The Senior National Gold Coast Youth Football League championship game will feature two local teams playing under the lights at SoFi Stadium on Friday.
The SC Wildcats (9-1) will be taking on the Saugus Spartans (8-2) in a rematch for a shot at the title.
Win or lose, the staffs know this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and hope their 13- and 14-year-old players soak up the experience as they play on one of the premiere NFL fields.
“We positioned this to the kids that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said SC Wildcats President Trevor Pooley. “How many kids play high school football and never play for a championship? We hope they take it all in and know they played on the same field as the Chargers and Rams and where they had the last Super Bowl. It’s pretty special.”
SoFi will host the event for the second straight season after years of the event being hosted at local community colleges.
The Wildcats had the fantastic season they expected to have. The team dominated their division, winning nine of 10 games and allowing just 8.2 points per game. But, the rapport of the players, coaches and even families stood out most to Pooley
“We put together a team of very high-quality football players from really good families that had a ton of character. This is the best team I’ve been a part of regarding community. They come from all over the valley. The friendship and bond that they’ve built is second to none that I’ve ever seen. It’s not just the kids, the parents get along really well.”
SC was nearly upset in the semifinals against Newbury Park before a game-winning 75-yard touchdown pass.
The fourth-seeded Saugus took a chokehold on their semifinals matchup with the No. 2 Simi Valley, winning 31-12.
“Great team all around and their work ethics, [head coach Michel Bogan] is big on discipline and work ethic,” said Spartans President Monte Holloman. “That team’s energy is also above all. They’re gonna come in and compete in every single game.”
The Spartans are one of two of the club’s teams entering the Super Bowl as their sophomore team will also enter the championship game with a matchup with Simi Valley. The Saugus sophomores are led by head coach Travis Sharbonow. They’ll be playing for an undefeated season and enter the bowl as the top-ranked offense and defense.
As for the seniors, the Wildcats will be playing for the program’s 18th Super Bowl title. SC Head coach Brian Manning has coached most of the senior team since they began GCYFL play in the Mighty Mite Division. They’ve come a long way from the lowest level and will have the opportunity of a lifetime on Friday.
“I’m just super proud,” said Pooley. “These kids have bought in, worked really hard but most importantly they did it together. Whether we win or not they’re gonna remember this forever.”
Saugus is looking forward to another shot at the Wildcats after losing a game that could’ve gone either way.
“It’s another chance at the SC Wildcats,” said Holloman. “It’s a rivalry game. Some players left from one side to another. These kids go to school together, so it’s almost like bragging rights.”
Both senior teams are filled with phenomenal athletes who will mostly play high-level high school football in the coming years. This game could be the highlight of their young lives or the first stop of many at SoFi Stadium.
“They’re still in middle school but being heavily recruited,” said Pooley. “It’s really phenomenal the size of these kids and their speed but really their work ethic. They put in their heart and souls to make it to SoFi. This could be the highlight of some of their youth football careers. Win or lose, it’s a special accomplishment they’ll never forget.”