There is only one football team at this year's Pop Warner Super Bowl looking to repeat as champions. And to be honest, I'm not sure which one it is.
You see, the White Oak Youth and Sports Association in Silver Spring, Md., has a slew of excellent athletes in football in a number of different age groups. It paid off last year when the White Oak Warriors won the Junior PeeWee national championship under the direction of coach Mike Wills.
Well, the Warriors' Junior PeeWee team is back in the Pop Warner Super Bowl, rolling through the Eastern Region last week. But it's not the same team.
"We moved up to the PeeWee division," Willis said of last year's champions.
Yes, the same team, a bit older and a bit bigger, now plays up one division. And they, too, are going to the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
To recap: The Jr. PeeWee Warriors won the Super Bowl in 2007. That group of players is now the PeeWee Warriors, and are going to the Super Bowl again. Meanwhile, the up-and-coming (new) Junior PeeWee Warriors are going to the Super Bowl themselves.
Needless to say, Silver Spring, Md., will have a big cheering section in Florida.
It's interesting how dynasties take up similar attitudes, whether they're 10-year olds like the Warriors or 30-somethings like the NFL's New England Patriots. I asked Willis how the attitude changed for his group of players going to Florida for the second straight season.
"Last year they were a little more excited," Willis admitted. "This year, the goal is to repeat. Last year the goal was to get to Florida.
"This year there were only a few kids that celebrated when we won regionals."
Just like the pros. You've been there before, you begin to act like it.
The PeeWee Warriors are 12-0, rolling through the schedule behind an amazing defense. They play the Southeast Dallas (Texas) Wolverines on Sunday to begin their title defense. The younger guys are trying to maintain the Jr. PeeWee dominance, starting Sunday against the Palmetto Raiders out of Florida.
Don't count either of them out. After all, this isn't the first dance for the White Oak Warriors. Far from it.