The Winfield Cavaliers knocked off Poolesville, 36-6, in last Saturday's final Mid-Maryland Youth Football League regular-season game.
"We played a very solid game and did what we do well," coach Tim Brown said, commenting on the easy victory.
That score shows that his team of 10-,11- and 12-year-olds did pretty much everything well, and the final league standings indicate the same thing.When the regular season was over, Winfield ruled the League's Centennial Blue Division roost with a 7-2 record, two games ahead of second place Clarksburg which was 5-4.
It scored 267 points and let in only 84, both league bests by far.
Things have come a long way since those first few years the team played. Brown recalled that his team may have won only about five games during that time.
But last year, it blossomed with a 9-0 regular season record and made it all the way to the Super Bowl before being eliminated.
Brown says he isn't surprised at his team's showing this season even though he was returning only half from that 9-0 squad of a year ago.
The new players adjusted well to the team's offense and defense. In addition to that, some of them had special physical attributes that their coach appreciated.
"We weren't that big up front last year. [This year] we added a couple of kids who were big and athletic and really helped us at the point of attack," Brown said. "The new players did a good job of getting acclimated to our offense and defense."
The bigger players helped defensively and on offense too. The Cavaliers developed a strong ground game with four good running backs alternating carries behind a powerful offensive line.
"Ball control is a big part of our game now. We are better at the point of attack, and we are more athletic this year," Brown explained.
That said, things didn't start out so well for the Cavaliers. They lost two of their first three games. A 22-8 loss to Reisterstown and a 26-12 defeat by Hampstead were sandwiched around a Week 2 win over North Carroll.
Brown said his kids had turned the ball over too much and simply failed to execute well against two quality opponents.
His squad was burned in those games by big plays and recovered onsides kicks. Even so, his Cavaliers were tied with Reisterstown, 8-8, in the third quarter before its opponents ran off two late touchdowns.
"And Hampstead didn't make any mistakes," Brown added.
He decided to change his offense a bit after the second loss. While he stayed with the ground game, he used his line's athleticism more and varied the attack.
"We opened up on offense after those early games. We used misdirection and ran outside more, Brown explained.
The results were remarkable. His team never scored fewer than 32 points in any game thereafter. The Cavaliers rolled up 223 points in a six-game winning streak. The other teams saw the ball little and wound up with only 36 during that six-game run.
"We've never clinched this early before. We clinched the playoffs three weeks ago and clinched the Division two weeks ago. Now we have to keep the kids focused," said a pleased Tim Brown.
Winfield faces North Carroll again in its opening playoff game. Brown cautioned against being overconfident after his team's win in the regular season game with the Titans.
But he also seems to say that his kids control their own future, regardless of the opponent.
"If we cut down on the mistakes, we can play with anybody in the league," Brown said. "If we do what we're supposed to do, we'll be OK."