San Clemente Raiders steal the win 14-7

Raider’s about to begin the game. Photo courtesy of Ettara Thomas.

Beach town brings youth flag football playoffs.

The Raiders win vs the Chiefs 14-7 on Friday night at the Vista Hermosa sports park. This game determined who will make it into the championship game next Friday. Twice a year, family’s jump to register their children for the popular Friday Night Flag Football league with the City of San Clemente. Raiders being up by one point in the fourth quarter, wide receiver Mason Nutt scored the winning touchdown after an interception by defensive line backer Cash Williams.

Nutt ran into the middle of the field for a pass play, where quarter back Drew Otto scrambled to throw the ball to Nutt as he evaded the opposing players to run into the corner of the in zone for the lead. With the ball up in the air during the offensive play for the Chiefs, Williams positioned himself to be able to steal the ball into his hand for the game changing turn over. 

As time was expiring on the clock, the Raiders defense was successful in stopping the Chiefs from scoring to win and move on to the next game. The Raiders will face the Steelers in the championships, being that both teams have the same four and two record.

“Playoff games are always stressful to score keep,” city employee John Almanza said. “I often have parents yelling at me if they don’t agree with the call made by the refs.” 

The officials have their hands full during these games from dead balls, illegal plays/passes, flag guarding and injures. As score keeper, Almanza keeps track of timeouts, score and managing the game clock. Many family members play an active part in the game as far as the atmosphere goes.

“I thought this was a good game,” Tony Gallegos said, father of Raiders center field player. “It was crazy that it was close all the way to the last few minutes.”

Gallegos, father of son Nasio, number two of the Raiders loves being able to have his son participate in flag football. Gallegos is excited for his son to play again next season, in hopes to better his skills and sportsmanship in football. 

Sports are a healthy fun source for kids to channel their energy in a positive way. Like many parents, Gallegos was looking for an alternative to football for his son Nasio when he discovered flag football.