Local Pop Warner teams replay championship game

PHILADELPHIA - November 4, 2011

While the Delaware Valley was dealing with a rare October snow storm last Saturday, the Liberty Youth Athletic Association was trying to squeeze in a game between the CYA Gators and the NU Sigma Sharks.

"We went out there, warmed up twice and got use to the weather conditions, and we went on the field and played the game," said Gator Coach, Shawn Green.

The two Pop Warner teams of kids, ranging from 10 to 13, were trying to brave the snowy, rainy mix in Frankford.

But as the weather became worse, coaches and parents from the Sharks decided to forfeit the championship game in the second quarter for the safety of the players.

Everyone thought it was over. In fact, after the Gators won the championship game, they thought they would be spending Friday night practicing for the regional game, but late Thursday night, the team was notified it would have to replay that game.

The Sharks filed a grievance, and the Liberty Youth Athletic Association's Board voted to overturn the forfeit, forcing a rematch next week.

"A terrible message," said Green. "I mean, what are we showing our kids, you know, that it's easy to cop out and start over again?"

The athletic director for the Sharks was not available for an interview, but told Action News over the phone that they felt forced to play, and the teams' parents praised the coach for walking off the field.

He believes officials should have cancelled the game. Parents of the Gators agree.

"But they stayed and they played the game, and for them to be in a position where possibly their championship could be taken away," said Maxayn Gooden-Hicks. "I mean, that hurts."

Liberty's President says the Association is looking into what he called a rare event. And while disappointed, the Gators say they're ready to play no matter what the conditions.

"I know we are practicing hard, and if we have to play in that type of weather, we'll do it again, and we'll keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it," said Nadir Jackson.

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