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Pop Warner Football: North Creek Jaguars end their debut season at 12-1

  • Written by Derek Johnson

The North Creek Jaguars fared much better than their NFL counterparts in Jacksonville this year. These Jaguars of Bothell won their first 12 games of the season before losing November 20th to Peninsula East Bay. That game was played at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, Wash.   

What’s even more impressive was that this was the team’s first year in existence.

“It was an extremely fun season,” North Creek coach James Ronneberg said.

North Creek plays in the Greater Northwest Conference, which is a non-profit youth football and cheer organization, serving Portland, Vancouver, East Vancouver, Camas, Battleground, Cowlitz, and Bothell, Wash. The weekend of Nov 19-20 was the Pacific Northwest Regional Championship games. The teams vied for a chance to play in the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, FL in early December.

League ChampionsThe 2016 North Creek Jaguars (Courtesy photo)

As Ronneberg reflected on his team’s season, one of the highlights was their trips to California, Spokane and Reser Stadium in Corvallis, which is the home field for the Oregon State Beavers.

“The kids were all just jumping around going ‘This is awesome!’” Ronneberg said. “They were all in awe standing on the field looking around at the stadium.”

Ronneberg, who has been coaching youth football for 20  years, was deeply impressed with the character of this Jaguar team.  

“You see the kids develop and obviously that’s what you hope for and try to do,” he said. “But the one thing I would point out is how quickly the kids accepted one another and bonded. So fast in how they came together. Immediately they were like brothers. They became like family. More so than any other team I’ve coached. It was shocking how fast it happened. It made my job easy.”

Ronneberg was asked for an example.  

“When you talk about any sport, there’s usually a clique of kids who are studs and they ignore the kid who is still developing,” he said. “That did not happen on this team. Those top guys went over and brought those developing kids into the fold. Without me having to ask them. It was that leadership thing.”

In their season-ending defeat, they were against what amounted to a hand-picked select team in Peninsula East Bay, according to Ronneberg. Even though the Jags lost 31-0, they earned their opponents’ respect.

“It was a rough afternoon, but that other team knew they had played a game,” Ronneberg said. “The score sounds worse than it was. We really competed against them. All their parents, coaches, everybody was blown away with how well we competed against them as a first-year program that stepped up so high in competition.”

The 2016 North Creek Jaguars

Andrew Ronneberg    QB/CB
Zavion Jones    FB/ILB
Jayden Maple    WR/CB
Aiden Lay    LT/DE
Christian Knapp    LG/ILB
Phoenix Mathis    C/DE
Cohen Mettler    RG/DT
Tadhg Thorne    DT/OLB
Nick Webber    RT/OLB
Tyler McAfee    TE/DE
Memphis Dietz    RB/OLB
Royce Sommer-Coleman   RB/OLB
Tyson Lasconia    FB/DE
Logan Tews    QB/ILB
Jackson Eis    DT/FB
Colin Miller    DT/FB
Dylan Jones    RB/S
John Merritt    DT/FB

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