Coach Abram Booty has always noticed his Newport-Mesa Junior All-American Midget Seahawks to be excited before every practice and each game. The 13-year-olds came with a higher level of intensity, no nerves, really, for the Orange County Junior All-American Super Bowl on Saturday night.
The Seahawks want to be special. They want to be great, Booty says.
The Super Bowl, against the Carson Colts, started nearly an hour past the scheduled 8 o'clock start at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs. But still the Seahawks were ready and willing to complete an undefeated season.
"It was a different level of anticipation," said Booty, who is also the head coach of the Sage Hill School football program. "There were like 1,000 fans there, people from the other championship games. Just a lot of people. [The Seahawks] have been great players under pressure. As an example, they went four for four on fourth downs [in the Super Bowl]."
For the second straight year, the Seahawks went 11-0 after a 20-14 victory to capture their second straight Super Bowl. Last year, they did it in the Pee Wee Division for 11- and 12-year-olds.
Two undefeated seasons, 22-0.
"We have a lot of good players," Booty said. "That's always a foundation of a great team. Our coaching staff put a lot of great effort into it too. The boys just executed. Defensively, we were strong. We were just a good all-around team. They're eighth-graders. Most teams don't see a lot of throwing at them at that level and we threw the ball effectively. Our quarterback and wide receivers were advanced. Defensively, we had an attacking style. The boys were fundamentally sound in tackling and hitting. Our coaches did a great job on that. The game ended at 11:15 p.m. and it was cold. They have a lot to proud to be of. It's the best two seasons ever in the history of Newport-Mesa Junior All-American."
Quarterback General Booty, the coach's son, was named MVP of the Super Bowl. General Booty ran for a TD and threw a touchdown pass in the second half to help the Seahawks break away from an 8-8 halftime score.
Late in the fourth quarter, the quarterback pushed forward for a three-yard gain on a fourth-and-one. He then hit John Humphreys for a three-yard touchdown for a 20-8 lead with just under two minutes to play.
Carson, which suffered just two losses this season (both to Newport-Mesa), scored quickly to pull within 20-14, but the Seahawks recovered the onside kick to end the game.
"[The Seahawks] were playing some of the best teams out of Los Angeles," Coach Booty said. "There is a lot of talent. They answered the bell every week. This is a special group of boys. They want to be great. It's easy to coach and be around a group like that. It was a joy coaching them. This is one of the best groups I've ever been around."
Carson opened the scoring in the Super Bowl early on, went for two and took an 8-0 lead. Adam Molloy, who rushed for 76 yards and had been a strong running back all season, gave the Seahawks their first six points with a five-yard TD run. General Booty found Mark Redman for the two-point conversion pass.
General Booty completed 16 of 22 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown. Humphreys, also a strong safety, led the Seahawks with 140 yards receiving. Danny Hatch and Redman also made key receptions.
Noah Avinger added important yardage both rushing and receiving. Josh Fritts, Charlie Levis and Shane Rooney also added strong support on offense.
Strong defense from Cole Renner, Tyler Narayan, Jake Caldwell, Jaden Genova, Hudson Roth, Michael Vaughn-Gallegos, Christian Roy, Max Farzine, William Leys and Luke Sullivan helped hold the Colts to a season-low 111 yards rushing.
The defensive backfield including Ethan Garbers, Mason Gecowets, Luca Bacci, Connor McDonald and Anthony Davidson allowed only three Carson receptions.
Also, Carole Gecowets, "has been the best team mom. She's the MVP of our team," Abram Booty said.
It all made for a memorable season and a momentous two-year run.
2 Max Farzine
66 William Leyes
55 Tyler Narayan
1 Noah Avinger
27 Luca Bacci
4 General Booty
12 Jake Caldwell
24 Anthony Davidson
32 Josh Fritts
11 Ethan Garbers
6 Mason Gecowets
57 Jaden Genova
80 Danny Hatch
3 John Humphreys
13 Charlie Levis
18 Connor McDonald
33 Adam Molloy
14 Mark Redman
99 Cole Renner
22 Shane Rooney
77 Hudson Roth
44 Luke Sullivan
25 Michael Vaughn-Gallegos