Submitted by Bob Williams of the Menlo-Atherton Vikings Pop Warner football and cheer program.
Visiting the tough Berkeley Jr Bears for five games on Saturday, Sept. 8, the MA Vikings had a great weekend. In full view of the classic architecture of Oakland Tech High School (built in 1914), the Vikings and Bears played this early season matchup to find their places on the highly competitive 2012 Peninsula Conference Division One battleground.
Game One: Tiny Mites (age 5-7, instructional, non-scorekeeping level)
The Viking Tiny Mite offense was led by Alex Atkins at QB. Sione Laulea ran for over 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, the 2nd on a scooped fumble returned 60 yards.
The defensive line penetrated the backfield on almost every snap and had 5 sacks by Maximos Bragg, Aaron Coralles, and Tolo Laulea. Coach Bragg hinted at some exciting changes. "In the coming weeks, look for our passing attack to include receivers Travis Lambert and John Chung."
Game 2: Mitey Mites (age 8-9, instructional level)
The Mitey Mites fought a hard defensive battle to land their second straight season victory. The final score: 6-0. Rory Ferrick, Ricky Auimatagi, and Justin Creamer anchored the defense. Defensive Ends Justin Creamer and Lawrence Azzopardi wreaked havoc on Berkeley's offensive backfield, leading the team to an eventual shutout. The offense stuck to a "ground and pound" playing style. Lawrence Azzopardi ran for more than 100 yards and Daron Maxie scored the only touchdown in a 6-0 Viking victory, their second straight win.
Game 3: Junior PeeWees (age 9-11)
The Junior PeeWees had a tough, physical game against a talented Berkeley opponent. Down early, the Vikings tied the game at 13-13 late in the 4th quarter. On a broken-play scramble, the Bears went ahead with 2 minutes to go. The Vikings comeback attempt ended as time expired. Lee Master Howard and Justin Sinclair had strong performances on offense and Lee Master Howard, Justin Sellers, and Tevita Moimoi were defensive stars. Demetrius Jernigan had a beautiful run on a punt return to lead the special teams.
Game 4: PeeWee's (age 10-12)
The Vikings got off to a slow start against the Bear's strong running game. But they exploded for 30 points in the second half by capitalizing on the relentless running style of half-back Jack Crockett. Supporting Crockett's running were his offensive line: Connor Richardson, Nick Frangione, Will Houlthaus, Matt Azzapardi, and Ola Fifita. The devastating blocking of fellow backs Floyd Gazaway and Will Beasley along with TE Ramsey Baty and QB Andres Atkins overwhelmed the Berkeley defense. Line-backer Johvante Hill blunted the Bear's come-back hopes with a 60-yard interception leading to a touchdown. Kicker Spencer Corona converted three of four 2-point conversion kicks to add six points on the day The final score was 30-19, giving the PeeWee Vikings a 2-0 record. "I am very proud of the way our team hung in there, and continued to work after being down in the first half," said Head Coach Harold Atkins.
Game 5: Junior Midgets (age 11-13)
This year's Junior Midgets, who represented the Pacific Northwest region in the 2011 Pop Warner Super Bowl, rolled to another convincing win, taking a 30-0 halftime lead. A strong defense maintained the margin for the duration of the game. The team remains undefeated in regular season play over several seasons.
On a sad note, the Vikings mourn the passing of Bill Barrett this weekend. Bill was a great supporter of the program for many years as a coach, along with offering stellar leadership as a board member and club treasurer. Bill will be fondly remembered. The Vikings extend their hearts to the Barrett family on their loss.
Next weekend, the Vikings return to Menlo-Atherton High School on Sunday for their first home game, against local rival Redwood City Jr 49ers. Games will begin at 8:30 a.m.