Kenai Peninsula Pop Warner wraps up season

  • By Staff Report
  • Friday, November 13, 2015 12:07am
  • Sports

Of the five middle-schools football state championships contested in Alaska history, Soldotna has won four and Kenai Central has one.

Of the 15 small-schools championships contested, Kenai Central has won five, Soldotna has four and Nikiski has four.

Kenai Peninsula Pop Warner, which president Kory Armstrong said has been around for about 15 years, has no intention of shutting off the pipeline to the Peninsula schools anytime soon.

The Pop Warner regular season ended in late September, while the postseason ended in early October.

But the Junior Midget team, ages 10 to 13 and weights 95 to 155, will continue its season Nov. 21 in the Pacific Northwest Region Regional Championships.

The Saints will play in the Division III Northern Region Championships against the Spokane North Falcons at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, Washington.

Head coach Sarge Truesdell, the former head coach for Soldotna High School, wrote in an email that the majority of the team has been together since 4 years old, meaning they now have nine seasons together.

Truesdell has coached the team since they were Mitey Mites, going 4-3 the first season but reeling off records of 7-0, 7-0, 7-2, 9-0 and 7-0 since then. The 7-0 this season includes a state championship.

There will be 23 players making the trip to Washington — 14 from Skyview Middle School, five from Kenai Middle School, two from Nikiski Junior/Senior High School, one from K-Beach Elementary and one from Cook Inlet Academy.

The Pee Wee Team, for ages 9 to 12, also had a successful season, going 7-1 with the lone loss coming in the state title game.

Head coach Layne Guigler wrote that the team has 22 players that attend nine different schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The team has been together for three years. In 2013, in the Jr. Pee Wee division, the squad went 6-2 and won state. Last season, the team also was 7-1 with a loss in the state title game.

“The team plays with great sportsmanship and never gives up,” Guigler wrote. “They have built a bond that will only grow over time.”

The Saints Jr. Pee Wee team consists of 8- to 11-year-olds.

“We had a year with lots of first time players, a learning experience for all involved,” assistant coach Coyt Armstrong wrote.

Armstrong said the coaches taught a new offense and the fundamentals of football. He said the players with experience did a great job leading the new players.

“It was amazing to see how far all the kids had come from the first day of practice to the last day,” Armstrong wrote.

Kenai Peninsula Pop Warner also had a Mitey Mites team for those 7, 8 and 9 years old.

“For many of them it was their first year playing, so there was an intense learning curve with them having to understand the different positions in football, offense and defense, and they had to learn a variety of plays,” Team Mom Heidi Vann wrote.

Vann said the team did a good job in traveling to Eagle River for a few games and even hosting three home games.

The Saints Tiny Mite squad, for those 5 to 7 years old, is a training division. No score or winner is kept for each game, but the 26 members on the team got in seven games.

“From day one of practice to the final game in Eagle River, our players improved drastically and learned a lot,” Team Mom Sara Bieber wrote. “Most importantly, they had fun.”

Armstrong said more kids are always welcome to join by searching Kenai Peninsula Pop Warner on the Internet or going to registration booths in the spring or early summer at the Kenai River Festival or Safeway. Armstrong also said to watch for announcements on the 2016 season, including early bird registration.

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