Redlands rallies for 5th grade crown
It was unlike a typical Mesa County Junior Football Association Super Bowl game.
It was, however, typical of a Chargers-Raiders 5th grade battle.
The Redlands Middle School Chargers, who had defeated the West Raiders 7-6 during the regular season, had to work just as hard Tuesday to win the 5th grade Super Bowl title.
The Chargers scored twice in the second half to defeat the Raiders 12-0 at windy Stocker Stadium.
“That’s how evenly matched these teams are,” Chargers head coach Chad Schaneman said.
The Chargers had to score a second-half touchdown to defeat the Raiders during the regular season. Tuesday, the teams struggled through a scoreless first half.
“It was tough,” Schaneman said. “Our offenses are evenly matched, our defenses are evenly matched. It’s like playing a mirror of ourselves.”
With 6:45 remaining in the third quarter, the Chargers’ Bryce Morse took a pitch and ran 15 yards around left end to break the scoreless tie.
“I followed my blockers,” Morse said. “Once I got close to the end zone I thought, ‘Now I’ve got to get it in.’ ”
The Raiders fumbled on their own 22-yard line on the next series, setting up the Chargers’ second touchdown. Quarterback Troy Dangler snuck it off right tackle for the last 21/2 yards for the score as time expired in the third quarter.
That left it up to the Chargers defense, which swarmed the Raiders, particularly out of the shotgun formation.
Having played them evenly during the regular season, Morse expected another close game in the championship.
“I was thinking it was going to end up like last time,” he said.
“They had really good defensive ends; it was really tough to run on them.”
“We could see they were keying on our strong-side runs,” Schaneman said.
He had his offense run a couple of reverses to set up the scoring runs.
That included a 38-yard touchdown run by Ryan Squirrell that was called back on a holding penalty.
Although the Raiders had the size advantage, “We do the fundamental things,” Schaneman said.
Schaneman has been coaching most of the players since they were in the Super Juniors program, and they’ve gone undefeated the past three years.
“We have all the tools,” Schaneman said.