The 12U Warwick Police Athletic League football team fell in the Pop Warner Regional Championship this past weekend to Hamden, Conn. At Bishop Hendricken.
Despite the loss, the 12U Patriots enjoyed one of the best seasons in PAL history, finishing the regular season undefeated and cruising to an Ocean State Pop Warner Championship.
Hamden entered Saturday’s match hungry, and used a tough, physical style to wear down the Pats.
“They were smashmouth. They were a smashmouth team and we found ourselves a little caught off guard because we are a little more technical,” said PAL head coach Bruce Perreault. “We were beat up physically and once you are beat up physically; the mental part starts taking over. That’s something that we the coaching staff need to take a look at for next year … we need to find a way for our kids to be a little bit more physical while being technical at the same time.”
The 2018 season was successful on numerous levels for PAL. Not only did the Patriots take an undefeated record into Saturday’s title bout, but they also completed a big turnaround season after a down year in 2017.
“It was a close game in terms of intensity but unfortunately we were outmatched physically. I’m very proud of the kids. These kids came off of a losing season last year and had some good coaching prior to this season, and (the success) was a culmination of all of that, their determination and hard work,” said Perreault. “I was extremely psyched that they did as well as they did, not many teams make it past that first round. We came up short, but we did have an undefeated season … these kids played so well.”
Perreault also hopes to see the loss motivate the returning players next year, and make the club even stronger once postseason play begins.
“Next year, I think these kids are going to be so damn hungry and they’re going to put in the work before the season, whether it be in a different sport they’re playing or (football). They now know that the level of competition (at the regional level) is above and beyond, it’s just a different level. Now they’ve been there, they have a taste of it, and now they will have a higher expectation of what they need to do and we can go from there,” said Perreault.
Although the Pats came up one game short, the 2018 12U team will not be forgotten, and will enjoy the success that it achieved this fall.
“It’s awesome, it’s absolutely awesome,” said Perreault. “These kids all put their heart and soul into it and they worked very, very hard. We pushed them to their limits and they did everything that they needed to do. I’m extremely proud of this team and am looking forward to coaching them next season.”