The Spartans thought their season was over — like so many other local teams.
But the Stanwood Youth Football 12U players and families decided to pack up and head to Montana last week to play.
“When the fall football season was cancelled, we were all disappointed,” said Jason Toner, president of Stanwood Youth Football. “There is obvious concern about COVID, but also the mental strain on our players with no school and no sports for what will be almost a year.”
The team secured local sponsors — Stillaguamish Tribe, Coastal Community Bank, Lenz Enterprises, Stanwood Redi-Mix, Schenk Packing and Mac Engineering — and drove late last week the 15 hours to Billings, Montana, for the Montana Preseason Football Classic. The event attracted teams from Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, Minnesota and Washington.
On Saturday, the Spartans beat the Midwest Miners from South Dakota 19-13. On Sunday, Stanwood beat the Minnesota Chiefs from Minneapolis 12-0.
Unlike Stanwood, both opponents are select traveling teams that draw players ages 12 and 13 from large areas and different schools. The Spartans players age 12 and younger from the Stanwood-Camano area.
Over the weekend, the Spartan defense stood out, led by Corbin Forslund’s three interceptions and Cohen White’s two pick-sixes. Wyatt Sandven also had an interception; and Karter Sundberg, Nathias Siva, Charlie McEwen, Michael Eagle and Ryder Sundberg where disrupters with multiple sacks or tackles for loss, Toner said.
Offensively, Gage Boser-Smith had two running TDs and Shawn Porter threw for a score.
“These boys travelled a long ways to play against some national competition and select organizations, and our league team from Stanwood is showing that there is some pretty good ball played up in our little corner of the country,” the team posted on its Facebook page.
Toner said the team might play a couple games in Idaho in September.