BY MATT MENCARINI | SPORTS EDITOR
In case you didn’t have enough sports right now, with the Final Four and the start of baseball, on top of the NHL and the NBA seasons heading toward a close, there’s local football to be discussed.
This weekend, two Ormond Beach Pop Warner teams will play for titles in an 8-on-8 football league, with another playing to advance to a championship game.
Two of the teams, made up of 10- and 11-year-olds, will play either the Oceanway Buccaneers or the Central Florida Grizzlies for their respective division championships.
The other, made up of 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds, will play the Palm Beach Gators, with the winner heading to the championship.
“I think it’s a good matchup for us,” coach Brandon Campbell said. “They're a pretty solid team, but the way our kids have performed this season — I don't want to be cocky — but I feel we’re one the best teams out there.”
Campbell may be right.
His team went 5-1 in the regular season and didn’t give up more than a touchdown in a game until the playoffs, when they gave up two in one game, but still won.
And they did all that with nearly half the team playing football for the first time — six of the 14 players, Campbell said.
Some of them are playing because they wanted to give football a shot, to see if they like it before they join a team in the fall, when Campbell said the coaching and competition gets more intense. Others are playing to prepare for the fall.
The Sandcrabs’ lone regular season loss came against the Orlando Raiders, in a 6-0 game, which came down to one play, a Raiders touchdown run up the sideline. The runner, Campbell said, was inches from stepping out of bounds. The Raiders won the rest of their regular season games by about 30 points, he added.
So, naturally, Campbell and the Sandcrabs have revenge on their minds.
“If we both win this weekend, and we get a second chance to play them, we’ll be excited,” Campbell said. “It”ll be the biggest thing, because they got a win and stole one from us.”
Campbell said his team wants to show the Raiders, an all-star team, that not only can they play with them, they can beat them.