THOUSAND OAKS - In his 13 years in the Pacific Youth Football League, coach Don Ashley had never had one of his midget division squads finish undefeated and win the league’s Super Bowl. But this year, Ashley and his Burbank Green Vikings team were on the cusp of doing just that as they matched up against the North Oxnard Red Warriors at Thousand Oaks High School in the championship game.
The Vikings did not let the opportunity pass them by Saturday afternoon, seizing the day with a 54-6 blowout victory over the Warriors to finish with a perfect record and the elusive Super Bowl win.
“It’s the first time I’ve had 23 kids with the same vision,” Ashley said. “Twenty-three groups of parents all with the same dream. It’s awesome. The boys played well. They played well and worked hard.”
Burbank Green (12-0), the No.1 seed out of the East bracket, jumped out early against North Oxnard (9-3), the No. 3 seed out of the West bracket, dominating the first quarter. On the second snap of the contest, JimE DeYoung ran around the left side for a 45-yard gain. On the next play, Anthony Spearman carried the ball in from 11 yards out for the game’s first touchdown just 50 seconds in.
“I thought it was cool that I got the first touchdown,” Spearman said.
Spearman also ran for the two-point conversion and, later in the first, added a 12-yard touchdown run and the Vikings led, 14-0, after one quarter. The Vikings racked up 160 first-quarter yards while limiting the Warriors to just one.
“The start of the game is everything, especially with kids like this [ages 11 and 12],” Ashley said. “You’ve got to come out fast.”
Near the end of the first quarter, Burbank’s Tobi Baklayan made an interception, which he helped turn into points on the first play of the second by taking a designed quarterback run seven yards for a touchdown.
The ensuing kickoff pinned North Oxnard deep and the Burbank defense did the rest, forcing a punt from the end zone. It did not go well, landing on the nine-yard line where DeYoung scooped it up for a short punt return score.
North Oxnard answered that score with a 43-yard reverse for a touchdown by Ethan Fecuich and the score was 27-6 at the break. The Vikings then scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter: first on a 27-yard touchdown run by Baklayan and then, following a Nikolas Candido interception, on a two-yard rush by Mason Cotton.
The fourth quarter belonged to Viking Max Birch after the Vikings pulled their starters. On his team’s first play of the quarter, Birch ran 47 yards for a touchdown. He then recorded a sack on defense, before taking his second carry 33 yards for another score to finish with two carries for 80 yards.
“This was my first [season] playing tackle,” Birch said.
Burbank Green had five players rush for at least 49 yards. They were led by DeYoung with eight carries for 85 yards followed by Birch. Spearman had eight carries for 64 yards and the two scores. Baklayan had eight carries for 60 yards and his two scores, going along with two of six passing for 43 yards. Cotton had 49 yards on eight carries with the score.
“My offensive line and defensive line controlled the whole game,” Ashley said. “The holes were huge for the running backs. Everybody hit and attacked well.”
This is not the end for the Vikings. Next week they travel to Las Vegas for games on Thanksgiving and the next Saturday against competition from other regions of the country.
“We’re having our Thanksgiving dinner out there,” Ashley said.