The 10U Panthers capped an impressive season with a redemption win over Generals Highway in the Anne Arundel Youth Football Association 10U National championship game on November 11.
The team of Dylan Adams, Brayden Connolly, CJ Couture, Cayden King, Jayden Koletty, Gavin Lewis, Owen Lucas, Lucas McDonald, Dawson Mikovich, Jeremiah Morton, Braddox Pisano, Cole Smith, Austin Velenovsky, Gavyn Weatherly and Jason Windell went 7-2 during the regular season, with both losses coming to Generals Highway.
In the playoffs, the Panthers notched victories over the Pasadena Chargers and Harundale Rebels to set up a rematch in the championship game with Generals Highway, and the team came together for a 7-6 win over the previously undefeated and No. 1-seed Tigers.
“We were hands down the underdog coming into the championship game, but I knew my kids had it in them to win and were more than capable,” said head coach Tony Lewis, who coached the team with assistant coaches Jon Pisano, Todd Beck, Keith Zolman, Gus Velenovsky, James McDonald and Dylan Lewis. “It took a team effort to win the game, and everyone played lights-out.”
With a newly formed team of only 15 players, a new coaching staff and multiple first-year players, Lewis added that the team overcame a variety of obstacles but was never deterred from its ultimate goal.
“I came into this season hoping to win a few games, not expecting to with the division championship,” he said. “We started out slow but gained momentum as the season progressed. There were lots of tears shed throughout the season, and frustrations both by players and coaches, but we set a goal and accomplished the mission. My boys earned every right to be in that championship game, and all I asked from them was to go out there, have fun, be aggressive and play some smash-mouth football. I could not have been more proud of them as their head coach, not just because they won the championship, but because of how much they progressed throughout the season. It was an honor to coach every one of them, and I look forward to the seasons ahead.”