FULTON, NY – Fulton Pop Warner’s Pee Wee Football team (9-2) advanced to this weekend’s NYS Championship by beating the New City Rams (8-3) in Monroe NY.
It has reportedly been at least 15 years since they have gone this far.
The Raiders started strong with its defense holding the Rams on their first four plays inside their own territory.
The offense wasted no time driving 44 yards and cashing the first score behind tough line play and running by Ian Bogardus and Jake Ely.
Ely capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run to make the score 6-0 after the first drive.
On the next kickoff, the Rams could not find the football and the Raiders recovered in New City territory once again.
After a couple of successful plays and a first down, the Raiders muffed a handoff and turned the ball back over to the Rams.
“That was a tough turnover at that time, we were driving to go up two scores and it really changed momentum,” head coach Chuck Burlingham said.
The Rams scored on a 68-yard pass two plays later and added the extra point making the score 7-6 Rams.
The first half ended with the Rams leading 7-6.
“I was confident we would continue to move the ball and put more points on the board in the second half,” Burlingham said. “We told the kids the first drive of the second half was critical, we needed to go down and score.”
That was made much easier when Ely returned the second half kickoff 62 yards to the Rams nine yard line.
The very first play went for a touchdown when Sam May connected with Cuinn Burlingham on a seven-yard pass and Burlingham ran over the safety bringing the score to 12-7 and setting the tone for the second half.
The defense stopped the rams on their next two possessions before the offense put another drive together at the start of the fourth quarter behind the running of Ryan Gugula, Bogardus and Ely.
The drive was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run by Ely. The extra point kick by Andru Walts was good bringing the score to 20-7.
“The defense has been good all year and are getting better the past couple of weeks,” added defense coordinator Dan Murray. “We are very athletic and are becoming more disciplined every week, if we have a good week of practice and stay disciplined with the game plan we will be very difficult to score on Saturday.”
The Rams went to the air in the fourth quarter to try and go over the top of the Raiders.
The defensive held strong before the Rams scored on a draw play that went 84 yards for a touchdown with 4:20 left in the game.
The extra point run was good bringing the score to 20-14. That set up the most exciting play in football, the onside kick.
The Raiders were ready; the Ram’s well placed kick ended up in the arms of Cuinn Burlingham for the Raiders.
Fulton was set up to run out the clock and win but the Ram’s defense held tough and stopped the raiders on three downs.
The Raiders had to punt with 2:20 left in the game.
Walts’ punt was well placed and was downed by Gugula inside the Rams’ five yard line.
The Fulton defense did the rest and the raiders were heading to the State Championship with a 20-14 win.
The State Championship game will be held at Union College in Schenectady on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Raiders will be taking on the Southwest Colts out of the Western NY Conference.
For ticket information or additional information about the game you can contact Fulton Pop Warner at [email protected]