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Hesperia Junior All American Football teams win conference championships
Both teams compete for state championships next weekend
For the first time in city history, two tough-as-nails teams from the Junior All American Football league have won conference championships.
Both the Hesperia Trojans Junior Pee Wee (11-12 year olds) and Micros (9-10 year olds) teams beat their opponents last Sunday. The Junior Pee Wees defeated Apple Valley in a dramatic 21-20 victory in Corona while the younger Micro team beat the Summit Titans 31-13.
“This is the farthest that any Hesperia team has gone,” said Kevin Fugate, head coach for the Junior Pee Wee squad.
Behind at halftime, the Hesperia team held their opponent scoreless in the second half for the come-from-behind victory. The win gave the Junior Pee Wees a record of 11-1.
Meanwhile, the Micros were looking to avenge last year’s defeat when they headed into the conference game 10-0 against Colton.
“Half these kids had a bad taste in their mouth,” said Micro head coach Robert Brammer.
The result was a convincing win over Summit for the 12-0 Micros, which came into the game with eight shut outs.
The two teams will compete in state championship games on Sunday, Dec. 16 at Paloma Valley High in Menifee. The Micros play at 9 a.m., and the Junior Pee Wees play at 1 p.m.
“It’s huge,” said Hesperia Postmaster Victor Maldonado, whose son Victor Jr. plays on the Juniors. Maldonado serves as one of several assistant coaches on the team. “It’s a first time for Hesperia.”
But both coaches aren’t surprised at their teams’ success. That’s because the Hesperia program builds character.
“We concentrate on discipline, hard work, and, of course, sportsmanship,” Fugate said. Beginning their season in late July, the boys are on the field -- the teams practice at Lime Street Park -- four or five days a week. “It takes extreme dedication.”
Fugate demands that his boys excel both on an off the field.
“We check their grades,” he said. Not surprisingly, the team won an award for having a number of its players with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. “They work hard.”
But the toughness on the field certainly shows, too.
“We have exceptional talent out here,” Brammer said. “Some of our younger players have stepped up to the plate. We also have a really talented bunch of coaches.”
Both coaches agree that their players have proven their mettle.
“It takes a little more to be a champion,” Brammer said quoting another coach. “That’s their motto.”
“This is probably the best team I’ve had in terms of hard work and heart,” Fugate said.