This team of hard-working and dedicated 11- and 12-year-old boys had an undefeated regular season; giving up only 12 points the entire season led by defensive coordinator Kevin Emerson. They then went on to win the Westcon Regional Championship; securing their place in the Dec. 2-10 National Championship.
The team’s coaches, led by head coach Pete Balistreri, taught the boys the importance of working hard and never giving up, while also stressing having fun and team sportsmanship. Many of these boys are All-American Scholars, with the importance of education emphasized frequently by Balistreri and his coaching team.
The team was awarded the 2016 San Diego Pop Warner Sportsmanship Award, which exemplified their good sportsmanship both on and off the field. Many of the boys have been playing football together since elementary school and most reside in the Point Loma community and nearby neighborhoods.
With 29 boys on the team, seven coaches and several team assistants heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla., the team has established a GoFundMe page to help offset some of the financial responsibilities. There will also be additional fundraising efforts throughout San Diego before the team departs on Dec. 2.
The Football National Championships, known as the Pop Warner Super Bowl, consists of 64 teams from eight Pop Warner Regions playing in five age/weight classifications (Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Varsity, Varsity and Unlimited). There are also two playing divisions, Division I and Division II.
More than 85 games take place throughout the seven-day event in December, including the Division I Jr. Varsity National Championship game, which will be featured on ESPNU shortly after the event and throughout the NFL Super Bowl week. Throughout the week, 24 games are also aired live on WatchESPN.
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