14U Little Panthers win Championship

BY COLTEN STEELE
WEEKLY REPORTER

O'Fallon Little Panthers 14U Quarterback Bruce Harris prepares to launch a pass while evading JJK defensemen during Sunday's championship win. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’Fallon Little Panthers 14U Quarterback Bruce Harris prepares to launch a pass while evading JJK defensemen during Sunday’s championship win. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON –The 14U Little Panthers football team coached by Brent Sheldon, won the 14U Superbowl this past weekend against the JJK Flyers.

The Little Panthers are coached by Head Coach Brent Sheldon.

The Panthers came into the playoffs with three losses on the season. They came into the playoffs seeded fourth, but persevered and came out on top.

The Panthers beat the Flyers this weekend in the Superbowl 19-0. The Panthers posed a top performance on defense shutting out the Flyers and holding them to zero points.

“Playing through 4 quarters and not leaving anything to question on the field. JJK had a great running game with the ability to score quick and often. It was vital that when we were on defense to stop them,” Coach Sheldon said.

When asked what it meant for the kids to win the Superbowl, Coach Sheldon said, “For some of these young men it was their seventh Superbowl. However, the biggest part of these kids had never won a Superbowl. There was lots of laughter, emotions and crying that was just the coaches! The kids get to leave their legacy at the 14 year old level and look forward to the next big journey.”

During their last loss of the season against Fairview Heights, the Panthers figured it out at halftime. They were down at the half, but came back to make the game 16-30. They did nothing but hold their heads high and said they were ready for the playoffs.

When talking about the kids’ effort during the season Coach Sheldon said, “When we start out at the first of August, I asked them What they wanted this year? The answer was we want to win the Superbowl coach! So, We began the long march to our goal. We begin by doing conditioning and fundamentals for the couple of weeks and that’s where the boys decide if they want to work their tails off or go back home and play Xbox. Out of the 35 kids that started only one quit, that says a lot for their character.”

“We came into the playoff as the fourth seed and the boys got their wish we were going to play Fairview Heights again. Fairview happened to be 9-0 averaging 34 point a game while only allowing six points average on defense. It was a Heavyweight fight from the start and eventually Fairview took the lead 21-8 in the third quarter,” said Coach Sheldon.

Coach Sheldon would then tell his team before the fourth quarter, “You can do this all you have to do is trust one another and leave it on the field, no matter what I am very proud of you.”

The Panthers scored with four minutes left to bring the score 21-14. They kicked an onside kick and got the ball back, drove down the field while converting on multiple fourth downs. The Little Panthers scored with only 49 seconds left on the clock. It was 21-20 and the kicker Ian Wagner came out and kicked the extra point to put the Panthers ahead 22-21.

The Panthers came out Saturday night for the Superbowl and were able to score on a pass play in the first quarter, and then JJK drove the ball and fumbled it on our 25, Bruce Harris picked up the ball and ran to the endzone for our touchdown.

Coach Sheldon said, “They had a great game plan and kept the ball out of our hands for most of the first half. When we finally put together a drive in the third quarter Ian Wagner kicked a 30-yard field goal to put us up 19-0. We kept them from scoring due to some pretty good defense and finished the game like the boys wanted to at the first of the year Superbowl champs.”