The San Ramon Valley Thunderbirds recently won the midget division Turkey Bowl championship, controlling the final game during their 32-6 victory over the Pleasant Hill Rebels.
The title game Nov. 26 marked the final T-Birds game for many of the boys, with the midget division (11-14 years old) representing the last age group for players in the East Bay Youth Football and Cheer -- with high school football on the horizon.
And they capped their youth career in style, under stormy skies on their home field against a Rebels squad that beat them earlier in the season. The T-Birds had a little extra motivation in the playoff finale, as it was the San Ramon Valley club's turn to host the Turkey Bowl but the higher-ranked Rebels were considered the home team in the game.
Chase Morgan helped set the tone for the T-Birds at the start, quickly stopping the advancement of the Rebels' opening-kickoff return.
Aidan Vaupen soon began the scoring for the T-Birds with his touchdown, and the team never let up en route to the 32-6 win.
Leading the stout defensive effort in the Turkey Bowl were T-Birds Shane Powers, Carson Jones, Charles Tagliaferri, Luca Rossi, Jagger Beeken, Dominic Giosso and Mekhi Norfleet.
The T-Birds offense was led by Thomas Deitchman, who took over at quarterback just a few games before the playoffs after Gavin Cribb, a quarterback and linebacker, went down with an injury.
In addition to Deitchman, Norfleet and Vaupen, other top performers on offense were Preston Lipscomb, Nathan Perkins, Jackson Nishihira, William Purcell and Tanner Salisbury. Rocco Schramm kicked the ball with precision and also ran for yardage in the title game.
Jeff Jones was the T-Birds head coach, aided by assistant coaches Mike Powers, Patrick Oswald, Jon Turner, Scott Hardy, John White and Tim O'Donal. Renee Morgan and Bill Purcell served as team parents.