Two undefeated Pop Warner Football teams, the Huntington Beach Green Chargers and Saddleback Valley Black Wolverines, collided Saturday to determine the leader in the Orange Empire Jr. Pee Wee Division standings.
When the dust settled, it was the Green Chargers who emerged with a hard-fought, 20-13 road victory and sole possession of first place.
Saddleback Valley struck first in the contest, scoring on its opening possession. The touchdown was the first given up this season by the Green Chargers' defense. But the Huntington offense responded immediately by moving 50 yards in six plays on its first drive, culminated by a touchdown pass from Griffin O'Connor to EJ Ginnis. A successful onside kick by Logan Harris later gave the Green Chargers possession and they proceeded to march down field and score when Karson Ayres drove over several Wolverine defenders from four yards out. It was the first touchdown of the season for Ayres. Ginnis put Huntington on top for good by scoring Huntington's first successful extra-point kick of the season for a 14-13 lead.
From there, defense dominated the remainder of the game. For Huntington, Chase Ault led the team in tackles, with Cameron Gonzales and Zane Webster holding up the middle. Shaun Colamonico sealed the victory when he intercepted a pass and returned it 75 yards for the clinching touchdown with a minute to play.
The Green Chargers (6-0) host the Anaheim Rams at 8 a.m. Saturday at Edison High.
Pee Wee Division
H.B. Blue Vikings 28, La Habra 0: The Blue Vikings ran their record to 3-1-1 by dominating the Lions.
Matthew Clark returned the opening kickoff 65 yards to set up a four-yard touchdown run by Brandon Laszlo. Nick Paulson added the two-point conversion kick. The Blue Vikings then recovered an onside kick and marched down field, a drive highlighted by runs of 17 and 28 yards by Peter McCoy and Andrew Schiffner, respectively. Laszlo completed the drive with an 11-yard scoring run.
Huntington's defensive also got into the scoring act when JJ Muratore intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. Conrad Myers added a three-yard conversion run to up the lead to 21-0. McCoy scored the final touchdown on a 13-yard run and Bryan Bravo ran in for the conversion.
The Blue Vikings defense stifled La Habra by not allowing a single first down in the opening half and just three total in the game. That defense was anchored by Laszlo, Myers, Paulson, Schiffner, McCoy and Matthew Zimmerman, with big contributions from Bravo, Jonathan Vanegas and Cameron Prohaska and Bravo.
The Blue Vikings host the Yorba Linda Rams at 9 a.m. Saturday at Marina High.
Jr. Mitey Mite Division
Garden Grove 20, H.B. Green Chargers 12: In a tight contest, the Garden Grove Bulldogs led the entire way and scored the clinching touchdown in the second half to overcome the Green Chargers.
Huntington drew to within 7-6 on a touchdown run by Jesse Sparks and was within 13-12 at the half after second-quarter runs by Sparks, Joey Valenta and Tanner Gunnell set up a two-yard touchdown run by Gunnell.
In the second half, Ryan Easterday and Phil Overturf had key tackles, Gavin Shappell, Jacob McLaughlin and Mar Yawn Washington held down the trenches and Jeremy Alcorn and Jaedon Davis both recovering fumbles for the Green Chargers.
H.B. Chargers 32, Garden Grove 6: Huntington overcame an early 6-0 deficit to rout the Orange Bulldogs for their first home win of the season. Quarterback Jerian Operana scored three touchdowns and Nick Daniel and Ethan Quick both scored once.
Huntington led, 14-6, at the half.