SOLEDAD — Soledad Warriors Youth Football and Cheer played in the Super Bowl against the Alvarez Titans in the Pee Wee Division, but they ultimately came up short.
Before last Saturday’s loss, the Soledad Warriors were 9-0 this season and winners of the National Conference Championship.
After a year off due to Covid-19 canceling the season, the Soledad Warriors were able to make it back to the championship.
The Warriors were coached by former Soledad High football coaches Alfredo Flores and Eric Rodriguez.
Coming off a year where the Monterey Bay Youth Football and Cheer canceled its season, many unknowns were still left to confront as the Warriors started back up again. But, according to Flores, he knew his team was going to be good.
“We knew we had a strong team in the beginning,” Flores said. “We had a lot of returning players.”
Flores had a total of 42 players on his roster. In a league where everyone has to play, he had to balance everyone’s playing time, which can get hard at times.
“I have a group of 42 players at this point, and we have been able to manage the game enough to get them all playing time,” Flores said. “It was hard because we scored quickly, and there is a mercy rule. We actually had to pull back at times to get more playing time.”
According to Flores, he managed the players’ playing time enough to make sure not one youth quit due to a lack of playing time.
The Warriors got off to a great start going 9-0 and earning a trip to the Super Bowl, which would be hard to expect after a year off. But Flores’ expectations were high for the team.
“I had high expectations because I knew what kids were coming back and coached them before,” he said.
Although the win was nice to see, Flores enjoyed seeing the team’s progression and the youth grow as football players.
“Seeing them progress from day one, when we were running formation and single basic plays, then to be able to put in different types of formations,” he said. “They understood their responsibilities.”
The Warriors season may not have ended with a Super Bowl Championship, but for Flores and Rodriguez, they knew there was a bigger picture in the future.
“A championship is nice, but at the end of the day, I’m there for the kids,” Flores said.