The Gators Football Varsity U (8th grade) team finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record after defeating the PAL Hawks 14-0 in the AAYFA National Division Varsity U Championship game on Nov 16 at Annapolis High School.
The Gators took the opening kickoff and marched down the field against the Hawks defense. Nick Vermillion ended the drive with a 7 yard touchdown run to make it 6-0. The Gators offensive line, Justin Sodeman, Brad Marceron, Will Pyne, Matt Wilson, Anthony Rowe, Mason Moseley and Tre Kiessling opened up the holes for Vermillion and Warren Dixon, who had multiple long runs to keep the drive alive.
The receiving duo of Justice Hubbard and Tommy Mcgee made some excellent down field blocks to free Dixon and Vermillion to get down field and keep the ball away from the Hawks. Quarterbacks Jack Graziano and Christian Frymark took turns leading the offense throughout the game. Before the game, the coaches challenged the quarterback tandem to control the football and not to turn the ball over.
They did an excellent job of leading the team and controlling the game. Late in the first half Vermillion bulled through the PAL defense for an electrifying 35 yard touchdown run to give the Gators the points needed to win the Championship.
There was no scoring in the second half as the Gators defense shut down the potent Hawks offense. Zach Miller was the defensive star of the game. Miller made it very difficult for the Hawks to get outside which made PAL change their game plan to running up the middle into the heart of the Gators defense led by Garret Phillips, Nick Vermillion, Will Pyne and Brandon Downs. The defensive line, which includes, Mason Moseley, Anthony Rowe, Tre Kiessling, Andrew Chapman, Kevin Galvin, Mason Drenner, Justin Granzow and Zach Miller stood their ground and made it hard for PAL to get anything going.
The Gators defensive backs, Nick Boogades, Justice Hubbard, Brooks Watson, Warren Dixon and Jack Graziano shut down PAL's air attack, not allowing the big play that PAL has relied on all year. "Defense wins Championships and the kids played almost a perfect game." said Pat Burns, the Gators defensive coordinator, after the game.
Coaching staff:Marty Vermillion (Head Coach), Pat Burns (Def Coord), Chris Graziano, John Buonassisi Team Mom: Linnea Boogades Video: Bob Rowe
For the season, the Gators outscored their opponents 314-70, giving up only 8 offensive touchdowns in 11 games. This game marked the end of these kids' youth football career and will now move on to play high school football. Most of the kids will play at South River High School with a few electing to take their game to area private schools.