage situations with Conner Barker, Filberto Cebrero, Shane Robinson and Vinson Sciarotta.
Coach Grisell described the final game and entire season as an overall team effort.
“This is my third year with these kids — they’ve been 10-0, 8-2 and now 12-0 — and I haven’t seen anything like them,” he said. “They’re so focused. They just want to play football.”