Champion Chargers: Redlands wins two junior football titles

Tuesday was a good day to be a Charger, and not one of the San Diego variety.

Two youth football teams from the Redlands were playing in the first of Mesa County Junior Football Association’s Super Bowls, and in both the fifth and sixth grade games, the Chargers left Stocker Stadium with a championship.

After scoring 20 points in the first half of the fifth grade Super Bowl against Palisade, the Chargers didn’t have the second half that they wanted, as they were shut, although the defensive effort helpedthem hang on for a 20-18 victory.

“Two halves like the first half would have been what we were shooting for, but the Broncos are a good team. They played us tough,” Chargers coach Jaden Nourse said.

The Chargers scored on the first drive of the game with a 32-yard pass from Jax Nourse to Cade Richardson to put themselves up 6-0. The duo connected again later in the quarter on a 25-yard touchdown pass, and a kick by Jeremy Cutright made it 14-0.

The Broncos scored their first points of the game with four minutes left in the half on a 60-yard pass from Isaac Maestas to Tanner Hall. The Chargers scored once more for a 20-6 halftime lead.

The Broncos got back in the game by scoring 12 unanswered points in the second half. A large part of their success was keeping Redlands’ passing game in check.

“It’s been part of our offense to throw the ball and make them cover our guys and (Palisade) did a good job covering them,” Nourse said.

The Broncos found themselves in a position to tie the game with one minute left.

“The key to coming back is that they don’t like to lose,” Palisade coach Eric Pratt said with a laugh.

“These kids don’t quit. They’ll go 100 miles an hour until the final whistle, and that’s how they’re coached. We’re very proud of them.”

After getting the ball with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter, Maestas was able to break away for a 75-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 20-18.

A point-after conversion would have tied the game for the Broncos, but the Chargers were able to smother the ball before it was kicked, keeping the lead in their favor.

Palisade’s other score in the half came on a 1-yard run by Christian Clarkson on a drive that also featured Clarkson on a 33-yard run.

SIXTH GRADE

The Chargers’ older squad used a solid defense to beat the West Raiders 22-16.

“We knew it was going to be a tight game,” coach Chad Schaneman said. “We knew that they were going to score a little bit and it was going to be a one-touchdown game basically.”

The Redlands defense allowed touchdowns to the Raiders in the first and third quarters, but were able to stop their opponents four times in the final quarter, all within their defensive zone.

“We put it on the defense,” Schaneman said. “(West) adjusted to our offense and basically shut us down. We just had to keep shutting them down.”

The Chargers scored all 22 of their points in the second quarter. With 16 minutes left, Bryce Morse broke off a 37-yard touchdown run. Less than eight minutes later Brody Cupp scored on a 24-yard run.

Thirty seconds after Cupp’s touchdown, Ethan Naranjo was able to pick up a fumble for the chargers and take it to the 4-yard line.

A few plays later, Morse scored his second touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run.

Andre Medina scored both of the Raiders’ touchdowns. His first came in the first quarter on an 85-yard pass from Kaden Heinsma.  He also scored in the third quarter on a 31-yard run.

The lightweight and heavyweight championship games are tonight at Stocker Stadium.


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