Danglers lead Chargers to fifth-grade crown
Brothers Aden and Ty Dangler didn’t know the game of football until they were adopted and came to the United States six years ago.
“I love football,” Aden yelled. “It’s one of the best sports in the whole world.”
The Dangler boys combined to run for 184 yards Tuesday night to lead the undefeated Redlands Chargers to the Mesa County Junior Football Association fifth-grade Super Bowl title at Stocker Stadium. The Chargers (9-0) defeated the West Raiders 32-0.
“The Dangler boys are good athletes, but more than that, they are good kids,” Chargers coach Ron Richardson said. “They have great hearts. Ty has a special place in my heart. I call him ‘Sweetness’ because he reminds me of Walter Payton, but he’s also the most tender-hearted kid you’ll meet. He’s not a glory guy.”
The Dangler boys’ father, Jason Dangler, figured they would be good runners, but he didn’t imagine them becoming football players.
“We were in Ethopia (to adopt Aden and Ty). The people told us the people in their village are big, giant men,” Jason said. “We didn’t think much of it, but they are big and fast. That’s where they get their running talent.”
Aden, 10, was looking to pass on fourth-down-and-21, but he was pressured, and the quarterback scrambled to his left, found a hole and scored on a 54-yard run for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
The score stood until the second half.
“I didn’t see anybody open, so I ran the fastest I could,” Aden said. “My team did a great job of blocking.”
West (8-2) moved into Chargers territory in the second quarter with a couple Max Marsh pass completions, but the drive stalled. The Chargers took over on their own 14-yard line and drove deep into the Raiders’ territory but fumbled the ball in scoring territory. The Raiders recovered to end the first half.
“We made some adjustments at halftime, and our guys came out and performed to what I think is their ability,” Richardson said, adding they were awed by the experience. Richardson held his hands about shoulder-width apart when he said, “Their eyes were this big in the first half.”
Ty Dangler, 11, got the Chargers going in the third quarter with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“He’s got lightning speed,” Aden said of Ty’s kickoff return for a score. “Nobody can stop him. He’s the fastest guy in the fifth grade.”
“He changed the momentum a little bit for us and gave us some confidence we definitely lacked in the first half,” Richardson said.
The Chargers’ Cameron Pollard intercepted the Raiders on their next possession, and Aden Dangler led the Chargers to another score and an 18-0 lead. He completed two passes before scoring on a one-yard run.
Aden completed seven of 13 passes for 61 yards, including a six-yard touchdown pass to Chavis Nourse early in the fourth quarter for a 25-0 lead.
Ty added a 22-yard TD run later in the game.
“We had a good group of kids,” Richardson said. “While we had the Dangler boys, we had a lot of depth on our team. In our skill positions, we were six or seven deep. We had plenty of skill. We had plenty of speed.”