‘‘We wanted to watch movies that would make them cry,” Norcio said. ‘‘At first they thought it was a little corny, but then they got inspired. We wanted them to feel like they were part of a fraternity, and we would tell them stories. We were building team chemistry all year.”
That chemistry paid off, as White Oak finished an undefeated season by winning the 2006 Pop Warner Super Bowl Pee Wee National Championship over the Santa Ana (Calif.) White Monarchs, 32-16, Saturday. In three games at the Super Bowl, held at the Walt Disney World Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., White Oak (15-0) outscored its opponents, 105-38.
‘‘When we won our first game [against the Mandarin (Fla.) Tigers] the kids played well, but then we just started clicking,” Norcio said. ‘‘The kids really came out and played well, especially our offensive line. They were the most important part of the team, and they won those games for us.”
That line, made up of a rotation of Robert Gandy, Mike Robinson, Braelin Howard, Douglas Moore, Greg Jones, Alante Rhoden, Kenny Evans and Tre Prince, helped the Warriors pound the ball down the throats of their semifinal opponent, the Harvey (Ill.) Colts last Wednesday. The Colts had come into the game undefeated, and had not allowed a point all season, but White Oak took a 34-0 lead in the third quarter, which they held until the end of the game.
‘‘Those guys played on the offensive and defensive lines and they basically beat everybody else up,” Norcio said. ‘‘Against Harvey, we took a knee for the last quarter and a half.”
The Warriors were as dominant against Santa Ana, building a 32-8 lead on scores by Paul Sewell, Ranje Parrard and Y.J. McCallister. Quarterback Jerry Escoe was again effective, and though a late touchdown and two-point conversion pulled the White Monarchs a little bit closer, White Oak controlled the game from start to finish.
‘‘We started playing with each other in June, with clinics and camps, and we have been building our chemistry and cohesiveness since then,” Norcio said. ‘‘That is what made us successful, because we were like a family. The kids just had a ball.”