RANCHO CORDOVA — The Union Mine Jr. Rattler Football and Cheer program capped a successful season with five championships.
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Despite cold, dark, wet weather on Nov. 6, the Union Mine Jr. Rattlers Youth Football and Cheer program had a perfect day as all four Jr. Rattler teams competed and were crowned Division III champions in the Sacramento Youth Football playoffs at Cordova High.
The teams, Jr. PeeWees, 6-8 year olds; PeeWees, 9-10; Jr. Midgets, 11-12; and Midgets, 13-14, worked hard through three months of practice in all kinds of weather, and compiled winning records over seven weeks of games to place in the top four in their divisions and qualify for the postseason. The teams all defeated opponents en route to advancing to the championship games.
The Jr. PeeWee team had just 14 players on the roster, but while the numbers were small, their hearts were big. The team took second in the regular season with just one loss to the El Dorado Jr. Cougar Jr. PeeWees, 7-20. The same teams faced each other in the championship with the Jr. Rattlers winning the second meeting, 18-13.
The Jr. Rattlers put the first six points on the board just before halftime but fumbled on the first drive of the third quarter and the Jr. Cougars recovered. With good field position, the Jr. Cougars found the end zone to tie the game 6-6. The Jr. Rattlers retook the lead with a long scoring run, but the Jr. Cougars answered and went up by one with the point-after attempt splitting the uprights. With just four minutes left in the game, the Jr. Rattlers drove downfield and punched it in for the winning touchdown.
The Jr. Rattler Pee Wee team lost two games during the regular season and entered the playoffs as the third seed. But the team won the first playoff game and faced the undefeated El Dorado Jr. Cougar PeeWees for the title. The first game this season was a defensive battle, won by the Jr. Cougars 14-7, and the championship proved to be another nail-biter; the score was 0-0 after four quarters.
Each team had four downs to try and score in overtime, but again the defenses held and forced a double overtime. The Jr. Rattlers ran it in for a touchdown on their possession and the defense came up with four big stops to end the game. The Jr. Rattlers won the championship 6-0.
It wasn’t just a perfect day for the Jr. Rattler Jr. Midgets — it was a perfect year. The team was undefeated during the regular season, allowing just 14 points scored against them all season on two touchdowns by the Jr. Cougar Jr. Midgets from Center, the same team the Jr. Rattlers faced for the championship. Fired up and ready, the Jr. Rattlers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
The Jr. Rattlers recovered a fumble on the Cougar 4-yard line and ran it in on the first play. The Jr. Cougar defense couldn’t contain the Rattler offense, which put 12 more points on the board before halftime. The Jr. Rattlers scored again in the third quarter after great blocking opened the field for a long touchdown run. An interception returned for another touchdown sealed the deal as the Jr. Rattler Jr. Midgets rolled to a 30-6 victory.
The pressure was on for the Jr. Rattler Midgets, who wanted to make the day complete with a fourth Jr. Rattler victory. To do so, they had to defeat the one team they lost to during the regular season, the undefeated Mesa Verde Jr. Maverick Midgets. In their first meeting, the Jr. Rattlers started slow and allowed the Jr. Mavericks to score several touchdowns. The Rattlers battled back in the second half to nearly tie the game, but time ran out before they could close the gap.
With that knowledge, the Jr. Rattlers moved quickly to put 13 points on the board in the first quarter. The defense played extremely tough but the Jr. Mavericks broke through for a touchdown just before halftime.
When the Jr. Rattler defense took the field after the break, a devastating blow forced a Maverick fumble and the Jr. Rattlers recovered the ball and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. The Jr. Mavericks stepped up next and with a couple of trick plays and good ball movement, found the end zone two more times.
The Jr. Rattlers blocked the extra-point attempt to keep their 20-19 lead and with two minutes left, scored an insurance touchdown to put the 27-19 victory in the books.
The Jr. Rattler Midget cheerleaders also brought home a trophy. The 15 cheerleaders, ages 9-14, competed against 11 squads, comprised of mostly 13-14 year olds at the Midget Intermediate level in the SYF Cheer Competition at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium Nov. 14. It was the cheerleaders’ only chance to demonstrate their technical skill in dance, jumps, kicks and stunts and they performed a nearly flawless routine to successfully defend their 2009 championship.
The Jr. Rattler Jr. Pee Wee cheerleaders also competed. They were the smallest sqaud and gave it their all.
The 2010 season was a tremendous accomplishment for all of players, cheerleaders and coaches. Their hard work, dedication and determination with the enthusiastic support of their fans, families and community sponsors made the season a success.
For more information about the Jr. Rattler program visit the Website at jrrattlers.org and click on the Newsletters link for more details.