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.
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