Wrapping up the inaugural 2017-2018 season, the Under Armour Santa Clarita Under the Lights flag football league held their league championships Friday night at Central Park.
”It’s a new format,” said Craig Hamilton, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, which plays in the fifth-through-sixth-grade division. “It’s like a passing league. In other leagues, there’s a lot of handoffs, but in our league we focus on strong route running and developing quarterback skills.”
In a league made up of boys and girls, 162 kids are split up into three divisions — kindergarten through second grade, third through fourth grade, fifth through sixth grade — and play an eight-game season that includes Divisional Playoffs and the Championship.
The winner and runner-up qualify for the Under the Lights National Championship powered by Under Armour at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida held June 30 through July 1.
“The training is a new skill set for a lot of the kids,” Hamilton said. “It’s an alternative for the kids to play under the lights by making it more of an event with music and food. It’s a cool event to spend your Friday nights with the family.”
Facing off in the fifth and sixth grade division championship were the Alabama Crimson Tide and the top-ranked Cal Bears. Losing to the Bears in the first game of the season 24-6, the Crimson Tide went on a six-game winning streak to force a rematch in the championship game.
“The first game we got blown out. But we went back to the drawing board and won out the rest of the games to get the Cal Bears in the title game,” Hamilton said.
With their starting quarterback out of town and down 12-0 at halftime, the Tide found a way to come back and beat the Bears 20-18 to win the championship and get revenge from the first game of the season.
Winning the championship, the Alabama Crimson Tide has the opportunity to head to Tampa, Florida for the Nationals Championship, a decision that Hamilton said would be made within the next few days.
“It was a great effort (in the championship game). It was very well distributed with every player having an impact to win the championship. I’m so proud of every single one of my players because we have grown into a big family.”