NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New Rochelle Youth Tackle League was invited to the New York State Pop Warner playoffs for the first time in 30 years and the Junior Midget and PeeWee teams each came away with state titles.
In a blustery snowstorm in Schenectady on Nov. 23, the Junior Midget team crushed Rochester, 30-0 in the final, while the PeeWee squad also edged a Rochester team, 7-0, in their respective championships.
The Jr. Midget team ages, 11 and 12 and coached by Jeff Butts were 8-1 entering the playoffs and had defeated teams from throughout the state to reach the finals. A powerful NR running game and a swarming defense kept the Rochester team off-balance and struggling to gain any momentum.
The PeeWee team includes kids ages 10 and 11 and is coached by Biggie Hollis. That team topped Mid-Hudson, 35-0, before their championship victory.
The Junior PeeWee team, ages 8, 9 and 10 and coached by Jeff Smith, also reached the state finals, but fell 7-0 in an overtime thriller to Syracuse.
The New Rochelle Youth Tackle League broke with tradition this year after 30 years of traveling to bowl games in Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey.
"We are trying to follow the lead of past New Rochelle High School teams who have dominated in the State Tournaments,” New Rochelle Youth Tackle League vice president Earl Bradshaw said in a statement. “We are also extremely proud of our kids, on winning the championship in football but also how they are growing into nice young men.”