Sports

Snoqualmie Valley's Penguins are flag football champs

Holding their trophies, the Valley-based Penguins flag football team are i9 Flag Football League champions. Pictured are, from left, players Ajay Archambeau, Steven Padilla, Jordan Lau, Garrett Halseth, Jake Brady, Carson Corra, Gavin Gorrell and coaches Brett Gorrell and Glenn Halseth. Not pictured: coach Tom Farley. - Courtesy Photo
Holding their trophies, the Valley-based Penguins flag football team are i9 Flag Football League champions. Pictured are, from left, players Ajay Archambeau, Steven Padilla, Jordan Lau, Garrett Halseth, Jake Brady, Carson Corra, Gavin Gorrell and coaches Brett Gorrell and Glenn Halseth. Not pictured: coach Tom Farley.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Drawn together by fate three years ago, a rag-tag bunch of boys were placed on a spring flag football team.

The newly formed Penguins hailed from Snoqualmie Ridge and Fall City. Parents saw them form an instant camaraderie and connection.

Now, as fifth graders, the Penguins' hard work and effort have crowned them as sole champions in the All-Pro 4th-6th grade division of the i9 Flag football league, which consists of thirty teams from the Snoqualmie Valley, Sammamish, Bellevue, Redmond, Mukilteo and Bothell.

Three weeks ago, these teams competed in the divisional playoffs. The winner of each of those area divisional playoffs competed head to head at the i9 Bowl on Sunday at Redmond High School. The Penguins were seeded fourth overall and faced off with some of the region’s best athletes.

"You look across the field and notice the Penguins always appeared much smaller than the other teams," said coach Brett Gorrell. "Before the game they always appear loose, joking around and generally not interested in their opponent. These are sandlot-type kids."

"We noticed before each game, the players from the opposing team would look at our kids' size, and a confident smile would come over their faces. In return, that put a smile on our faces as coaches because we knew that flag football is won with heart, teamwork and effort, and this team has bucket loads of all."

The Penguins played three games and never looked back, winning their way to be crowned champions.

"All players contributed in the victories, and after the last play of the last game, it was apparent that they left nothing behind on the field," Gorrell said. "The immediate celebration was subtle and quiet amongst siblings, parents, grandparents and friends on the sideline. As a coach, I was surprised of the lack of elation by the kids and parents after the final whistle blew, but in looking back it makes a lot of sense."

This year was to be the final season these boys were to play flag football, as other sports and obligations were taking over in their changing lives.

"Perhaps the boys, parents and coaches were realizing that this was the end after that final blow of the whistle," Gorrell said. "Perhaps the celebration was downplayed because these kids simply had nothing left to give. Regardless, this was a great ending for a great group of kids from the Valley."

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