Pop Warner Junior Midget Division II National Title Game
More film and comment from my trip to Orlando to watch the Pop Warner and AYF National Championships. This is Junior Midget level which is age 10-12 from 85-135 lbs and 13 year olds 85-115 lbs. The yellow team is Port St Lucie Florida, the Aqua team is the Detroit Dolphins.
Since Jeff Miret the head coach of Port St Lucie (PSL) is a friend, the video I’m posting is limited as will my commentary. I watched both of PSL’s games and was very impressed with this youth football team, unfortunately I won’t post all the video or comment on the defense either.
On offense PSL as you can see from the video runs some of my stuff, it is their base, but they are a multiple team. They come off the ball well and their backs hit the hole full force, they execute well and are patient. They pull well and not only get nice double teams, but adjust their blocking a bit against Detroit. The PSL linemen do a nice job of getting a piece of those linebackers in the 4-3. Detroit had so much speed and numbers on the edges PSL limited 95% plus of their runs to inside the tackles.
Jeff is a former successful High School football coach, who knows his stuff. As an independent business owner he has the flexibility to put in a ton of time preparing his kids and does a lot of film work. I’m not sure any coach is better prepared or have teams that are better prepared than Jeff’s teams . His kids are quality kids, I spent some time around them and saw them “in action” at Universal the day before their big game a class act on and off the field. PSL simply has great kids, great coaches and very supportive fans.
They were in the tournament last year at Pee Wee and finished third. I watched the Division I Junior Midget Championship game on Saturday and felt Jeff’s team would have been neck and neck with the winner and would have trounced the loser. Jeff does a great job of play calling, game planning and making adjustments. Tournament experience is important and the PSL kids and coaches have it. I sat in the stands with several coaching friends from Florida and accurately predicted several plays he would call, which I thought were just right for the defense, down and field position. Jeff knows how to play in a tournament, what to show and not show as everyone is well scouted in these games.
As you can see PSL is very good on special teams, they have one of the better on-side kicks I’ve seen and are very crisp on both sides of the punting game. His defense held Detroit to just a handful of first downs, the TD they gave up was a long fluke play.
Detroit had excellent skill position players. They did not block as consistently or stay on their blocks as well as many of the other youth football teams I saw in Orlando. They did not pull, trap or crab block. On offense they were a 4 and sometimes 5 wide spread team. They had very athletic skill players and a very mobile quarterback. While there were times the receivers had a little room, the pressure on the quarterback was relentless. When the quarterback got to the open field on runs, he was limited to a few gains of 10-15 yards. PSL had some athletic DBs and LBs who are well trained “football players”. PSL tackles well, especially in the open field.
Detroit tackled fairly well also, but they stayed in the 4-3 most of the game and got 4-6 yarded to death. PSL threw I think 3 passes, 2 for completions with 1 TD. PSL can throw the ball effectively and efficiently, but with the 4-3 it just didn’t make much sense.
PSL had just 2 off-sides penalties from what I remember, while Detroit had several 10 and 15 yard penalties that took them out of good plays. PSL did a great job of controlling the tempo with their no-huddle offense with wrist bands. We loved seeing them rattle off 3 real quick plays before halftime which helped them meet their mmp requirements.
Detroit on the other hand blew at least 2 complete drives because they subbed in their entire minimum play group in on offense en masse to get their plays in. When they did this they ran out of the Power I rather than the spread and only ran between the tackles. Obviously Jeff had this scouted and these plays went for negative to maybe 1-2 yards per snap. Detroit did not get any first downs when the mmp kids were in and lost field position on every drive they chose to use this mmp strategy.
All in all this was a fun game to watch because I knew some of the coaches and players. PSL dominated this division and in my opinion this division had the greatest amount of separation from the #1 team to the rest in the division.
Just like all but one of the 15 games I watched, no single player or running back “dominated” the game. PSL was very balanced.