The Reading Pop Warner A Team spent the week in Disney World. And when they return home, they’re bringing the ultimate souvenir with them.
On Thursday afternoon, the Rockets cruised to a 39-13 victory over the Shaker Fire Raiders of Ohio, earning the national championship in the first ever Unlimited Bowl.
“It was a great day for Reading Pop Warner,” said head coach Dave Erwin. “It’s clearly a big deal for Pop Warner in town because no team has ever done it before. It’s great that other teams can realize that they can get here too. Just because you’re in Reading, doesn’t mean you can’t get to Disney.”
According to Erwin, the key to the championship victory was the team’s defense. The game was 26-0 at halftime, and much of the second half was played under running clock rules as a way to prevent an even more lopsided final score.
Erwin said his players started their celebratory high fives around the four-minute mark of the final quarter, and said the team was in a bit of disbelief that they had taken home the title.
“I hope they learned that hard work really can pay off,” said Erwin. “We weren’t the most athletic team on the field in every game. But if you don’t care who gets the credit, and you go out there and do your job, you can still win games. That translates to a lot of life lessons that they can hopefully take with them when this is all over.”
In addition to the action on the field, the players and families also visited several theme parks and enjoyed their time by the hotel pool.
But when it came down to game time, the kids were all business.
“They’ve been having a blast,” said Erwin. “Obviously the games have been fantastic for the kids and a lot of fun for the families who made the trip. We had great fan support, and obviously great support from the town before we left. This is something the kids will never forget, and neither will the coaches.”