South Lake Tahoe Pop Warner prepares to defend regional title
South Tahoe Pop Warner brought home two Snow Bowl Championships last Saturday from the Don Mello Sports Complex in Sparks. Those teams are now preparing for regional and national titles for as much as the third time in row.
The South Tahoe peewees defeated the Lassen Grizzlies 33-0 last Saturday to continue their undefeated season and earn Steve Klug Jr. the 2002 Snow Bowl Sagebrush Empire Mountain Division championship for the fourth consecutive time.
Klug Jr. and his team earned Snow Bowl titles as junior peewees in 1999 and 2000, and now as peewees in 2001 and 2002.
Klug Jr.’s junior peewees won the Pacific Northwest Division III title in 2000, and the title again the following year as first-year peewees. The Pacific Northwest Division III title is the largest level of competition in the division.
The South Tahoe junior midgets won by forfeit last Saturday as Feather River had only 15 players. Pop Warner rules require 16 players for a full team.
The junior midgets continued their undefeated streak by one more game as well, and scrimmaged the Feather River team with some of its second string players.
This is the first Snow Bowl title for Russ Woods as head coach. He was an assistant coach with Klug Jr. for the peewees in the past. Under Woods, and with a handful of star peewee players from the year before, the junior midgets are preparing to defend an undefeated season after winning only one game in 2001.
Woods said the dedicated coaching staff of Victor Villescas, Dave Jaurequi and Randy Cason have developed a good program.
“It’s really worked out pretty good,” he said. “We had quite a few returning players from last year’s peewee national championship team which definitely helped our success and we’ve had a lot of hard work from everybody,” Woods said.
In the junior peewee game, Truckee came from behind in the third quarter to overtake the South Tahoe Vikings 20-12 in the Sagebrush Empire Mountain Division consolation game last Saturday in Sparks. The junior peewee’s season is now over.
The peewee Vikings and junior midget Vikings will head to the Pacific Northwest Regional Championship Nov. 23 at a site to be announced in California’s Santa Clara Valley.
The peewees will play a team from Southern Marin County and the junior midgets will play a team from Oregon.
If the peewees win the Pacific Northwest’s Division III for the second consecutive time, then the whole South Tahoe program will move to the higher Division II, which will allow South Tahoe to compete with larger programs such as Reno, Douglas, and Sparks.
Division II Pop Warner football is larger than Division III with a national championship in Orlando, Fla. each season.
“The whole thing is the kids having fun,” said Klug Jr. “We’d like to see the competition get a little stronger because that’s the competition they well see in High School … We’ve completely established the program. As Division III we are the dominant team. Everyone is looking to beat South Tahoe. We hope to do that in Division II after some time, as long as the program is progressing like it is right now.”
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