Need a team to root for this week? The city’s own Hartford Hurricanes, a pee wee football squad of 11- and 12-year-olds, is facing the Beacon House Falcons from Washington, D.C., on Wednesday in the semifinals of the national Pop Warner championship in Orlando, Fla.
If the ‘Canes win the 10:30 a.m. Division I matchup, the team will play in the Pop Warner Super Bowl on Saturday.
The football games are played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. As noted in my weekend story, this trip to Florida is the first time that many of the players have ever left New England.
Can this championship be Hartford’s own Cinderella story? After a rough start to the program four years ago, the ‘Canes compiled a 13-0 record as a team in the Southern Connecticut Pop Warner league this fall. They have been practicing at Keney Park in the North End.
One of the coaches, state Rep. Douglas McCrory, D-Hartford, told the Courant’s Julie Stagis after Sunday’s 25-24 quarterfinal victory — a triple-overtime thriller over Holy Cross of Texas — that “our young men played very hard.” A few boys were injured during the game, including one who needed 16 stitches, McCrory said.
UPDATE: The Hurricanes lost Wednesday in the semifinals to a tough D.C. squad that was no stranger to nationals. Congrats to the team for a great season.