Despite a season-ending loss for the Arlington Hawks, a Pop Warner Division I Pee Wee football team, who fell to the Coal Oak Steelers, 34-18, in the Regional Championship game on Thanksgiving Day, the Hawks had plenty to be grateful for.
The squad, made up of approximately twenty 12 year-old boys, compiled an 8-1 record throughout the regular season, before heading down to North Carolina over the holiday to play in their first-ever regional contest.
Although the team came up short of a national championship appearance, the season was a success none the less. After being bested only once in the regular season to DC’s Beacon House team, the Hawks went on to cruise through the first two rounds of playoff contention versus the North Carolina Bulldogs (26-12) and the Greater Gaston Mountaineers (26-6) before advancing to the championship showdown.
The Regional Championship game covered the Mid South Region, which includes Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. There are eight regions in Pop Warner Football in the U.S., which includes 42 states. Besides a commitment to football, each Pop Warner football player is required to meet vigorous academic standards, making it among the nation’s toughest leagues.
With the hard-fought Regional Championship win, the Steelers team gain an automatic bid to the Pop Warner National Football Championships played at Walt Disney Stadium in Florida. Despite being out of national contention, the Hawks finished the season as one of the Top 16 Division I Pee Wee football teams in the nation and hope to build on the team’s newfound success. The squad will play as Division I Junior Midgets next year and look to duplicate the same offensive firepower, scoring at least 12 points in nearly every game that propelled them this year.