Deerfield Beach Raiders coach Bobby Cooper took in stride his Pop Warner Tiny Mite team’s loss to host Delray Rocks.
The Rocks got touchdown runs of 50 and 32 yards from Jayden Parrish, a 43-yard TD run from Zandher Mesidort and a 50-yard scoring run from Courtney Brown to improve to 3-0 for the year. Deerfield fell to 1-2 with its second consecutive loss.
“That is a very good team right there and our kids have got nothing to be ashamed of,” said Cooper, who has been coaching youth football for the past eight years. He took over the Raiders just eight days before the season opener. “Our kids kept fighting to the end. They didn’t quit and I am really proud of them. They are right about where they should be, considering how young and inexperienced they are.”
The Tiny Mite Division is composed of players ages 5- 7, who weigh between 35 and 75 lbs. The majority of the players on the Raiders team are 13. There are three players who are 7 and one who is 6 years old.
By contrast, the undefeated Rocks have an experienced team.
“We have 15 returning players from last year’s team, so they have been doing really well,” said Delray Rocks coach Anthony Guy, who has been coaching for 12 years, including the past six with the Rocks. “The best thing about this process is seeing the work that they put in on the field before the season is paying off.”
Cooper agreed and said his team is looking to rebuild from the bottom weight class. They have three teams in the program ranging from the Tiny Mite program to the Midget Program.
“The hardest part about working with 13 5-year-olds, and you only got two who have ever played (football) before, is to have patience,”
Cooper added. “The key is to have a lot of patience. If you don’t have patience, you don’t need to be out here.” Cooper and his staff concentrate on the basics with his Treasure Coast-based Pop Warner program.
“We teach them about teamwork and we like to get the families involved, especially the fathers,” Cooper said. “We try and get the families to spend time with the kids. We are teaching them everything they need to know. It also isn’t about winning. We want them to learn important lessons and sports will do that.”