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July 25, 2014

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Girls flag football squad overcomes challenges for third place

Image

Courtesy photo

Members and coaches of the Chargers, a girls flag football team that took third place in a national tournament, are: from left, front row, Samantha Fennell, Ashley Mathews, ReaAnn Brems, and, back row, Bill Cheverlino, president of Western Athletics Sports Unified Program, Breanna Haggerty, Dekota Gannon, coach Joyce Cheverlino, Sydney Hamilton, Kaylie Twigg and asssitant coach Branden Cheverino.

Football for all

  • WHAT: The Western Athletics Sports Unified Program will host signups for its spring flag football season
  • WHEN: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • WHERE: The Galleria at Sunset Mall
  • WHO: Leagues are open for boys and girls ages 6 to 17, and adults, ages 18 and older

The Western Athletics Sports Unified Program’s 14 and under girls flag football team was at a disadvantage even before the first snap of the NFL Flag Football Tournament of Champions.

The squad, nicknamed the Chargers after winning November’s qualifier in San Diego, only had a month to practice for the 12-team national tournament held Nov. 22 in Orlando, Fla. It was hardly enough time to prepare for their opponents — teams who recruited top players.

Nevertheless, the Chargers gelled quickly enough to go 4-2 in the tournament and take third in the division.

“If they would have played with me the whole season, it would have been a different story, but they had to cram in everything they learned,” Chargers coach Joyce Cheverino said. “That is why I am proud of these girls. I was so impressed with the way this team played considering how far they traveled.”

The tournament was fashioned as a full-blown NFL experience, complete with free apparel and television coverage.

The Chargers were featured in several brief clips in rebroadcasts of the tournament on ESPN2 during late December. ESPN2 aired the 12 and under girls finals.

“It made us realize that we have to work that much harder next year,” said Silverado freshman Ashley Mathews, a Chargers receiver.

The Chargers, who practice at Charles Silvestri Middle School and feature eight girls from across Henderson, formed in November to compete in the qualifier, which they easily won.

They spent most of November practicing six days a week, but the national competition proved too stiff.

Chargers receiver Breanna Haggerty experienced first hand how serious the opposition was at the tournament. She left Orlando with several injuries, including a broken thumb.

Cheverino will coach the Chargers in the program’s Spring National Tournament on April 3.

The program’s 11 and under boys team also won the San Diego regional, however it did not place in the national tournament.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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