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Berlin Pop Warner football to play in Disney

By Kara Hallissey | Nov 23, 2017

(Nov. 24, 2017) After winning three Eastern Regional games – outscoring opponents 91-0 – the Berlin Pop Warner junior varsity football team has advanced to nationals in Disney World and will compete in two bowl games on Dec. 4 and Dec. 7.

In Marsh Creek, Pennsylvania last weekend, the junior varsity team won 30-0 over the Edison Jets of New Jersey. The victory solidified the squad’s spot in the national competition, but the boys only have a short time to raise money for the expensive trip.

“It is going to come out to about $41,000 for the kids and chaperones to take this trip, between the rooms, meal plans and transportation costs,” Head Coach Jule Airey said. “We asked the kids to raise their hands if they had ever been in an airplane before and most of them had not been. Taking the buses to our games in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania was the first time a lot of them had left the area.”

The 22 junior varsity football players range in age from 10-13 years old. A handful of them have played together in the past, but there are some new to the team this year. Every team member is required to participate in at least 10 plays a game.

“We are a very physical and hard-hitting team,” Airey said. “Some teams came out pretty tough. It was 8-0 at the end of the third quarter in our first game, but we hit really hard and we would kind of break them at the end. They get tired of getting hit. It’s our conditioning and preparation.”

The Division III football squad began its season in August with games played on Saturdays. Seven match-ups took place on the Eastern Shore and in New York, Virginia and New Jersey.

“A couple of our players had to lose 10 pounds to be certified for weight in our division,” Airey said. “These kids sacrifice a lot to play football and have to watch what they eat. Our team would be different without them.”

The team’s final three regional games were played in a bracket playoff format. Berlin defeated the St. Cecilia Golden Saints from Jersey Valley, 36-0, in Smyrna, Delaware on Nov. 4.

Next, the team faced the Berkeley Golden Eagles of Bayville, New Jersey, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Nov. 11 and won 25-0. Berlin shut out Edison in the championship game in Marsh Creek, Pennsylvania.

“We’ve had to come up with a lot of funding for bus rides all year and have played above our division,” Airey said. “We outscored our opponents 198-0 and that includes within our conference and division.”

All adult volunteers go through certification programs and participants rely on donations to attend national championships. The football team has three coaches this year.

“They are a good bunch of kids and it’s been a pleasure coaching them,” Airey said. “Playing in Disney World will be a really cool experience for the kids and I can’t wait to see their faces. They worked so hard to win these football games.”

In addition to the junior varsity football players, the Berlin junior varsity cheerleaders will also be in Disney World to compete on Dec. 4. This is the group’s third year qualifying for nationals.

“The program needs funds for everything we do. It is all volunteer run,” Head Coach Jessie Parsons said. “Our goal was to cheer on the junior varsity football players while we are there.”

Debbie Donahue is in charge of the cheerleading program and Tony Morris is president of the association in Berlin. They have both spent countless hours dedicated to the program, Parsons said.

Berlin Pop Warner is accepting monetary donations for its football and cheer programs. Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to: Worcester County Youth Football P.O. Box 1517 Berlin, Maryland 21811.

In addition, a PayPal page has been set up to help defray costs of the trip and money can be donated at www.paypal.me/BerlinSeahawks.

Also, raffle tickets are being sold to win a $500 Visa gift card for $1 a chance. To purchase tickets, contact Donahue at henlopencheer@yahoo.com.

For more information on the Worcester County Youth Football and Cheerleading Berlin Seahawks, call 443-783-8628 or visit www.BerlinSeahawks.com.

 

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