The Bengals celebrate after winning the Optimist football title.

Two of the top teams squared off one more time for all the marbles on Monday night in the Optimist League 6-9 year old championship game, The Minuteman Press Bengals and The Lowes Sporting Goods Wildcats.

Both teams were heavily supported with banners stretched along both sidelines and lots of pre-game excitement, but only one team walked away champions, as the Bengals came away with a 32-13 win over the Wildcats.

“It feels great,” Bengals coach Todd Deaton said. “They waited until the last game to play their best. I knew anything could happen, but I was confident they could get it done and they did.”

The Bengals came out on fire and grabbed the early 7-0 lead on a 50 yard touchdown run by Matthew Sizemore with :03 remaining in the first quarter.

Although the Wildcats answered with a 28 yard touchdown carry by Cole Helton with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter, Ashton Barton and Dawson Branstetter combined to stop the extra point attempt as the Bengals held the 7-6 advantage.

“They all stepped up tonight,” Deaton said. “When you win a championship you have to play your best and they saved it for last.”

Sizemore was unstoppable for the Bengals as he broke free again for a 42 yard touchdown run. Barton stepped up big on the defensive side of the ball and sacked the Wildcats quarterback to regain possession with :50 remaining in the first half.

Two play later Sizemore was back in the end zone on a 20 yard touchdown run for the 19-6 advantage. The Bengals pulled out a little trickery on the extra point attempt with a halfback pass from Sizemore to Jake Christensen for the 20-6 lead.

“We just got dominated tonight,” Wildcats coach Joe Asher said. “We had a great season and the kids played hard all year long, but the Bengals had our number tonight.”

Barton picked up a fumble moments later and the Bengals set up shop on the Wildcats 32 yard line with :28 remaining in the half. Sizemore picked up 26 yards on the next play and Christensen capped off the Bengals 13 points in :33 with a six yard touchdown for the 26-6 advantage. The extra point pass was complete from Chase Sanders to Branstetter, but he was held just short of the end zone.

After keeping the ball for the entire third quarter, the Bengals added their final score on a 5 yard touchdown carry by Barton with 7:29 remaining in the game. Helton scored again for the Wildcats on a 52 yard scamper with 3:19 remaining in the game. Helton also added the extra point for the final score of 32-13.

“Cole really stepped it up in the play-offs,” Asher said. “He played great tonight.”

The Bengals only suffered one lose in the regular season and went into the tournament as the number one seed.

“I would like to thank our sponsors Gary Conley and Mrs. Conley from Minuteman Press,” Deaton said. “They came to the games and supported us all season long. They were our biggest supporters.”

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