In a highly contested defensive battle the previously unbeaten Badgers struck first late in the third quarter on a 50 yard run and subsequent end sweep to make it a 6 – 0.
Bridgewater led at the start of the fourth quarter.
As defenses traded possessions, the Red Raiders began a systematic drive starting in their own territory, running the clock but moving closer and closer to the Badger end zone.
With four minutes left in the game, quarterback, Will McNichols found an open tight end, Spencer Cassell on a 12 yard dump pass with an ensuing 20 yard dash to pay-dirt to tie the game, 6 – 6.
With the two-point conversion needed to take the lead, tailback Jonathan Bearden scampered around the right side on a toss sweep and with inches to spare dove into the end zone, completing the conversion and putting the Red Raiders on top 8 – 6 with three minutes to go in the game.
The suspense continued as the Badgers, stung but still motivated, mounted an admirable drive with less than three minutes left in the game. As the minutes turned to what seemed like hours, the Red Raider defense reared back with the kind of poise and toughness generally seen in older teams and thwarted all Bridgewater attempts at a comeback, preserving the Red Raider victory for team and fans.
The final drive doesn’t tell the entire story of the Super Bowl Game or the road travelled to get the 4th graders to where they sit today, atop the Division One Mite Standings as Super Bowl Champions.
The game itself was an extremely hard fought defensive standoff for most of the game. Superior defensive line play by the likes of Sean Ryan, Owen Reilly, Grant Teed, Chris O’Connor and McNichols held their ground all day, while aggressive linebackers in Spencer Cassell, Jack Clougherty and Henry Rentz plugged holes and made tackles. In addition, fast supporting cornerbacks in Lucas Barnes, Jonathan Bearden and safety Jack Johnson shut down the outside lanes and repelled passes. It was hard nose football played in the trenches against a strong and previously unbeaten opponent.
The game was not absent of offensive play, in fact, the Red Raiders moved the ball consistently varying its attack on all quadrants of the field.
Again, trench warfare was the order of the day and linemen soldiers like guard Trevor Smith and tackle Adrian Palmesano hammered away with their previously mentioned support comrades in tight end S. Cassell, tackle G. Teed, center C. O’Connor, guard O. Reilly and tight end J. Clougherty.
Lugging the rock was the hard charging tailback J. Bearden, accompanied by wingbacks Ryan Bern and Tristan Williamson, fullbacks H. Rentz and Hugh McLaughlin, coordinated by a cool and collected signal caller in W. McNichols.
Also not lost in this epic battle was the outstanding play of special teams and the support players in all phases of the game. High energy impact players in tight end Peter Lemanski,
Linebacker John Lowther, quarterback/cornerback AJ Wilk, defensive end Eric Germaine, tailbacks Nick Bern and Kelton Mildrum, tackles Sean Walsh, David White and David Mills and safety Leah White whose contribution day in and day out in games and in practice make this Red Raider team so special, they are all winners in every sense of the word and they proved it this past Sunday.
The 2010 HYF campaign for the 4th Grade Mites was one of overcoming adversity.
After starting with one win and three losses in the first four games, it was time for the team to accept the challenge or go through the motions and wait until next year.
The answer was clear and inspiring, the team re-focused, re-committed to discipline and toughness and played to their high potential reeling off six victories in a row capping it off with the Super Bowl win.
Along the way there was an upset victory over Barnstable.
Notwithstanding the overall success, of note is the Red Raider JV team which was undefeated with only one tie an amazing feat all unto itself.
The Red Raider Team combined varsity and JV pulled a proud accomplishment of a 15-3-1 record in 2010.
Congratulations to the 4th Grade Team, its coaches; Jeff Reilly, Peter Smith, John McNichols, Steve Mildrum and Mic Palmesano. In addition, a hearty thanks for the incredible support of team mothers in Mary Cassell and Christine Clougherty.
Thanks is also given to weigh-in reps, Glenn Teed and Rob Johnson and all parents that stuck by the program, supported the players, helped with tasks, donated time, money and effort all year.
It’s been a wonderful ride, see you next year.