Michael Wright lunged into the end zone with only 18 seconds left to give the Palm Beach Gardens Gators the winning score against a team from California in the national Pop Warner Super Bowl championship game.
The Pee Wee Orange football team beat defending champions, the Point Loma Pointers, of Point Loma, Calif., to win the national championship game Friday at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. It was a comeback finish: Point Loma had been on a 29-game winning streak, and the Pointers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to lead the Gators 14-0. After that, the the Gators defense stepped up, coach Brandon Aronson said.
“It was exciting. We wanted to see Point Loma. We wanted to prove that we’re the best team in the country,” Brandon Aronson said. “It was very satisfying.”
Forty-three seconds before halftime, Trakwon Harris scored a 17-yard touchdown run to put the Gators on the scoreboard. Early in the second half, Harris ran another 65 yards for a touchdown, making it 14-12.
Near the end of the fourth quarter, the Gators made a big interception in the end zone that set them up for the win. Quarterback Tyler Aronson, Brandon’s son, threw a short pass to Michael Wright, who got into the end zone with 18 seconds left in the game.
The team of 21 boys, ages 10 to 12, traveled to Orlando for the week with their coaches. At a practice at PGA National Park before the Super Bowl, Trakwon said he was looking forward to working together as a team to come out with a win.
“I am ready to succeed and become the best running back in the nation,” Trakwon said, identifying the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott as that player.
On the way to the championship, the Gators beat Redwood City, Calif. 49ers 27-0 and the Union Road (Gastonia, N.C.) Jaguars 47-20.
The team came home Saturday.
“They were ecstatic. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Aronson said. “Just to compete at such a high level all week was outstanding for the kids.”