Youth football teams collect championships
Move over Freeport, there’s a new team in your league.
The Lower Burrell Flyers scored on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Alex Arledge to Joey Shybloski on the first play of the game and never looked back as the Flyers knocked off the defending champion Jackets, 32-0, in the 140-pound game of the Allegheny Valley Youth Football League’s Super Bowl.
It was the third of three championships played Saturday at Kittanning’s David “Red” Ullom Field.
“We wanted to start fast (Saturday), and that’s what we did,” Flyers coach Ed Shybloski said. “Not too many people have seen us pass because we’ve been getting big leads, and we don’t like to rub it in or anything.”
The Lower Burrell Flyers youth football program is in its first season as a member of the AVYFL.
Arledge found Shybloski again in the second quarter to put Lower Burrell (9-0) up 16-0 over a stunned Freeport (7-2) team.
“Our tight end, big No. 42, Joey Shybloski, he has really good hands is really fast for a big kid,” coach Shybloski said. “We knew that if we got the ball into his hands, he’s going to break it.”
Arledge finished 4 of 10 for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Shybloski caught two passes, both for touchdowns, for 95 yards.
“It’s the biggest win ever, especially for the seniors,” Arledge said.
Demitri Fritch helped balance the offense by rushing for 127 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.
Burrell’s defense was just as impressive. The Flyers lived up to that reputation by forcing — and recovering — three fumbles. Burrell smothered a Jackets offense that was averaging 33 points per game.
“Our defense is just spectacular,” coach Shybloski said. “We’ve only given up six first downs all season. The way we look at it, if they can’t score on us, they can’t win.”
Armstrong Redskins 12, Lower Burrell Recruits 6
The Armstrong Redskins shrugged off a slow start to come back and score 12 straight points to down the Recruits and repeat as champions in the 100-pound title game.
“Burrell came out and played very, very hard,” Armstrong coach Ed Totin said. “We try not to make it a one- or two-player team, we try to mix it up.”
Armstrong (9-0) got on the board early in the second quarter . Quarterback Samuel Jacobs pulled a keeper and sprinted down the Armstrong sideline to give the Redskins a 8-6 lead after the conversion. Jacobs scored his second touchdown from 11 yards out when Burrell (7-2) turned the ball over at the Redskins 24-yard line.
Burrell’s Brayden Stone led all rushers with 78 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown that came on 68-yard touchdown run on the Recruits first drive of the game.
Lower Burrell Cadets 20, Freeport Stingers 6
The Cadets were late coming out of the locker rooms in the second half, but it didn’t matter because everybody was on Burrell’s time as the Cadet’s dropped the Stingers to win the 120-pound AVYFL championship.
Penalized for arriving late to the field for the start of the second half because of the long walk from Kittanning’s visiting locker room to the field, Freeport (7-2) kicked off from midfield and had the Cadets right where they wanted them. Or so they thought. Burrell (8-1) put together a 99-yard drive that took the entire 10-minute third quarter, and two minutes into the fourth, before Brayden White scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to put his team up 20-6.
“Our plan at halftime in the locker room was to keep the ball, and that’s what we did,” Cadets coach Shawn Mele said. “We had to control it, iron man football, and that’s what it was.”
The Cadets’ offense was led by running back Brayden White. White rushed for 133 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. His 72-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave the Cadets their first lead at 12-6.
“He’s awesome. He’s a great kid and a workhorse,” Mele said. “He gets the ball, and he runs north and south.”
Mackey Bennis scored on a 39-yard run to tie it 6-6 in the first quarter. Bennis finished with 48 yards on three carries.
Freeport came out and scored on its first drive of the game. Ben Lane scored on a 24-yard touchdown run to give the Stingers the early lead and momentum. Lane finished with 79 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
William Whalen is a freelance writer.