ADAMS TWP — One of the more impressive runs in United Youth Football League history has come to an end.
The Mars Martians’ 11-12-year old team recently won the league’s Super Bowl, defeating Hampton, 20-7, and completing an undefeated season.
It was the third Super Bowl win — and fourth title game appearance — in six years for head coach Doug Caruso, his staff and players since Caruso began working with the group of second and third graders in 2008.
The UYFL consists of 14 teams.
“We’ve had a core group of about 10 players who have been with us the whole way,” Caruso said. “These kids have lost four games over the past three years. They’ve been a remarkable group.”
Caruso is a former linebacker at Clarion University. His staff with the Martians included former Pitt punter Tony Recchia, and defensive coordinator Kurt Reinke, recruited as a running back out of high school.
Other assistant coaches were John Kowalkowski, Scott Merritt, Bill Spotti and Rob Fisher.
Fisher will return to coach the youths next year. The other coaches all have sons moving up to the Mars Middle School program.
“I can’t wait to watch these kids work their way up to the high school program,” Caruso said. “I’ll be rooting for them. It will be fun.”
This year’s team surrendered 26 points all year — shutting out seven of nine regular season opponents — while scoring approximately 400.
“Watching these kids learn the game and develop over the years has been pretty special,” Reinke said. “I had forgotten how much I loved this sport until I started coaching it.
“We never ran into any parental problems. All of the kids got equal amounts of playing time. It was simply a great experience.”
The team’s roster consisted of nearly 30 players.
Recchia was teammates with the likes of Dan Marino, Bill Fralic and Jimbo Covert while at Pitt.
“I was fortunate to play with some of the best and you learn from the best,” Recchia said. “I remember how those guys went about their business. The best players are usually the hardest workers.
“We pass along things like that to these kids. And we teach them to be respectful to referees, coaches, the other team’s players. We’ve always promoted good sportsmanship.”
Caruso said it was important to teach the kids football “the right way.”
“We stressed fundamentals, to have fun and work together as a team,” he said.