One game away from nationals, North Creek’s Junior Peewee Pop Warner football team has made a name for itself around the Pacific Northwest region.
The Jaguars are Pop Warner’s latest band of upstarts.
North Creek’s Junior Peewee team made the Pacific Northwest Region championship in its first season, going 7-0 and winning the Greater Northwest League title.
Head coach James Ronneberg said the team has had a different star each week.
“It’s really been a team effort,” he said. “We’ve had eight running backs throughout the year and multiple quarterbacks. It’s been everybody.”
Though the players are still young, ages 9-11, the program will eventually feed into North Creek High School, which is set to open in 2017 with a full slate of varsity athletic programs. The Pop Warner team bears the same mascot and same colors as the new high school.
Expect to see some of the same kids in purple and black over the next few seasons.
“The secret really is about how the kids have bonded this year,” Ronneberg said. “As a first-year program, they really came together and immediately accepted one another. They gave everything they had.”
North Creek beat the East County Jets on Oct. 30 in Vancouver for the league title, then beat the Mid-Valley Foxes Black at on Nov. 6 Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.
North Creek beat the Spokane Valley Titans on Nov. 12 in Cheney, advancing to the Pacific Northwest championship game on Nov. 20 at Doc Harris Stadium Vancouver.
The Jaguars then fell for the first time in 2016, dropping to 12-1, after a loss to Peninsula East Bay on Nov. 20.
The season, though, doesn’t end here. North Creek is set to compete in the Best of the West tournament in Santa Clara, Calif. on Dec. 3-4.