The Northwest Raiders fell short of their dream of winning the 2011 National Pop Warner Championship with a 28-0 loss to the Florida City Razorbacks in Saturday’s title game. While the defeat was jarring, assistant coach Rich Williams said there’s pride to be found in finishing second.
“It’s an accomplishment just getting down there,” he said of the trip from Germantown, where the Raiders play and train, to the ESPN football complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Raiders play in the Pop Warner “midget” division, which is for youths from 11 to 15 years old.
Noting that the Razorbacks were a talented squad with players who run at NFL-level speeds, he added, “It was hard. The kids were upset, devastated, but we had a chance to get 28 inner-city youths out of the city for a week, to see something different than what they’re used to. For the most part, it was a great experience.”
That great experience was made possible, in part, by a public/private partnership between City Hall, Comcast, the Eagles and others who helped cover portions of the $800-a-person trip.
“We want to thank everybody for having our back,” Williams said. “To everyone who came through for us, everything is appreciated.”
Though the game won’t air on ESPN2 until 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, the Pop Warner website posted an interview with head coach Duane Watson. It can be viewed via this link.