Burbank youth tackle football looks to make history
Burbank Vikings Senior Green and Midget Green teams looking to make history in PYFL Super Bowl games.
Guy Gibbs of the Burbank Vikings Senior Green prepares for the Youth Super Bowl on Saturday. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer / November 16, 2012)
“We have probably watched over 100 hours of film so far this season,” Enman said. “We just try and do what we can to have the kids as prepared for games as possible.”
Enman and Moore don’t coach at the college level, or even among the high school ranks. Instead, they head a gutsy group of 11-year-olds who play in the Burbank Vikings Youth Tackle Football program. They are part of the Midget Green team and they’re hope to make history.
Actually, two Vikings teams have a chance of doing something no other group in the history of the organization has been able to accomplish. The Midget Green team will be joined by a Senior Green squad in Pacific Youth Football League Super Bowl games Saturday at Thousand Oaks High.
Burbank Green (11-0) will take on Ventura Black in the Midget championship at 2 p.m. and the other Burbank Green (10-1) team will face North Oxnard Black in the Senior title game at 7 p.m.
“It’s awesome to have two teams from the same organization playing in Super Bowl games in the same year,” Enman said. “It’s great for the community and it’s a great way to attract kids to come out for the program. Over the years we’ve lost a lot of local kids to the programs in Santa Clarita. We really want to keep these kids here.”
In the 20-year history of the PYFL Super Bowl competition, only three Burbank Vikings teams have advanced to championship games. No Burbank squad has ever captured a championship.
The last Burbank team to qualify for a Super Bowl was Burbank Black, which fell to Ventura Black, 30-6, in the Senior Super Bowl in 2007 at College of the Canyons. Burbank Senior teams also fell short of the title in 2002 and 2003.
The Midget Green earned a spot in the Super Bowl with a semifinal win Nov. 10 against Lancaster, 33-14.
Burbank Midget Green boasts a run-heavy offense, spearheaded by running backs Dante Coxsom, Loyal Terry and Sebastian “Sunshine” Leal. The squad also has strong defensive players in lineman Manny Pimentel and linebacker Jake Moore.
The team’s players said they are looking forward to playing in the Super Bowl game and getting the chance to make history.
“I’m really excited and I’m so excited that I’m not even nervous,” Terry said. “When I’m on the field, I just think like, ‘Wow, I’m going to play in a Super Bowl game.’ This is a big game for us and we’re ready for it.”
Added Leal: “We are a really close team and this means a lot to us. We are a band of brothers and that’s why we have that written on the back of our shirts. We have all come together for this.”
Enman said eight of the team’s athletes have been together since playing on the Pee-Wee level four years ago.
Coached by Joe Manasewitsch, the Senior Green overcame a nemesis to advance to the Super Bowl. Burbank defeated the Santa Clarita Warriors, 32-20, in a semifinal contest Nov. 10. The Warriors had knocked the Burbank team out in the semifinals the three previous years.
The Vikings will be taking on a North Oxnard Black team that has a history of success in advancing to Super Bowl games.
“They haven’t lost a game since 2009, whey they lost in the Super Bowl,” Manasewitsch said. “They have gone to five of the last Super Bowls. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we think we have the talent to be able to compete in the game.”
The Senior Green team runs an offense that relies a lot on the run, using misdirection and multiple running backs to frustrate opponents. In fact, the Vikings’ offense is similar to the one run at Burbank High.
“We base our offense on what they run at Burbank,” Manasewitsch said. “Our level, the Seniors, is the last before players go on to high school. We want our players to be prepared to be able to play on the next level.”
Two of the team’s top running backs are Brandon Beardt and Khalid Taylor. The squad also has a standout wide receiver in Michael Woods. The team’s defense is led by linebacker Jake Kelley.
“These kids have really worked hard to get to this game,” Manasewitsch said. “They have put in the time and hopefully that will pay off.”