Patriot Squads Reach Super Bowl
Two teams from the local Sandhills Patriots youth football organization have earned berths in the Piedmont Youth Football League Super Bowl games.
The Patriots junior varsity team (ages 10-11) faces the Fayetteville Buccaneers at 3 p.m. Saturday at Vance High School in Charlotte, while the Patriots varsity squad (ages 12-13) faces the Fayetteville Buccaneers at 6:45 p.m. at the same location.
It is the third year in a row that the varsity squad has reached the Super Bowl. Over that three-year period, the varsity squad has gone 31-0, including 8-0 this season, and won two Super Bowls.
The jayvee team, which is 9-1, defeated the Buccaneers 22-6 the first time they played each other. To reach the Super Bowl, the Patriot jayvees knocked off the New Birth Steelers in the AFC championship game. In that contest, the Patriot offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, while running back Jaren Lubrono rushed for 100 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Patriot jayvee defense, led by Marquez Baxter, Langdon McFay and Kyle Ehlers, shut down the Steelers offense. The jayvee squad lead the PYFL in points scored while also allowing the fewest points scored this season.
The Patriot jayvees’ running attack has been led by Labrono and Qu’Darian Kelly. Quarterback Nick Pry has thrown multiple touchdown passes to tight end Dylan Gray, and receivers Ryan Ayers and Fulton Smith. On defense, Mason Wagner, Charles Justice, Garret Clark and Tanner Benton have all made significant contributions.
Seven Patriot jayvee players were selected to the PYFL All-Pro team, including Pry, Lubrano, McFay, Justice, Kelly, Gray and Baxter.
The Patriot varsity team (ages 12-13) defeated the Richmond County Packers 20-6 in earning its third consecutive trip to the PYFL Super Bowl.
In their first meeting, the Patriots defeated the Buccaneers 32-22 in a close and hard-fought context.
In the victory over the Packers, the Patriots were led by quarterback Jaylen Dickerson, who passed for one touchdown and ran for another.
Also making significant contributions on the offensive side of the ball were tight end Griffin Baker, on the receiving end of Dickerson’s 60-yard touchdown pass, and running backs Carson Maples, Sam Williams and Thomas Dean. The Patriot offensive line performed admirably in the absence of captain Sam Fetla, who was unable to play because of an injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots were led by Sean Pollard, David Bortins, Kross Ratliff and Keegan Good. The varsity team defeated the Illumination Titans in the first round of the playoffs before defeating the Packers.
During the season, Dickerson and Zach Martinez have shared the quarterback duties and Maples, Williams, Dean and Ratliff have led the Patriots’ powerful running attack. In the team’s passing attack, Crash Burns, Chris Owens, Baker and Ayinde McKnight have been on the receiving end of multiple passes.
Several varsity players were named to the PYFL All-Pro team, including Fetla, Maples, Williams, Dickerson, McKnight, Bortins, Ratliff, Burns and Good.
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