The Ravens

Maybe the ’72 Dolphins should put away the champagne.

The ’07 Patriots couldn’t do it.  Even the famed ’72 Dolphins can’t lay claim to what the Ravens just accomplished.  18 wins in a row.  Two straight undefeated seasons.

Such is life for the Ravens… of the Central Arizona Youth Football League.

The team has drawn the ire of many other youth football organizations.  They’re one of the only teams that throws the ball regularly.

They’ve thrown a touchdown pass in every game they’ve played and have only allowed a handful of completions in two years.

The offensive coordinator?  A regular football Dad who doubles as a Manager in the San Diego Padres’ farm system.

Pat Murphy.

Murphy is well-known for  his success at Notre Dame and Arizona State but prior to that, he coached 4 years of Division 3 college football at Maryvale College (TN) and Claremont College (CA).

So what does a longtime baseball coach know about coaching football?

“We have a little more advanced offensive approach then what most 8-year olds can handle.  We signal in the plays, we have a pretty intricate playbook… maybe 40 plays.  The kids know the system. We throw the ball around a little bit.  The main thing is about the kids getting a good indoctrination into what tackle football is all about.”

Murphy attributes much of the Ravens’ success to the fact that the roster is basically the same travelling youth baseball team, the Sandlot All Stars, that went 124-17 this year.

5 of the players, Grant Gorrell, Carson Tucker, Hunter Haas, Jeff Malone and Murphy’s son Kai have been part of the Sandlot program since they were 5 years old.

Kai is basically the only throwing quarterback in Mighty Mite football.

“Kai is a real consistent, even-keeled quarterback.  He’s definitely a throwing quarterback and a ball control guy.  He doesn’t possess some of the skills some of the other kids do but he averages over a touchdown pass a game and that’s pretty unusual at this age.”

The Ravens won their championship game 19-6.  Their offensive coordinator thinks the game’s challenges was a learning experience for the undefeated bunch.

“Getting behind was a great experience… and playing in so many baseball tournaments and so much pressure of being undefeated and staying undefeated as helped them learn, helped them develop character.  They haven’t had to learn yet from getting their butt kicked but I don’t even know if they’re old enough to get the whole thing yet.  They’re just having fun and playing together.’

“The greatest joy as a sports father is seeing your kid go through the ups and downs of sports.”

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