The Huntington Beach Jr. Pee Wee Division Gold Chargers capped their 2013 season Saturday by reaching the Division II Orange Bowl championship game but their bid for the title came up just short in an 18-16 loss to the South Coast Red Tritons at Estancia High.
Following a scoreless opening quarter, Huntington got on the scoreboard first when quarterback Braeden Boyles connected with Jack Kosick on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Jackson Walters kicked in the two-point conversion and the Chargers were up, 8-0.
The Gold Chargers (8-2) were the first team to score on the South Coast defense this season.
The Tritons responded quickly by scoring on a touchdown pass. The Gold Chargers' Cameron Moradian blocked the conversion kick which allowed the Gold Chargers to maintain the lead at 8-6. With Jerian Operana, Jake Brown, and John Chandler turning in key tackles, and Tanner Ciok coming up with an interception, in the remainder of the second quarter, the Gold Chargers held a two-point lead at halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Huntington extended its lead to 16-6 on a 45-yard scoring play by Kosick and two-point kick by Walters. With Dillon Blake and Riley O'Dell coming up with key plays on defense, the Gold Chargers took a 10-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
South Coast blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown early in the final quarter to pull within 16-12. The Red Tritons took their first lead of the game when they scored with 2:48 remaining, and went on to claim an 18-16 victory.
Huntington's defense, led by Kosick and Shane Dzwilewski, held South Coast scoreless in the first quarter. On offense, Mike Welsh hauled in a big, 20-yard pass reception, and the running of Ciok and Kosick moved the ball downfield in the quarter.
The Gold Chargers advanced to the Orange Bowl game by defeating the Tustin Black Cobras, 14-6, in a division semifinal game Oct. 26.
The Huntington Beach Jr. Pee Wee Division Gold Chargers are: Tyler Moses, Nick Daniel, Jackson Walters, Braeden Boyles, Cameron Moradian, Evan Haithcock, Dillon Blake, Joey Valenta, Mike Welsh, PJ Campbell, Jack Kosick, Tanner Ciok, Jeremy Alcorn, Jackson Schnoor, Jake Brown, Jerian Operana, John Chandler, Riley O'Dell, Shane Dzwilewski, Ivan Soto. Head coach: Gregg Campbell. Coaches: Greg Brown, Dave Dzwilewski, John Valenta, David Moses, Dave Haithcock, Tony Alcorn, Jeff Boyles.
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In other Pop Warner Jr. Pee Wee Division action Saturday:
Green Chargers 38, La Habra 6: League champion Huntington completed a 6-3 season by scoring a big win over the White Lions at Edison High.
After falling behind, 6-0, in the first quarter, the Green Chargers took the lead for good in the second quarter when Caden Kendle scored on a 25-yard run and then kicked a two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead. The drive was set up by a pass receptions by Blake Anderson and Ethan Ton covering 15 and eight yards, respectively.
On La Habra's ensuing possession, Jordan Ginnis intercepted a pass and returned the pick 30 yards to put the ball at the La Habra two-yard line. On the next play, Ginnis scored on a two-yard run to take the score to 14-6.
Just before halftime, the Green Chargers struck again. This time, Anderson took a screen pass from Ryan Easterday and broke a few tackles to score from 45 yards out. Kendle converted the two-point kick for a 22-6 halftime lead.
Kendle scored his second touchdown of the game with a 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He reached the end zone behind the blocking of linemen Shawn Chisholm, Keilan Lefaoseu, Joey Gentilella, Carson Chalabian, Seth Allen, Anders Palmquist and Chase Wortham. Jaxon Price kicked the two-point conversion to stretch the lead to 30-6.
In the fourth quarter, the Green Chargers continued their dominance on defense. Rex Campbell and Dane Despars both tackled a La Habra receiver in the end zone for a safety, making the score 32-6. On their next possession, the Green Chargers' Bryce Gilbert took a tight end screen from quarterback Ryan Rivituso, weaved his way downfield, and outran the La Habra safety to score from 40 yards out.
The Huntington defense played one of its best games of the season and was lead by Kendle, Ginnis, Gilbert, Zeke McCreight, Kade Ayres, Arits Coleman, Phillip Overturf, Connor Provost, Taj Thuemmier, Brayden Johnson, Tanner Thuemmier and Evan Gilbert.
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Junior All-American Football
Three teams from Huntington Beach will play second-round playoff games Saturday: the Jr. Midget Division Oilers face the South Orange County Patriots at 9 a.m. at Corona High, the Jr. Pee Wee Division Oilers battle the South Bay Packers at 1 p.m. at San Juan Hills High, and the Clinic Division Oilers play the Inglewood Green Jets at 3 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Baldwin Hills.
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