The Lihu’e Patriot Pee Wee team advanced at the Pop Warner Superbowl by downing the East Tampa Bandits, 14-6 Tuesday in Florida.
Coming off a 6-0 halftime deficit, the Patriots struck paydirt on a 31-yard quarterback sneak to tie the game, 6-6.
A halfback option pass pulled the Patriots out of the deadlock late in the fourth period with the successful point-after moving the Patriots into the championship bracket.
The Bandits capitalized on a Patriots turnover in the second quarter resulting in a one-yard quarterback sneak to give them the 6-0 halftime lead.
According to Ralph Suniga, one of the Patriot leaders who called in from Florida, Lihu’e will play the Hollister Vikings, a team from California, for the Pop Warner Division II championship on Friday, Dec. 9.
Patriots’ coach Mario Longboy credits his team’s success to the community and families who have been a huge help, not only financially, but coming to the games and showing support. Longboy said their win in Florida was a result of the large contingency of fans and the cheer squad.
The Kekaha Panthers JPW cheer squad finished in second place in the Intermediate Division, Jr. Pee Wee Large competition. The Panthers garnered 82.28 points for their silver medal, being bested by the New Fairfield Falcons who topped the competition at 83.92 points. Following the Panthers, the Brick Memorial Mustangs were in third place with 81.62 points, just .22 points ahead of the Darlington Braves.
The Hanapepe Colts JPW squad finished in eighth place overall in the Novice Division, Jr. PeeWee Large competition, and the Lihu’e Patriots JPW ended the day 19th in the Novice Division, Jr. Pee Wee Small competition. The Lihu’e Patriots’ Pee Wee squad is scheduled to compete Wednesday, Dec. 7 in Florida.