The South County Tigers are fighting to end the youth football season with a victory in the Super Bowl against Hillsboro.
After a 19-game winning streak and winning 28 out of 29 games this season, the team practiced Monday at Jefferson Barracks Park with determination under the leadership of Tony Lanzarini, who coaches the team and works as vice president of the South County Athletic Club, which runs the team.
The team is filled with 18 fourth- and fifth-graders primarily from Oakville, Lindbergh and area private schools. They're preparing for their fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance, and only one practice remains before the final game of the season this Saturday. The coaches’ initiative to lead the team is highly recognized.
Mark Boles, president of the South County Athletic Club, recalled Lanzarini’s boldness in volunteering to coach the six to eight-year old boys about four years ago. Lanzarini and defensive coordinator Ian McGahan stepped up to become an important part of the athletic club.
“These guys have been undefeated minus the Super Bowl loss the first year,” Boles said. “(Lanzarini) has taken a team of, essentially, a bunch of kids that didn’t know any better and turned them into champions—and they love him. I can’t imagine them trying to play for someone else.”
Bar none, this is one of the toughest teams I’ve ever seen and I’d put them up against anybody.”
He also said the Tigers are one of the most productive and efficient teams he has watched, and Lanzarini is probably the highest achieved in the top of the league.
Lanzarini also noted the other coaches—McGahan, special teams coach Henry Bollinger and offensive line coach Jason Taylor—are “instrumental and have put in a lot of effort to see these kids exceed.”
Watching the team develop the past few seasons, McGahan said there are not many teams at this age level with the abilities and consistency the boys have kept. He noted some youth teams can average two passes per game while the Tigers can pass 10 to 15 times in one game.
McGahan also coaches his son, Shea, on the team. Shea McGahan and his teammates shared their excitement about returning to the Super Bowl this year. The love for the football is apparent, but was pointed out by McGahan as well as Lanzarini.
"Our team's been doing very good," said Shea McGahan. "Our coaches have been working hard...it's all about team. I'm going to do my best and I just hope everyone works hard and does their job and we'll win."
Offensive and defensive lineman J.T. Taylor has played football for five years and said he is excited for the game. He hopes to "pump up" his team and try to "get their adrenaline up."
Lanzarini and McGahan expressed the boys don't need much more motivation when it comes to getting ready for the final game.
“We’re just preparing hard for Hillsboro,” Lanzarini said. “ and hopefully pull out a win for these kids.”
The South County Tigers will face Hillsboro at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Oakville High School.
2012 South County Tigers roster
1 Tyler Lanzarini
2 Collin Baliva
7 Roman Graiff
9 Chase Greenlee
11 Nick Nice
10 David Howard
12 Brandon Miller
13 Curtis Fialka
14 Tim Muxo
17 Isaac Wilson
18 Conner Popham
21 Shea McGahan
22 Logan Kopp
27 Camden Weiler
39 Jack Bollinger
40 Jacob Taylor
48 Mariano Dominguez
99 Clayton Brown