The Virginia Beach Mustangs Jr. Pee Wees became national champions after overcoming their first deficit of the season and beating Florida’s Forestview Steelers 12-8 in Saturday’s Pop Warner Division 1 Super Bowl.
Down 8-6 midway through the fourth quarter, Mustangs running back Quran Boyd busted out a 79-yard touchdown run to put Virginia Beach on top 12-8. The Mustangs’ defense forced a turnover on downs on the Steelers’ following drive.
“Going into the fourth quarter, the kids told us that we were going to win this game,” Mustangs coach Chris Currie said Sunday. “We talked about handling adversity all season long. It wasn’t going to be easy, and they stepped up and handled that challenge.”
The Steelers were driving deep into the Virginia Beach team’s territory in the fourth quarter when the Mustangs’ defense, which hadn’t been scored on all season before Saturday, forced a fumble. Boyd capitalized in the ensuing drive.
“We just told the defense to do what we’ve been doing all season,” Currie said. “And that’s what they did.”
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Currie added. “When you think about the overall total number of Jr. Pee Wee teams in the country, and then to win it all. To be able to say we’re national champions, it came true for the kids.”
The Mustangs’ Pee Wees and Jr. Midgets also played for a D1 national championship Saturday. Both lost by the same score, 30-0, to teams from the same program, Florida’s Gwen Cherry Bulls.
Bruce Pearl, director of the Mustangs, said his program became the first in Pop Warner history to send three Division 1 teams to the national championship in the same year.