In the sixth week of its season, the Huntington Beach Junior Midget Gold Chargers won a championship.
The Gold Chargers improved to 6-0 and clinched their division title and an automatic playoff bid by routing the Pasadena Trojans, 36-8, in Pop Warner Football action in Pasadena on Saturday.
Both teams were 5-0 heading into the game with the league title on the line.
"I have to admit, when the boys started warming up, I was a bit concerned," Gold Chargers Coach David Atencio said. "They looked flat, (had) no energy, it was a long drive and a hot day. But as soon as we started our pre-game chant and they ran onto the field, my fear was immediately calmed. They were in it to win it from the very first hit."
Huntington's first drive of the game proved successful as quarterback Gasper Ramirez rushed for a touchdown and Michael Pierson followed with a two-point conversion kick. The Gold Chargers got the ball right back when Jacob Price recovered an onside kick. They again worked their way downfield and went up, 14-0, on a five-yard run by Christian Baskharoon.
Ramirez scored on a 15-yard run from a wedge formation executed by Cole Pellkofer, Jack Andros, Patrick Tomich and Brenden O'Connell. Pierson's kick made it 22-0 in the second quarter. Following a score by Pasadena, Baskharoon intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards. That set up a six-yard touchdown run by running back David Atencio, who carried three defenders into the end zone. Pierson's third conversion kick of the half gave the Gold Chargers a 28-8 lead at the intermission.
Quentin Sandoval rushed for Huntington's final touchdown in the third quarter.
The Gold Chargers were led defensively by Ramirez, Atencio, Baskharoon, Andros, Sandoval, Kenny Carmichael, Troy Jacobs and Price, who in addition to recovering an onside kick, had an interception in the fourth quarter.
"Pasadena was the team to beat," Coach David Atencio said. "They were undefeated and they beat us last year for the league championship. The boys kept playing until the final whistle blew and we could hold our helmets high. I'm very proud of everyone's effort."
Huntington takes on Palos Verdes Saturday in nonleague play. The Gold Chargers play a quarterfinal-round playoff game Oct. 15.
Mighty Mite Division
Saddleback Valley 27, Huntington Beach 0: Big plays did in the Huntington Beach Green Chargers, who fell to the league's only undefeated team Saturday at Edison High. Saddleback Valley scored its four touchdowns on long runs against a Chargers defense that was otherwise holding its own. Outside of its four touchdown runs, Saddleback Valley had only 23 yards of total offense.
"They never really moved the ball on us, they just executed the big plays," Chargers Coach Dareld Karns said. "Our defense was there but we had quite a few missed tackles that cost us."
Saddleback Valley's longest TD run came on a 69-yard reverse.
"When they run a play like that, we have basically two guys on the side they're going," Karns said. "Those two guys have to stay at home and not bite. But they bit."
Huntington's offense never got inside the Saddleback Valley 35-yard-line the entire game. Christopher Soto, playing both halfback and quarterback, ran 12 times for 34 yards including one run of 17 yards. He also completed two passes, both to Cole Koffler, totaling 15 yards. Soto also was sacked three times.
Koffler recovered a fumble for the Chargers, the only turnover by either team in the game.
"The passing game was open but it's not easy to have a passing game at this level," Karns said. "(Saddleback Valley) didn't pass at all. We're getting there, we'll continue to work on the passing game until it works. It's an instructional year."
The Chargers (2-4) are home Saturday at Edison High against the La Habra Silver Lions. Kickoff is 9 a.m.
— Joe Haakenson
Jr. All-American Football
The Huntington Beach Jr. Clinic Oilers continued on their season's roll Saturday by keeping their record perfect in a convincing 38-6 victory over the Mission Viejo Cowboys.
Dominic Peseti's touchdown run and Lyrik Fata's ensuing conversion run the final minute of the first quarter gave Huntington a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Nate Skorheim, behind the blocking of Nick Skorheim, Nate Halloran and Aden Eckenwiler, scored on a quarterback sneak for the Oilers' second score. Mission Viejo threatened in the second quarter by driving inside the Huntington one-yard line, but the Oilers defense held in four plays and took over on downs.
Nate Skorheim rushed for a third-quarter touchdown on a drive that included a big run by Daryeus Smolenski. Peseti got his second rushing touchdown in the second half and Nate Skorheim returned an interception to the Cowboys 10-yard line and then threw a touchdown pass on the next play to running back Jonah Del Rosario.
Halloran, Jake Favazza, Blake Gilbert, Tristan Britt, Luke Frederick and Garrett Dailey led an Oilers defense that gave up just one score.
Long Beach 32, Huntington Beach 0: Huntington trailed, 26-0 at the half but adjusted on defense and showed potential in its newly implemented offensive scheme in the second half in the loss to the Jackrabbits. Zachary Italasano had two sacks off corner blitzes in the second half and Seth Warren had a strong game on the defensive line. Running backs Trent Fletcher, Garrett Wildermuth and Chandler Fincher continued to impress.
The Oilers host Baldwin Hills at 11 a.m. Saturday at Huntington Beach High.
Pee Wee Division
Long Beach 47, Huntington Beach 6: The Oilers got off to a promising start against Long Beach but the Jackrabbits took control in the second half and cruised to the win. Huntington took an early 6-0 lead and was down by only 7-6 at halftime.
Huntington will attempt to get back on the winning track Saturday when it hosts the South Bay Packers at 1 p.m. at Huntington Beach High.
Junior Midget Division
Huntington was idle last week and returns to action Saturday with a 3 p.m. home game against the South Orange County Patriots at Huntington Beach High.
Junior Future Division
The Oilers also were idle last weekend and resume action at 9:30 a.m. Saturday against the Woodcrest Generals at Huntington Beach High.