Four games into the season, coaches of fifth- and sixth-grade Doak Walker football teams have had time to gauge their teams’ strengths and weaknesses.
On Tuesday, Steelers coach Steve Hafey saw his team play strong defense against an equally potent defensive team, the Jets.
Both teams held strong at the line of scrimmage, leading to a low-scoring, 7-0 contest in favor of the black and gold.
The first half saw little offensive action, as the two teams each fell short of the end zone due to the defensive efforts of the other.
“They’ve been battling well on both sides of the ball,” Jets coach Trevor Sloan said at halftime. “It’s been a good game so far.”
Although both teams continued to have difficulty moving the ball down the field in the second half, the Steelers seized an opportunity to score at the end of the third quarter.
Nose tackle Deven Mosman, 11, and defensive end Kaden Hafey, 10, blocked a punt and dove on the ball in the end zone for the game’s only touchdown.
Kaden said there wasn’t much time to think as the play was happening. He and his teammate simply sprang into action, he said.
“I could only think about recovering it,” he said.
Kaden’s grandfather, Steve, said the team “caught a break” on the play.
“It’s been a very evenly matched game, we just need to block better and be more crisp on offense,” he said.
An interception late in the game by 10-year-old Steelers linebacker Marcus Delgado helped the team seal the win.
“There were a lot of fumbles because both defenses just penetrated the backfield,” Steve said. “I really have to compliment the Jets. They had great defense.”
Following the game, Steve stressed offensive improvement to his players.
However, the coach said getting practice time is sometimes difficult.
“These kids don’t have a lot of time on the field,” he said. “It’s not like the varsity team, practicing three hours a day.”
For Mosman, playing Tuesday marked his return to the field following an arm injury that nearly prevented him from playing.
“I just want to go out strong and finish strong,” he said.
Mosman, who competes in sports year-round, including wrestling and baseball, said he has high hopes for the rest of the football season.
“I think if we improve a little, we have a chance at the championship,” he said.