Youth team ends season in the semi-finals
The Old Rochester Youth Football Junior Pee Wee team’s season may have ended this weekend, but it was one for the books.
Before losing 18-14 to the Mission Hills Buccaneers on Sunday in the New England semi-final game, the Bulldogs had only lost a single game all season.
“It was torrential rain, heavy wind,” head coach Lee Hamilton said. “We didn’t play well, but we’ve gotten stronger as the season went on.”
Hamilton attributes the team’s success to his players, who he said are a naturally gifted group.
“We have really good athletes on the offensive line,” he said. “It helps.”
The team is made up of 10-and 11-year-olds, some of whom have years of experience—and some who don’t.
“It’s about half and half,” Hamilton said. “We have six or seven kids who have played together since they were little, and six or seven who are first years.”
However, he said, many of the first-year football players have played other sports, such as lacrosse or hockey.
“The forst-year kids have been really strong,” he added.
As the team grew and learned together, Hamilton said the group never forgot to have fun.
“They’re a loose group for sure,” he laughed. “They don’t seem to get stressed about anything, but they show up for games. It’s like a different group of kids. They’ve been fun.”
Despite the loss in the semi-finals, the team was still one of just four that remained in New England, and at the end of the day Hamilton said it was a great experience.
“They make you laugh every single practice, it’s a good group,” he said. “They’re kids, so we have to keep it in perspective. It’s been a great season.”