Nov. 10, 2004 - In baseball, if a pitcher retires all 27 batter he faces it's called a "Perfect Game." So what is considered perfection on the football gridiron? The Pee Wee team of the Marana Broncos has an idea of what is takes to complete the ultimate regular season.
The Pee Wees, a member team of the Tucson Youth and Spirit Federation, posted a perfect 9-0 season playing out of Division II. Other teams have gone an entire schedule without a blemish on its record. What separates this squad of 10-12 year-olds is the way they accomplished their flawless campaign.
In nine games, not one team scored on the Broncos - not a touchdown or a field goal. Nine games have come and nine straight teams have been shutout by this imposing bunch working together in perfect football cohesion.
The shutout streak came perilously close to ending in the Broncos' final game, a 38-0 win over the Falcons at Tucson High School. The Falcons managed to go where no team had previously gone before by driving down inside the Broncos five yard line. Facing a first-and-one, the Broncos stopped the Falcons twice before the Falcons coughed up a fumble on third down.
"If someone does score on them, they are not going to be happy," said Broncos head coach Steve Karp in the days leading up the game against the Falcons. Karp's Broncos have been so dominating this season, that before the Falcons game, no team had been able to penetrate the defense's 19-yard line. In the two previous games against the Chargers (35-0 win) and Redskins (37-0), neither team could even muster a first down.
"On offense, no one can stop them," said Karp. "They work magically together."
Karp said it is the team's unselfish attitude and trust in one another that has the Broncos heading into the city playoffs Nov. 13 on a winning streak.
That selfless approach to the game has allowed every player on the team a chance to shine. To get everyone in the action, the Broncos at times have switched up their lineup and had kids who are usually offensive lineman run the ball while the running backs act as the blockers. Karp said it's not a means to show anyone up, but simply a way to get all the kids involved. With everybody involved the Broncos have outscored its opponents this season by a score of 310-0.
Obviously, the Broncos aren't designed solely around an unstoppable offense. The defense is among the biggest and strongest Karp said he has ever seen. In one instance this season, the coach says he was approached by a referee who told him the other team was complaining that the Broncos were hitting too hard.
After trying its luck in the city playoffs the Broncos will head to Orlando, Fla. to compete on the national level. There they are guaranteed at least two games with the possibility to play four and be crowned national champs among other fifth through seventh graders.
The only thing that seemingly can stop the Broncos this season is the shortage of funds to make the trip to the Sunshine State. Karp estimates the team needs to raise about $30,000 for every kid to be able to go. The kids are raising the money through car washes, selling tickets to local events and by asking sponsors to buy a banner. Organizations such as the NFL have come through so far for the Broncos, donating $5,000. With three weeks before the Thanksgiving weekend trip, Karp puts the fundraising efforts short about $8,000.
"We just got to keep at it," said Karp.