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Pop Warner football team needs help
November 27, 2009, 03:30 AM By Emanuel Lee

Even in a down economy, giving a little goes a long way. Especially to youth sports organizations which serve to inspire children and teach the values of hard work, discipline and overcoming adversity. The West Bay Rams-San Bruno Pop Warner football organization happens to be one of those sport programs that deserve help.

For the first time in their illustrious history, the Rams have advanced two of their six squads — the Junior Peewee (8-10 year-olds) and Peewee (9-11) — to the final round of the Pacific Northwest Regional Division II Championships.

Both teams will play Saturday morning — the Juniors are up first at 9 a.m. before the Peewees take the field at 11 — at Townsend Field in Santa Clara for the right to advance to Pop Warner’s grandest stage — the Pop Warner Super Bowl at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

The Junior Peewees had to win their last game of the regular season just to qualify for the playoffs, then won three games and knocked off the top seed en route to Saturday’s game.

Of course, if either team wins it’s going to take some major fund-raising efforts to help pay all the travel costs and hotel fees for the trip. Either way, the Rams need your help. Yvonne Casperson, who is the facility administrator and a West Bay board member, said this was the first year the organization started a marketing group because sponsorship money and donations are down at least 50 percent from previous years because of the economy.

"Money-wise it’s killing us trying to pay for everything,” Casperson said. "For all of our home games alone (which are played at Capuchino High), we have to hire a student so he or she can sell barbecue on school property. And that’s only the beginning.”

With six teams consisting of kids ranging in age from 5 to 15, the West Bay Rams program has to be resourceful and find ways to pay for their numerous expenses such as equipment along with insurance and field fees, just to name a few. The organization had a board meeting Tuesday night and determined it would need to raise $67,000 to make the trip to Orlando if both teams won on Saturday.

"It sounds like a daunting task, but we just found out a team from Alaska did the same thing two weeks ago,” said Todd Grammatico, who is the Capuchino softball coach and has a son playing on the Junior Peewee team.

There’s plenty of unique tidbits regarding the West Bay Rams. Their 17-member board consists of 16 women, and most of the current coaches have sons who are playing for one of the six squads.

In other words, an entire generation of families can pass through the Rams organization, which has existed for over 50 years. In addition to the Junior Peewee and Peewee, the Rams have four other teams: The Tiny Mites (5-7), Mighty Mites (7-9), Junior Midget (10-12) and Midget (11-15). There are 29 teams in the Peninsula Pop Warner League, and teams from Alaska, Nevada and Oregon are competing along with squads from California in the Pacific Northwest Regional Championships.

"You have people asking if it’s all worth it (trying to raise so much money in a short amount of time if the teams advance to the Super Bowl),” Grammatico said. "And I say yes because this is a lifetime experience for the kids and something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

In lieu of donations or for more information please contact the West Bay Rams at 401 Piccadilly Place, #15 San Bruno, CA 94066, call (415) 335 0076 or e-mail kennylealao@gmail.com.


***

For the third time in the last six years, the Menlo School football team has earned the Fall Season Scholastic Championship team award for having the highest collective GPA among all football teams in the section.

"In my time as head coach, we’ve had only one result-oriented goal, to be the CCS Scholastic Team Champions,” Knights coach Mark Newton said in a e-mail press release. "Being a coach at Menlo requires you to understand what it takes to be a successful student-athlete and we pay close attention to our players’ progress throughout the year. If a student-athlete needs extra time for academics, we afford a unique level of flexibility to allow them to improve their performance in the classroom.”


Emanuel Lee can be reached: emanuel at smdailyjournal.com and (650) 344 5200, ext. 109.


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