Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Super Bowl champions crowned –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
A beautiful sunny fall afternoon turned into a chilly football weather evening on Saturday, Oct. 22 as Freedom Field in West Union played host to the finale of the 2016 season for the youth football teams of the Southern Ohio Independent League. Four games were set on the gridiron, beginning with an Elementary JV game deemed the Sugar Bowl, then an Elementary Varsity contest known as the Rose Bowl, then concluding with the Elementary JV and Varsity title games, called the Super Bowls. The day was hosted by the North Adams football program and was a big success with big crowds full of excited parents and family members, along with eight teams of excited youngsters on the football field.
First up was a match up between a pair of third and fourth grade squads, West Union battling the Southern Buckeye Warriors in the “Sugar Bowl.” It was the Dragons scoring first with 1:23 left in the first quarter on a touchdown run by Landen Fulton and the two-point conversion run by Wyatt Traylor to lead 8-0. With 5:25 to go in the second period, the Dragons scored again on a TD run by Landen Campbell and two-point run by Jaden Cockrill to stretch their lead to 16-0.
With 1:34 to go on the first half, West Union got a long touchdown jaunt from Gavin Jarvis to lead 22-0, but the Warriors marched right down before the intermission to get a scoring run from Landen Koehler and it looked like that would be it for the first half, but the Dragons had other ideas. On the final play of the half, West Union got a touchdown pass from Fulton to Jarvis and a two-point conversion to lead 30-6 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Dragons got a touchdown run from Cockrill to take a 38-6 lead and enforce the running clock rule used by high school teams in the state. That caused the rest of the game to fly by rather rapidly and when the final seconds ran out, the Dragons had taken the Sugar Bowl by that final count of 38-6.
Next up was the fifth and sixth grade battle, the “Rose Bowl”, pitting West Union versus Manchester.
This one was all Dragons behind the strong running of Domonick Webb as they blanked the Greyhounds 18-0. The scoring began early for the winners, in fact within the first minute, as Colby Harover rushed in and stripped the ball from the Greyhound quarterback and took it all the way for the score and a 6-0 advantage. Later in the first quarter, a long TD run by Harover put West Union in front 12-0.
With 2:56 left in the first half, the Dragons were on the board again on another Harover run and led at halftime 18-0. That is how the game ended as neither team crossed the goal line in the final two periods, though the Hounds got close in the final stanza but were turned away by a strong West Union goal line stand as the Dragons celebrated a win in the Rose Bowl.
Game three was the first of the Super Bowl contests, matching up the third and fourth grade squads from Manchester and North Adams. After a scoreless first quarter, the Greyhounds got on the board first on a touchdown run by Leland Horner. That 6-0 score held until halftime and it wasn’t until the 1:14 mark of the third quarter that anyone scored again, and again it was the Hounds as Braden Cummings scored to make it 12-0.
That rest of the contest was a defensive struggle, with neither team changing the scoreboard and for the second season in a row, Manchester was hoisting the Super Bowl Trophy, crowned as JV Champions with a 12-0 victory.
The final game of the evening was played totally under the lights and with a bit of chill in the air, but perfect weather for kids to play football, and the Elementary Varsity Super Bowl matched up the North Adams Devils and the Southern Buckeye Warriors. As in the preceding game, the first quarter was scoreless, but the Devils dominated the second stanza, first getting a one-yard scoring run from Ethan Beekman to take a 6-0 lead, and then with 2:14 left in the first half, a long touchdown run by Zane Knechtly put North Adams up 12-0. The Warriors threatened late in the half as two long pass plays put them in scoring position but a bad snap and two quarterback sacks by the Devils’ defense snuffed out the scoring opportunity.
The third quarter was a defensive showcase, with nothing for either team, but early in the fourth, the Warriors got on the board after an interception and long return by Quentin Collins led to a later scoring pass that made it 12-6 with 4:52 to play. The Warriors got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead but their opportunity was thwarted with another North Adams QB sack on fourth down that gave the ball back to the Devils and they iced the title with another TD run by Beekman and it was time for the North Adams boys and their large contingent of fans to celebrate as their team made it back-to-back Super Bowl titles with the 18-6 win.
All in all, and through the efforts of many all season long, Super Saturday was a huge success and proved to many that the future of football in Adams County is very bright.