Craig youth football leagues crown champions |

Craig youth football leagues crown champions

Nate Waggenspack
The Ravens were champions in this year's Craig Parks and Recreation fifth/sixth grade football league, winning 7-6 over the Hayden Tigers Wednesday. Front row, from left: Christopher Maneotis, Blake Juergens, Bryan Gonzales, Donnie Quick, Tyler Fortune. Second row, from left: Jesus Paez, Huvel Mendoza, Beau Hellander, Danial Caddy, Joe Campagna. Coaches, from left: Kirk Hellander, Marco Cuevas, Jason Juergens, Jarrot Caddy.
Courtesy Photo

The Craig Parks and Recreation youth football seasons played their final games this week, with great games deciding the 2013 champions in each league.

Doak Walker football playoffs started this week, with the fifth and sixth grade championship game taking place Wednesday night at Woodbury, followed by the third and fourth grade game Thursday.

The Ravens won a 7-6 defensive battle against the Hayden Tigers on Wednesday in the fifth/sixth game, taking the rubber match in the championship after the teams had split their meetings during the regular season.

“It was a defensive battle, but it was an overall good game,” said Ravens coach Kirk Hellander. “Everybody did their job and there were no standout players. I really like playing against Hayden, they’re a tough team.”

Hayden capitalized on a Ravens fumble late in the second quarter of the game, using the turnover to score on a long touchdown run. They were turned away on their extra point try, however.

The Ravens would recover in the second half, getting a touchdown run from Blake Juergens, and an extra point to take the one-point lead. After that, it was all about defense, as the Ravens stayed disciplined against Hayden’s potent running attack.

“I’m really proud, because 11 players came to play the game,” Hellander said. “All 11 of them had moments that really counted in the game, from our biggest boys to our littlest man.”

In the third/fourth grade game, it was the Steelers and the undefeated Vikings vying for the title. Despite an awesome regular season, turnovers plagued the Vikings, while the Steelers capitalized and played a sound game, handing the purple and gold its only loss of the year. Connor Chalmers ran all over the field for the Steelers, including a long interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal it.

It was the best way to end a great year for the Steelers.

“I’ve coached six sports before and this was the most fun season I’ve had,” said Steelers coach Phil Vallem. “Our kids worked so hard and they deserved it. I’m happy that they could finish it this way.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or

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