The sections are divided like this: Mighty Mites football for ages 4-6, Junior Pee Wee tackle football for ages 7-8, Pee Wee for ages 9-11 and Midget for ages 11-13 . Three days before the Super Bowl, Rebels coach Tyler Stahl felt confident and had no doubt the team would come.
And that’s exactly what I did.
“They’re excited and prepared,” he said, “and we’ve given them everything they need to know.” “They answered the call every single time and were waiting for it.”
In 11 games, Hollister outscored their opponents 378-66, which equals an average score of 34-6 per contest. The Rebels’ only close call came from a late 22-18 win over Soledad in the league’s semi-finals.
Needing a touchdown to get the win, the Rebels went 70 yards in five plays to pull off an impressive comeback victory against a team they had not played during the regular season.
“Soledad gave us a run for our money,” Stahl said. “We beat them in the last four minutes of the game.”
Stahl continued, “The boys wanted it more. We weren’t surprised and just answered them. Everyone did their job and that’s it. After we scored a goal, we put them on defense at the last minute. We didn’t get too upset because they are a different team. They wouldn’t accept this loss and they would have done everything they could to win and that’s what they did.”
The Rebels were humbled 60-0 in the Super Bowl last year, giving them the momentum to return for 2022 as a team on a mission.
“Getting beat and smashed like that, hey, you know what, it’s part of football. The kids got a taste of it last year and came back for their revenge,” Stahl said.
The MBYFL is a heavy league, and Hollister is no exception, which has relied on a bunch of followers to outwit the opposition. The two people who have been responsible for getting the most team rushing yards are Cole Seymour and Isaac Hernandez.
Seymour scored the winning TD against Soledad, the only game the Rebels have trailed all season out of 11 games.
“They’re both great footballers,” said Staal. “One is squishing the mouth and the other is more nimble and will hit you fast. Isaac is more ground and pound and Cole can go a long way as a fast type guy. We run on the rock a lot because we have too many good running defenders that don’t.”
Braiden Hernandez also proved to be the difference-maker carrying the ball in the team’s rushing offense.
“Braiden plays receiver and defensive end and he’s our utility knife,” said Stahl.
Coach Hollister also admired quarterback Enrique Rivas’ decisions and his ability to make plays when sometimes it didn’t seem like there was anything going on.
“A child is unrealistic, especially at this age,” Stahl said.
Of course, the strong rushing offense starts with the offensive line, and Hollister had the best unit in the league starting with Cody Dickens, a 6-4, 290-pound center.
“He’s a first-year football player, but the guy has the guy,” Stahl said. “He’s really smart, a great athlete, a leader, and a dream coach. He keeps getting knowledgeable at his command and there’s no telling how good this kid is.”
Guards Luke Mahler and Fayez Yassin along with Cisco Victory and Adrian Mimella completed a solid offensive line that consistently reached the second level all season, freeing up the fullback for huge gains.
As is common in youth football, the best players usually go both ways. The team’s defense was so good that most of the opponents held their offense from start to finish. That’s because Hollister has had some serious beef on his defensive line, including 6-foot-tall, 300-pound nose guard Angelo Garza, who claimed double teams and allowed talented players like Isaac Hernandez to fly in and tackle for losses.
“Angelo is the reason teams can’t run down the middle on us,” Stahl said. “He’s the centre-back, and he makes it happen for us in the middle and makes Isaac’s real job in the middle.”
Cadrian Bonilla and Mahler tackled around Garza to form a set line, and linebackers Isaac Hernandez, Brayden Hernandez, Xavier Bonilla, Raymond Fellowes and Seymour made tackles all over the field, usually at or behind the line of scrimmage.
When opponents attempted a pass, cornerbacks No Morin, Tanner Frisco, and free safety Enrique Rivas were there to break up passes or make interceptions. Stahl credited everyone involved in the organization with the team’s success.
“I have a great coaching staff and a great support system,” he said. “Team moms, dads, the league, it’s a team effort.”
Sports Editor Emmanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]