The Pop Warner Pee Wee Westside Vikings had
one game to go before they reached the finals of the Pop Warner West Coast
Championship to be played this weekend. The Vikings fell short of their goal,
losing to the Arizona Nighthawks in the second round of the Pop Warner West
The Nighthawks are just one win away from advancing to the
National Championships in Florida. It could have easily have been the Vikings
playing for the right to compete for the national title.
The defeat was heart-wrenching for the Vikings’ players and
coaches. Afterward it took coach Shannon Miller a minute or two to gather his
thoughts about the season and the missed the opportunity the Vikings had. The
Vikings held a 20-16 lead deep into the fourth quarter until Arizona scored the
winning touchdown to go up 24-20.
The Nighthawks would end up adding two more points to come
away with a 26-20 road win at Redondo Beach Union High School in Redondo Beach.
The Vikings had made it this far by
securing a 33-24 win against a San Diego team. The Vikings finished the season
11-2. Standouts for the Vikings against the Nighthawks include Luca Diamont,
Xavier Osbey, Christian Miller, Donovan Parks, and Miller Moss.
The last two quarters proved to be rough going for the
Vikings as the team never really presented a serious drive to finish off the
Nighthawks. But if you want to measure heart, the Vikings showed it, battling
hard on every play until the clock hit zero. That is when everything sunk in
for all of the players representing Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Malibu,
and Inglewood that their fairy tale run was over.
Despite the defeat, Miller said this season was a great
experience for him.
“This was one of the most remarkable seasons I’ve ever had,”
Miller said. “This is one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had. The boys
played their hearts out. These boys played great. What they’ll take from this
is a sense of pride and being part of something that was bigger than
On the loss itself, Miller said it was a matter of not being
able to communicate.
“There was a breakdown in communication in the second half," Miller
said. “The boys did what they were taught to do.”
The Vikings’ season isn’t quite over. Their run to Florida
may be squashed, but the Vikings still have an opportunity end the season a
high note. Miller said the team has been invited to play in a bowl game.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.