SAFETY FIRST…SAUQUOIT WINS POP WARNER D-3 TRI-VALLEY POP WARNER TITLE
Waterville’s Justin Piersma (12) is tracked down by Sauquoit’s Jacob Miles (21) early on.
Photos-Jeff Pexton-PGI Photo
For the hundreds of players, families, coaches and volunteers within the Tri-Valley Pop Warner Association, the last Saturday in October each year is, well, the Superbowl.
Today was no exception as Waterville High School once again played host to the top two teams in each Tri-Valley pop Warner division, to decide the 2012 Champions.
The first game of the day today featured the Sauquoit Indians and the Waterville Eagles for the Division III, Junior Pee Wee title.
On a simply beautiful late Autumn morning with temperatures feeling more like August than October, these two teams met again for the second time in three weeks, this time for all the marbles.
Just three Sundays ago, Sauquoit handed Waterville a heart breaking 13-12 loss and the Indians remained unbeaten at (4-0). Coming into today’s final, Sauquoit carried a record of (6-0) in Division III, while Waterville came in at (5-1).
Call it case of big game jitters, or call it a case of little kids playing a big tackle football game at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday, but whatever you call it, neither team mounted much of a threat in the first 10 minutes of this one, resulting in a tie score and 0-0.
Sauquoit had their opportunities , recovering two Waterville fumbles, but the Indians couldn’t capitalize in the early going.
The second quarter saw the Indians finally break through, when tailback Ethan Martin took a hand off from Seth Zimmer and #33 scampered 42 yards around the right side for a Sauquoit touchdown, bringing the large contingent of Indians faithful to their feet.
The extra point run was stuffed by the Waterville defense and Sauquoit held a 6-0 lead with 6:43 remaining in the first half.
Despite some fireworks from both teams late in the second quarter, including a 53 yard run by Waterville’s Justin Piersma and a 47 yard punt return by Sauquoit’s Seth Zimmer, neither team was able to cross the goal line and went to the intermission with Sauquoit holding a 6-0 advantage.
The third quarter saw the Eagles of Waterville finally break the ice, as Piersma bolted on a 29 yard touchdown run with 7:36 remaining to go in the next to last frame.
Piersma’s touchdown run was set up by a Sauquoit fumble on its opening drive of the second half.
Waterville’s extra point run was good by Piersma and the Eagles took a 7-6 lead in what was becoming a real nail biter.
The remainder of the third quarter saw Sauquoit go on a nice ball possession drive, featuring runs by Ethan Martin and Jacob Miles and a nifty 11 yard keeper by Zimmer.
Sauquoit’s drive totaled 67 yards and resulted in a first and goal from the Eagles 8 yard line with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
Waterville’s defense went on to stop the Indians cold on four consecutive plays inside the ten to take over on downs at their own 2 yard line, with 4:21 to go in the ball game.
The Sauquoit defense then picked up the slack for its exhausted offense, when Seth Zimmer sliced through the Waterville line and nailed Luke Campion in the end zone for a safety, giving Sauquoit an unbelievable 8-7 lead, with just under four minutes to go.
Waterville was unable to score on its ensuing possession and the Sauquoit Indians ran out the clock after taking over on downs to claim the 2012 Tri-Valley Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wee Division III Championship!
Congratulations to both teams on an absolutely phenomenal football game, which was played at a much higher level than the age groups who were actually on the field.
Thanks very much to the Tri-Valley Pop Warner Association for their great hospitality and for once again putting on a completely first class event for all of these kids!
Best of luck to Sauquoit as you advance to regional play next weekend!