Defense leads Chargers in junior football title
It was fitting that the defense carried the Redlands Middle School Chargers to the 6th grade Super Bowl title.
Tuesday night at Stocker Stadium, the Chargers withstood more than 40 plays by the Fruita Cowboys, holding them to six points for a 13-6 win in the championship game of the Mesa County Junior Football Association.
“We are undersized, but we play with a lot of heart,” Chargers coach Dominic Romero said. “We played hard all year and have an outstanding defense.”
The six points allowed matched the season total for the Chargers, who outscored their opponents coming into the game 415-6.
“The defense was out there a long time tonight,” Romero said. “This is a tough group who I am very proud of.”
While the defense carried the Chargers to the win, it was the offense that was firing out of the gates. The Chargers marched the ball 60 yards, with Jacob Trujillo scoring on a 24-yard touchdown run, putting the Chargers up 6-0 early.
The Cowboys held the Chargers on their next offensive series, then responded with a 10-play drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Issac Rodriguez.
With the game tied 6-6, it appeared as if the two teams would enter halftime tied, but the Chargers had different plans. With 12 seconds left, Redlands scored on a 33-yard touchdown run by Christian Ramirez.
“It was really important to score there,” said Ramirez who finished with 89 yards rushing. “It felt great.”
The Cowboys controlled the ball most of the second half with Rodriguez running the football, but couldn’t find a way into the end zone.
Rodriguez did everything he could to keep the Cowboys in the game, rushing 31 times for 117 yards running behind an offensive line of Sam Cyphers, Adam Archbold, Nathan Vidmar, Royce Neverland and Trinity Ross.
“He is a top-shelf kid. Athlete on the field and a very respectful kid,” Cowboys coach Andy Vidmar said.
“We played a really good team really tough and I am proud of them.”
As tough as Rodriguez was, it was the Chargers defense led by Jaekwon Robinson, Bryce Remmenga, Nicholas Chaffee, Austin Dana and Ramirez found themselves bending but never breaking as they didn’t allow a play over 15 yards all game.
“They really deserve it,” Romero said. “Those defensive stands really showed their true character.”