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Hawaiian Gardens Warriors Go For Pop Warner National Championship in Florida

Caption: Members of the Hawaiian Gardens Pop Warner Warriors are heading to Orlando, Florida to participate in the 2013 National Championships.  The team visited with local city leaders, as well as Sheriff Lee Baca, and former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza this past week.

Members of the Hawaiian Gardens Pop Warner Warriors are heading to Orlando, Florida to participate in the 2013 National Championships. The team visited with local city leaders, as well as Sheriff Lee Baca, and former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza this past week.

By Brian Hews
It has been an amazing season for the Hawaiian Gardens Warriors Pop Warner Football team in 2013, and within the next week it could actually become historical.
During the weekend of December 5, the team of youngsters between the ages of 9 and 11 will be traveling from Hawaiian Gardens clear across the country to Orlando, Florida to compete in the Pop Warner National Championship Tournament, and the team could not be more excited.
The team includes 24 boys, as well as a cadre of parents, coaches, and support staff who will travel more than 3,000 miles to play beginning on December 6 at ESPN’s Wide World Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
According to Coach Prentiss Walker, the Hawaiian Gardens Warriors recently captured the Orange Empire Conference Season after they compiled a winning record of 10 wins and two losses. Walker said that his team beat a team from Arizona in order to advance to the PWNC Tournament in Florida.

Caption: Members of the Hawaiian Gardens Pop Warner Warriors are heading to Orlando, Florida to participate in the 2013 National Championships.  The team visited with local city leaders, as well as Sheriff Lee Baca, and former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza this past week.

Caption: Members of the Hawaiian Gardens Pop Warner Warriors are heading to Orlando, Florida to participate in the 2013 National Championships. The team visited with local city leaders, as well as Sheriff Lee Baca, and former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza this past week.

IMG_8135“This team is special. All of the boys have the hearts in the right place, and all of them are good kids, and amazing talented athletes,” Walker said in an interview with Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers.
Walker said that his team is chalked full of talent. “Look, many of these players are going to have incredible high school and college football careers, mark my word,” he said.
Each player must cover nearly $1,500 in expenses to attend the national tournament, and according to parent Lupe Morena Autile “the costs are killing us, but we need to make sure that every child raises enough money so no one is left out.”
Lori Saleapaga, one of the parent leaders of the team said that “the kids are over the moon, totally excited, and now we need to reach out to the community to see if we can get all of the funds collected as soon as possible.”
The team has established an on-line donation page at www.gofundme.com/Hawaiiangardensfootball.
HMG-CN will be following the progress of the Warriors at the National Championships, and the tournament will be aired on ESPN 3.
“This is the first time in the history of Hawaiian Gardens that one of our Pop Warner teams has made it to the National Championships,” Coach Walker said.
“I have never been prouder of this small community that has such a big heart,” Walker concluded.
During this past weekend, the team joined Members of the Hawaiian Gardens City Council as well as Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, and former Assemblyman Tony Mendoza at a celebration held at the Hawaiian Gardens Bingo Club.
Mayor Victor Farfan said “our entire city is proud of the Warriors.”
Farfan, who was a former high school quarterback when he attended Artesia High School several years ago also, praised the parents and volunteer coaches. “This is what Hawaiian Gardens is truly all about, developing our kids into great adults and maybe even into future city councilmembers or mayors.”

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