Woodville savoring historic Super Bowl pee-wee football win
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Down by a point at halftime, coach Marchay Shular took the lead in keeping the players on his Woodville pee-wee football team calm.
There was too much at stake for them to get rattled in the Pop Warner Super Bowl championship game.
“It didn’t concern me but it was whether our impact players were going to be affected,” Shular said. “I know with the staff I have we were going to rally back.”
Indeed they did, winning 46-36 over the Michigan City, Indiana Trojans to become the first North Florida team to win the prestigious title since Tallahassee joined Pop Warner in 2011.
The Woodville team, which is made up of several players from Tallahassee, beat the Columbia, S.C., Falcons 33-0 to advance to the championship game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando in early December. They began their bid for the title by knocking off local and state teams for the berth to Disney.
His players became more confident with each win, but Shular admitted that there was a little bit of nerves on his part after the first win at Disney.
“It felt real good but there was a lot of pressure because you don’t want the whole season to go down because of one loss,” he said. “The emotions and feelings were kind of mixed.”
But even when the Trojans rallied after Woodville took the lead in the third quarter each of the 21 players on his team refused buckle, Shular said. Their victory was a huge statement for youth football in the area, he said.
Woodville won the title on its second try in as many years. Only one other team from the area had qualified in the last three seasons.
“This victory definitely puts North Florida; the Tallahassee area, on the map a little bit more,” said Andrew Plummer, vice president of the Woodville program. “This gives credibility to the football that’s going on up here.”
Plummer said he expects having a Super Bowl championship to create increased interest in the program – not just for Woodville but for the other programs in the city. There are at least six teams in each of the programs that are located on the west, northwest and east sides of Tallahassee.
Players ages 5 to 13 can participate in the league. The season runs from August to November when the playoff begins. The cost for participating ranges from $125 to $175, Plummer said.
Once they are enrolled, players lean a lot more than the X and O’s of the game. Grades are monitored and discipline is a top priority, said Plummer, who also coaches a team in the league.
“We definitely try to instill a work ethic in the child,” he said. “With my boys I try to teach them how to overcome challenges.”