The 10U Bucs football team entered the Anne Arundel Youth Football Association National Division playoffs at just 4-4 — not exactly favorites to run away with the postseason title.
But the Bucs had confidence and a belief they could ride their abilities all the way to the championship.
Pasadena made good on its goals, defeating Cape in the semifinals before shutting out South Bowie 13-0 in the championship game on November 10 at Severna Park High School to win the AAYFA National Division championship.
“To win a county National championship is a special accomplishment,” said Bucs head coach Tony Blair. “Many of the boys, myself and my staff have coached them in football since they were 4 years old, and to see them progress and accomplish this goal is not only special for them but also for the staff and myself. This is a special group of boys that understands you must give all you have from the beginning of the game to the end of the game.”
The team of Cam Weidner, Anthony Daniels, Boaz Domizio, Sean Saunders, Lance Blair, Antoine Parms, Gary Windsor, Parker Holland, Richard Swartz, Joey Schollenberger, Dylin Jackson, Dontae Townes, Dominic Waters, Mason Kolodziejski, Jacob Schanken, Micheal Taylor, Kyle Cusick, Gunnar Giunta, Lenox Lavicka and Chase Hyatt had its work cut out entering the postseason. They had lost previously to Cape during the regular season, but they avenged that loss by defeating the Cougars in the semifinals to make the championship.
Playing without starting quarterback Lance Blair in the championship due to a prior baseball commitment, backup quarterback Mason Kolodziejski led his team to the title in its 13-0 win in the final.
Offensively the team was led throughout the season by the ground attack of running backs Jackson, Parms and Swartz, which opened up the air assault of Blair at quarterback and receivers Schollenberger and Kolodziejski. Outstanding O-line play by Daniels, Guinta, Saunders, Weidner and Taylor was a key to success for the Bucs’ offense, which was led by offensive coordinator Gene Zimmerman.
Defensive coordinator Shayne Parsons said the defense “was a special group across the board and outperformed my expectations by a mile,” and the group punctuated a strong season with a championship-game shutout.
Coach Blair, who coached with Zimmerman, Parsons, Anthony Giunta, Tony Daniels, Gary Windsor, Dale Bowers and Steve Schanken, said a turning point of the season came in a September 29 victory over PAL. The Bucs trailed the Hawks 12-0 at halftime but came back for a 13-12 win.
“From that point on, the boys believed they could compete with any team in the county,” said Blair, “and they carried that mentality into the playoffs.”
Following the county title win, the Bucs went on to compete in the four-team 10U All-Pro State Championship tournament, where they fell to the Herford Bulls in a competitive 12-0 game.
Still, the season was a resounding success marked by a county crown.
“This team had a relentless mentality, which the boys have displayed since they began to prepare for the season starting way back in June when they played flag football,” said coach Blair. “They bought into the team philosophy from day one and understood it takes a team to win, and success is not based on just one player. Each boy embraced their role on the team and did everything they could to support their teammates.”