Sixty-four teams from around the nation will take over ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the 61st edition of the Pop Warner Super Bowl championship tournament, which begins Saturday (Dec. 2).
National champions will be crowned in five divisions based on age and weight – Jr. Pee Wee (ages 8-11), Pee Wee (ages 9-12), Jr. Varsity (ages 10-13), Unlimited (11-14, 105-lb. minimum) and Varsity (ages 12-15). The teams that advanced to the Pop Warner Super Bowl won their respective league championship and their regional championship. Each advancing team is guaranteed to play two games at the Super Bowl, with a National Champion crowned in each age-weight division and competition level.
Perhaps the most compelling story line of this year’s tournament belongs to two teams who are looking for their record-setting fourth consecutive national championship – the Hoffman Estates Redhawks (Jr. Varsity division) from suburban Chicago and the Northwest Raiders (Varsity division) out of Philadelphia.
The Redhawks have won the past three Pop Warner Division II national championships (2014, 2015 and 2016), a tournament record. This year’s team has stepped up to the Jr. Varsity class of Division I competition and will put their unblemished 11-0 record on the line and begin their quest for a four-peat on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. when they take on the Dorchester Eagles.
Meanwhile, the 11-0 Raiders have won each of the last three Division I Varsity championships (2014, 2015 and 2016) – also a Pop Warner record – and roll into Central Florida with their sights on a fourth title. They will defend their three straight crowns beginning on Sunday, Dec. 3, when they face the Harvey Colts at 1 p.m.
Three teams from Central Florida – two from the Orlando area and one from Tampa – are also in action this weekend.
The two Orlando teams are the Division I Junior Varsity Pine Hills Trojans and the Unlimited Division Ocoee Bulldogs.
Pine Hills will face the North Philly Aztecs on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. in first-round action; Ocoee battles the Murrieta Nighthawks on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m.
Tampa’s representative – the Division II Junior Varsity Westlake Chaps – face the Merrillville Cardinals on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.
The Cheer & Dance Championships feature more than 300 cheer and dance teams who compete in a five-day event at HP Field House. Cheer & Dance Squads compete in four age ranges (Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Varsity & Varsity). The Cheer teams also compete in sizes (Small, Medium & Large) and four competition categories (YCADA PW1, PW2, PW3 & PW4). The Dance teams compete in two competition categories (YCADA Pom Performance and Theme Dance).
Video highlights from Saturday (Dec.2), Sunday (Dec.3), Tuesday (Dec.5), Wednesday (Dec. 6), Friday (Dec. 8) and Saturday (Dec. 9) will be available for download at box.com using:
- Username: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Password: PWLS#2017!
Haley King, email@example.com, 248-912-5895
Brian Heffron, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-799-9568