Championship football has arrived in Camillus -- with a young and fresh face that might hold wonderful promise for the future.
The actual delivery date was Nov. 26, on a field in Toms River, N.J., where the West Genesee Wildcats Junior Pee Wee South team beat Dorchester (Md.) 28-6 in the Pop Warner Eastern Regional championship game.
This completed a perfect 12-0 season for the Wildcats, a team composed of 28 kids, ages 10 and 11, that worked for nearly four months to reach this pinnacle.
Under the tutelage of coaches Pat Donegan, Steve Sauro, Matt Wadach, Bill Emmanuelli and Mark Childs, the Wildcats began practice way back on Aug. 1 at the Richard Frescina Athletic Complex on Pottery Road.
For four days a week, two hours a day, the Wildcats honed their skills throughout August. Wadach said his staff emphasized simplicity -- and having fun in installing the team's winning formula.
"We really pushed the fundamentals," he said.
Once school started, the kids continued to work hard three nights a week, plus Saturday games, as the regular season got underway.
During that regular season, the Wildcats played eight times and won all of them with relative ease, and the defense played a starring role. At one point, the team recorded four consecutive shutouts.
"We had solid depth on both offense and defense, and were great at the skill positions," said Sauro.
All of this led to the CNY Junior Pee Wee South League championship game Oct. 29 at Alliance Bank Stadium. Amid the grand setting, the Wildcats beat Baldwinsville 12-0, yet another shutout that delivered a title.
Now came the four-round Eastern Regional playoffs. Sauro said the team had a lot of good fortune in this tournament, drawing a first-round bye and not having to leave Central New York until the finals.