The Carson Senator Pee Wee Pop Warner football team moved one step closer to returning to the National Championships with a 14-8 win over the San Marin Ponies in the regional semifinals on Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif.
Carson advanced to the regional finals, which will be held at 10 a.m. this Saturday in Santa Clara. With a win, the Senators will advance to the National Championships to be held in December in Orlando, Fla.
Virtually the same group of players advanced to the national championships last year. In the last two years, Carson has posted a 22-2 record, with its only two losses coming in Orlando. Carson is 11-0 this year and has outscored its opponents 26-18 this season.
The Senators took a 14-0 lead in the first half on two touchdown passes from Chance Quilling to Dylan Sawyers. Among those who had key runs on the scoring drives were Austin Pacheco and Shea Bondi also had a key catch from Quilling on the second scoring drive. Pacheco also kicked for the two-pointer after the first scoring drive.
An interception set up San Marin's score in the fourth quarter. Quilling then completed a key 30-yard pass to Bondi, but another interception stopped the drive.
San Marin went on to threaten on a hook and ladder play, but Sawyers made a touchdown-saving tackle. Sawyers then made a game-clinching interception.
Sawyers also had a key fumble recovery in the first quarter and Quilling made a key interception in the third quarter. Others who played well defensively included Patrick Hesse, Pacheco, Sean Cutinilli, Austin Brown, Joe Zinda, Logan Peternell, Gabriel Pongasi, Zach White, Patrick Craugh, Jacob Myers, Quinton Page and Bondi. "The defense played aweson," assistant coach Shane Quilling said.
"A big, big team," Quilling also said about San Marin. "They were way bigger than us. The kids played really hard."