The Saddleback Valley Blue Bears will compete in the 10-year-old level in Orlando, starting Saturday. The team is leaving for Florida on Thursday, according to Kristin Bracic, proud mom of linebacker Sebastian Bracic.
The Blue Bears battled injuries all season but finished undefeated in the regular season before losing the Orange Bowl, dropping them down to the Division II championship, which they won on Nov. 19. That win ensured their position among some 70 teams vying for championships in the Pop Warner Super Bowl in December.
The Blue Bears will play a minimum of two games, and if they win both they can move on to the final championship game, Bracic said.
A couple of the players on the 20-member squad have suffered injuries that have ended their season, so the Blue Bears have just enough to qualify, Bracic said. Her own son suffered a broken arm, but now has been cleared to play football again, she added.
"We've had an obscene amount of injuries on this team," including one player who was cut by another's spikes, Bracic said. "It was absolutely absurd how great we've done this season."
The team the Blue Bears beat to earn a spot in the Super Bowl competition was a club team that has been together for about four years, Bracic said. This was the first season this Blue Bears squad has played together, she added.
Bracic credited the coaches and a "bunch of kids who love, love, love the game and are thirsty for learning," she said.