The Santa Cruz Pop Warner Stingrays are in the running to become the, Best of the West but not without support from their community.The Stingrays have earned a spot in the Best of the West Championship Bowl Game in Temecula, Calif. But despite their impressive performance, the Stingrays must still raise $18,000 if they want to travel to the championship. The game takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3, and the team must raise the funds by Dec. 2. They are actively seeking donations from local residents and businesses to make the trip and compete against teams from four different states.
After a stellar season, the Stingrays walked away with six wins and only three losses. They went on to beat the Pacifica Tigersharks 18-0 in the Peninsula Pop Warner Division III championship on Sunday, Nov. 13. This past Saturday, Nov. 19, the Stingrays traveled to Redwood City and beat the Sparks, Nevada Wolfpack 26-12 in the Pacific Northwest Regional Championship.
The Best of the West Championship includes teams from California, Arizona, Hawaii and Southern Nevada. The Stingrays, coached by Bob Camacho, are made up of 27 boys ages 11 to 15. Their division is the oldest age group in Pop Warner, known as the Midgets. The Stingray players will travel along with their cheerleading squad, which is also an official Pop Warner sport.
Pop Warner is the country’s largest and oldest football and cheerleading association for children. Pop Warner was founded as a football league in 1929 and expanded to include cheerleading during the 1970s. Pop Warner first came to Santa Cruz in 1967 with the formation of the Stingrays for boys ages 10 to 13. Today, the league has more than 425,000 participants in 44 states and six countries.