American Canyon 10-and-under youth football team made its second run at the national tournament during Thanksgiving week in Las Vegas and came back as national champions.
The Junior Wolves overwhelmed the competition, forcing both games mercy rule scrimmages in the second half as they defeated the Montana Outlaws, 37-6, and the San Diego Bandits, 34-0.
“This was purely a business trip,” American Canyon head coach Ollie Allen said. “We came to Las Vegas with one goal in mind, and we accomplished that goal.”
Against Montana, the Junior Wolves dominated on both sides of the ball. They accumulated over 300 yards while allowing only one first down, which resulted in the Outlaws’ only score. Outstanding blocking by the offensive line and backfield opened large holes for running backs Andrew “Speed Demon” Hearne (83 yards, five touchdowns), Mason “Mako” Harris (45 yards, one touchdown), Khalil “Typhoon” Hunter (50 yards), Joey “Tombstone” DiMaggio (35 yards) and Ugene “Executioner” Jackson (22 yards).
Their defense allowed only 62 yards, 55 of which came on one pass play. The defense swarmed with hard hitting and heavy pressure. Ryan “Deathray” Espiritu and Darnell “Savage” Jeffery led the unit, and Lorenzo “Exterminator” Rudolph and Kaden “Tiger Snake” Roberts contributed several tackles for losses. Hearne added a 70-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.
In the championship game against the San Diego Bandits, Judge “Fury” Nash set the tone for the Junior Wolves by returning the opening kickoff 65 yards to the Bandits’ 5-yard line. DiMaggio punched it in from there. Harris added had two carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, and Hearne had three carries for 53 yards and two scores.
American Canyon’s defense was ultra stingy in the title game. While allowing no first downs and a net minus-34 yards on the day, he unit recovered two fumbles and got a pick-six from Hunter.
“The game plans and execution were spot on, on both offense and defense,” Allen said. “This was made possible by my coaching staff, Lucky Jones and Remy Alvarez (offensive line, assistant offensive coordinators), Xavier Rivers (offensive coordinator), Scott Harris (defensive coordinator), Eldred Hunter (strength and conditioning) and Javon Johnson (special teams and receivers assistant).”