The 2010 Pop Warner Football season came to a dramatic end Saturday for the Huntington Beach Junior Pee Wee division Green Chargers.
The Tustin Red Cobras bolted to a 22-point lead in the Orange Empire Conference Division 1 semifinals but had to withstand a furious rally by the Green Chargers to come away with a 25-22 victory at Laguna Hills High.
The Green Chargers had their nine-game win streak snapped and ended their highly successful season with a 9-1 record.
Tustin kept its record perfect and improved to 10-0. The Red Cobras will play in the Jr. Pee Wee Division 1 Orange Bowl game Saturday.
Tustin's impressive kicking game allowed the Red Cobras to take a 22-0 lead. But momentum swung Huntington's way when Chase Ault returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point kick by EJ Ginnis brought the score to 22-8 with two minutes left in the first half. The Green Chargers defense then held and forced Tustin to punt and the kick was blocked at the line of scrimmage and Zack Edsell recovered the ball to set his team up in great field position.
On the next play, the Green Chargers stunned the Red Cobras on a touchdown pass from Griffin O'Connor to Ginnis. Tustin's lead had been trimmed to 22-14 at the half.
Huntington transferred that momentum to the second half, which began when an onside kick by Logan Harris was recovered by Shaun Colamonico. The Green Chargers then drove downfield behind the blocking of Luke Hoggard, Kyle Scotia, Matt Martinez, Joe Flannery and Xavier Salgado, to score again. O'Connor and Ginnis connected on a second touchdown pass to tie the score at 22.
The fourth quarter turned into a defensive struggle. Tustin came up with a crucial stop when it turned away Huntington at the four-yard line to prevent the Green Chargers from scoring the go-ahead points. With 38 seconds left in the game, the Red Cobras recovered a Huntington fumble and turned the takeaway into the winning points by connecting on a 28-yard field goal into the wind in the closing seconds.
Prior to Saturday's loss to Tustin, the Green Chargers opened postseason play Oct. 29 with a 13-6 victory over Saddleback Valley.
The Huntington Beach Jr. Pee Wee Green Chargers are: Chase Ault, Karson Ayres, Ryan Carmichael, Shaun Colamonico, Kyle Drinnon, Zach Edsell, Joe Flannery, Elijah Ginnis, Logan Harris, Isaiah Manos, Matthew Martinez, Jonathan Moreida, Griffin O'Connor, Xavier Salgado, Kyle Scotia, Caden Snyder, Jayden Stout, Nicholas Warren, Zane Webster and David Zamora. The team's staff is: Dave Snyder (head coach), Tim O'Connor (assistant coach/defensive coordinator); Dan Warren (assistant coach/linebackers); Ric Stout (assistant coach); Gregg Shulz (assistant coach), Bryan Noble (assistant coach), Jason Rhoads (trainer), Russ Tupperbrown (trainer), Brandon Drinnon (equipment), Julie Ault (team manager) and Lorrie Hoggard (team mom).
Pee Wee Division
The Huntington Beach Gold Chargers played in the Division 2 Orange Bowl on Sunday against the Brea Bengals at Estancia High in Costa Mesa. Brea came away with a 22-0 victory to win the division championship.
The Gold Chargers, who ended the year 8-2, earned a trip to the Orange Bowl by defeating previously undefeated Long Beach, 20-12, in a semifinal game Oct. 24.
The Huntington Beach Pee Wee division Gold Chargers are: Jake Adams, David Atencio, Kenny Carmichael, Joey Foster, Ryan Gale, Dominic Gonzalez, Austin Irvin, Cole Labrake, Cole Pellkofer, Michael Pierson, Jack Andros, Robert Bandaruk, Trevor Blake, Jacob DeMartini, Brandon Dyer, Cameron Geissler, Jacob Marines, Quentin Sandoval, Jacob Sievers, Mitch Valentin, Justin Zumwalt, head coach David Atencio and assistant coaches Rob Stillman, Rick Price, John Pierson, Dennis Atencio, Liam Russell, Ryan Gale, Ed Andros, Gabe Ricci and Dave Gonzalez.