Wednesday was jam-packed in Florida, with 16 Pop Warner football games and the Jr. Midget Cheer Championships taking place in Lake Buena Vista. With ESPN360 cameras capturing four of the football games, it truly was a hectic day.
-- Six cheerleading champions were crowned: the St. Cecelias Golden Knights (Advanced Small), the Jackson Jaguars (Advanced Large), the Billerica Braves (Novice Small), the Iselin Giants (Novice Large), the Everett Huskies (Intermediate Small) and the Fairfield Giants (Intermediate Large).
-- The White Oak Warriors football club continues to roll, winning the Jr. Peewee Semifinals, 32-0, and the Peewee semifinals, also 32-0. Both teams are going for a national title this weekend.
-- The Midget consolation bracket probably had the game of the day. The SE Dallas Wolverines beat the Murrieta Valley Thunderhawks, 25-24. The Wolverines were down 16-0 at halftime and 24-6 after three quarters, but scored 19 points in the decisive fourth quarter to stun the Thunderhawks.
Thursday is an off day for football, but the dance competition will keep the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex buzzing all day long. Football and cheerleading resumes Friday.
Google News is a great tool to comb media sites nationwide for a particular subject. For example...Pop Warner.
This is great news out of upstate New York, and indicative of the support Pop Warner football and cheer and dance teams are getting nationwide. The Junior Bills out of the Buffalo area are heading down to Florida after securing enough funds to pay for the travel.
This is always a hectic issue in the week leading up to the Super Bowl--teams are responsible for getting down to Florida by themselves, leading to last-second pleas for donations through media outlets.
The Junior Bills got help in the form of $5,000 from a local wholesale business and $15,000 from First Niagara Bank.
In this tough time for the U.S. Economy, it's great to see people willing to give to see young athletes have memories that will last a lifetime.
It's that time of year. Thousands of young athletes have punched their tickets to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championship at the Disney Wide World of Sports.
It's a long road to get to this point. To get an idea of just how long, let's break down what the extravaganza at Orlando is comprised of:
--In football, Pop Warner teams eligible for the Super Bowl are divided into four different age/weight ranges: Junior Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Junior Midget and Midget. For example, Junior Pee Wee is typically 8-11 year olds who weight between 60 and 105 pounds. Midget is typically 11-15 year olds who weigh between 105-160 pounds.
--A Pop Warner team must win its respective league to advance to the Regional Championships.
--There are eight regionsEastern, Mid-America, Pacific Northwest, New England, Mid-South, Southeast, Wescon and Southwest.
--Eight teams emerge from each region teams from each of the four age/weight ranges in Division I and Division IIto advance to the Super Bowl.
That means that 64 teams are heading to the Orlando area for the Super Bowl. Each team is guaranteed at least two games over the seven-day event, which means the fields are going to be pretty worn down once its all said and done.
For the cheer and dance squads, the road is similar:
--Teams are divided by squad size (small and large) and further into novice, intermediate and advanced.
--A squad must place in the top two of its league competition to qualify for regionals.
--Once at regionals, each squad performs a 2:30 routine. The top two squads in each size and division advance to the championships in Orlando.
Pop Warner expects more than 500 cheer and dance squads in Florida for the five-day event.