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LEAGUE CHAMPS 2009!!
REDLANDS FACTS ARTICLE
Article Launched: 12/18/2008 12:41:02 PM PST
REDLANDS - In more than 14 years of coaching Junior All-American football in Redlands, John Villa had never won a Super Bowl.
That changed on Nov. 29 with Villa's Redlands Pee Wee Terriers defeated the Hesperia Trojans 50-16 to become Super Bowl champions.
"I've been coaching for a long time and this is definitely the most talented team I've been around," said Villa, whose team went 11-1 in one of the best seasons ever for a Redlands Pee Wee team. "I'm not sure about the history, but this might be Redlands' first Super Bowl at the Pee Wee level in 35 years."
Comprised of 10- to 12-year-olds with a weight maximum of 140 pounds and 13-year-olds with a weight maximum of 125 pounds, the Redlands Pee Wee Terriers dominated the competition on both sides of the field this season.
Redlands allowed only 22 points in eight league games while racking up 287 points.
They kept it going in the playoffs, following up a first-round bye with a 35-0 victory over the Desert Valley Hawks in the quarterfinals and a 30-6 smashing of the Colton Yellowjackets in the semifinals.
"The closest game we had during the regular season was a 22-point win," Villa said. "We had a great group of kids who worked really hard in practice and never let up. All 23 players were talented and contributed to an overall team effort."
Facing the Hesperia Trojans in the Super Bowl, Redlands left no doubt as to who the better team was.
"I've been coaching for about five years now and if you can have four or five stud athletes and a few other good players, you will be very good," said offensive line coach Jeffrey Harmon. "This team had that and more. There was a just a ton of talent and the only problem we had was trying to figure out who would play where."
On offense, Redlands had five running backs finish with more than 100 yards rushing - Craig Lee, C.J. Febres, Kristofer Perdigon, Tre Wilcoxen and Julius Humphrey.
Quarterback Jacob Nottingham handled the majority of snaps for Redlands and utilized the skills of receivers Daniel Gonzales, Anthony Mendez, Tanner Shreve, Tristian Jones, Febres and Lee to create a potent air attack.
Joseph Scott, Tien Mrotek, Jones, Ryan Faimalo, Wilcoxen, Jeffrey Harmon, Gonzales, Jonah Moi and Julius Humphrey led a defense that posted shutouts in seven of its 12 games.
"It was just a great year for us," Harmon said. "Pee Wee is the last year all of the kids can play together. Half of them are going to RHS and half of them are going to REV. With this team right here there are probably, if they all keep growing and developing, a good six to seven guys who could be Division I-level kids."
With their Super Bowl win, Redlands advanced to the Mega Bowl, where they lost to the Corona Chargers 28-8.
Redlands was hampered by injuries to Lee, who separated his shoulder, and Joseph Scott. Redlands turned the ball over eight times in the game.
But even with the loss, the season will be remembered fondly by the coaches and players.
"It was incredible," Harmon said. "Especially given the fact that when the season started, Coach Villa hadn't won a Super Bowl in 15 years. He changed up everything and went to a Wing-T offense and it worked. The kids bought in and we had a great season."