Youth football teams tackle playoffs

It has been another strong year for the Oak Harbor Youth Football League teams that take part in the North Cascades Youth Football League.

All five squads from Oak Harbor qualified for the playoffs after an outstanding regular season.

“It’s pretty rare in a league with 17 different cities that all our teams made it to the playoffs,” said Oak Harbor league president John Dumas about the teams’ success. “That’s pretty significant.”

In the Midget Division (ages nine and 10), the third-seeded Oak Harbor Bombers shut out the second-seeded Friday Harbor Tigers 22-0 in the first round of the playoffs held Oct. 27. With the victory the Bombers avenged a loss earlier in the season to the Tigers and advanced onto the Island Conference Championship game against the top-seeded Stanwood White Spartans.

In the conference title game the following weekend, the Bombers were not so lucky, falling to the White Spartans in a tough defensive struggle 18-0.

Also in the Midget Division, the top-seeded Oak Harbor Jets easily dispatched the fourth-seeded North County Eagles 36-0 and moved on to the Mountain Conference Championship tilt for the second straight year. They faced the Stanwood Red Spartans on Nov. 3, and after trailing at the half, were able to rally for a 28-16 victory.

With the win, the Jets earned the right to face the Stanwood White Spartans in the NCYFL title game today at 12:30 p.m at Arlington High School.

“The Jets are the defending champions and they are playing the same team they beat last year,” said Dumas. “The Jets are a powerhouse and rolled through the season this year. I think they have a great chance to win.”

In the Junior Division (ages 11 and 12), the fourth-seeded Oak Harbor Intruders traveled to Anacortes to take on the top-seeded Seahawks on Oct. 27. The Anacortes squad escaped with a 12-7 victory after last-second drive by the Intruders stalled in Seahawks territory.

Meanwhile in the Mountain Conference, the top-rated Oak Harbor Warriors hosted the fourth-seeded Sedro-Woolley Cubs. The Warriors played outstanding defense, capturing the game with a 12-0 shutout of the Cubs to avenge a loss earlier in the regular season.

With the victory the Warriors moved on to face the Stanwood Spartans in the Mountain Conference Championship game on Nov. 3. After a tight contest, the Warriors missed a late game two-point conversion that would have given them the victory. Instead they narrowly lost to the Spartans 13-12 in what Dumas described as “one of the more memorable conference championships.”

In the Senior Division (ages 13 and 14), the fifth-seeded Oak Harbor Prowlers met the fourth-seeded Burlington-Edison Eagles for the third time of the season on Oct. 27. After a hard-hitting tilt, the Prowlers season came to an end with a 16-12 loss to the Bengals.

The NCYFL has 44 teams from 17 different cities in the North Cascades area with over 1,200 players participating, including 196 from Oak Harbor.

The OHYFL is a non-profit organization consisting of children ages seven to 14 that attend school in the Oak Harbor School District. Players are placed in varying divisions based on age and weight criteria. The team coaches and support staff are all volunteers. Home games are played at the Ft. Nugent sports complex.

“There’s been a lot of hard work by the players and the coaches,” Dumas said. “Our goal are to teach fundamental football, but have a good time doing it. We want to get more kids playing.”

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