The West Haven Seahawks (13-1) arrived in the warm Florida sunshine ready to play football and vie for a national Pop Warner championship at the 10U level.
The team won the Connecticut and New England Regional championships in recent weeks, setting the stage for the southern trip.
The Seahawks faced the Coastal Cowboys (NC) in the national quarter-final on Saturday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The young Hawks jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a Majesty Whitaker touchdown run. The team would lead at the end of one quarter, 7-6.
Whitaker and fellow running back Tristian Crawford would add touchdowns to extend the lead at the half to 21-6.
The second half saw both teams making big plays, but West Haven put the game away in the fourth quarter for a 34-19 win. CJ Schaulder and Mason Booker lead the offensive line against a very physical and quick Cowboy defense. The bend-but-don’t-break defense was led by Jermaine Gibbs, Jacari Harris, Jeramyah Thames and Jayden Potter.
West Haven, with the victory, advanced to the national semi-final against the No. 1-seed Palm Beach Garden Gators (FL) on Tuesday morning. The semi-final game was never in question as the Palm Beach team exploded for two scores in the opening quarter and a 32-0 lead at halftime.
The Hawks struggled to get any offense going against the reigning national champion Gators. The final score was 32-0 giving the hawks their first loss of the season.
The 10U Seahawks finished a national runner-up and one of the top 4 teams in the nation.