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Sporting teamwork on Super Bowl Saturday

City’s flag football season comes to an end, young players learn good sportsmanship

Posted: November 15, 2009 10:53 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Eight-year-old Ty Pentberthy of the Cardinals scores the team's first touchdown against the Bengals.

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It was the final game of the season and neither team had scored yet.

As the Raiders went into their defensive formation, 8-year-old Phineas Yi said he was thinking, "We have to get a touchdown."

Seconds later, Phineas intercepted a Steelers' pass and raced to the end zone with his opponents running after him and his fans cheering him on the sidelines.

"This is his first year (playing in the flag football league) and he's doing great," said Phineas' father Charles Yi, of Canyon Country. "That was a beautiful interception and run back for a touchdown."

The Raiders-Steelers game was one of many played Saturday at Central Park in Saugus. It was Super Bowl Saturday
, the culminating event for the city of Santa Clarita's 2009 Flag Football season.

Divisional championship games were held for players in four different age groups from nine to 14. At the end of the day, teams kicked back and watched their coaches compete in the first ever coaches game.

The sidelines were filled with parents and other family members cheering on their young athletes.

"It's just kind of fun to see your kids running around playing in one of their first sports and seeing how they work in a team atmosphere," said Andrew Lavaux, father of Raider Collin Lavaux, 7.

Family encouragement takes the kids' fear and anxiety out of the game, Lavaux said.

Parents went wild with cheers on the Steelers side when J.C. Anthony, 7, scored the team's second touchdown.

"It's big when they score," said Valencia mother Clare Pepe, whose son Brendan Pepe played for the Steelers. "When they do well and have that sense of accomplishment, that's a neat thing to see. They're learning how to be on a team and good sportsmanship."

The Raiders tied the Steelers, 2-2.

"You guys held it together," coach Kristian Litz said to his Raiders after the game. "There's a couple things we messed up on, but no big deal. We had a good season."

Litz told his team, including his son Aydyn Litz, to be proud of their season and what they had learned.

"Did you know (that) no other team we played could do slides and posts and corners?" Litz, of Canyon Country, said. "Did you know there was no other team that ran routes like we did?

"No other team could do what you guys did this season."

But above good plays and tactics, Litz said he and his father and co-coach, Keith Litz, try to emphasize respect.

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