Thirteen-year-old Chase Petersen loves sports. Put him on a basketball court, a soccer pitch, baseball diamond or a football field, and the San Lorenzo Valley Middle School student shines brightly.
The straight-A student is going to take that energy and determination to Florida next month as a football player with the Santa Cruz Pop Warner Seahawks. The 12U team boasts a 10-0 record, claiming the Pacific Northwest D1 title earlier this month with a 36-6 win against the Morgan Hill Raiders.
It’s only the second time in their 54-year history that they have won the title, and now the team is off to Florida for the 2021 Pop Warner Super Bowl where a champion will be crowned in each division and age group.
Chase and teammate Cody Goulart, both residents of the San Lorenzo Valley, will participate in the Super Bowl and had key roles in their team’s undefeated season. Both players are on a mission to raise $2,700 each to help allay travel expenses before the team departs for the East Coast on Dec. 4.
In his first year of tackle football for the Pop Warner Seahawks, Chase quickly made his presence known as a first string running back averaging more than 100 rushing yards and over two touchdowns a game.
Chase is a talented multi-sport athlete who is currently averaging 32 points a game in middle school basketball.
“I’ve wanted to play football my whole life, and I’m planning to play in high school, so I was allowed to play one year of middle school football to prepare,” he said.
Of all the years to join a football team, Chase picked the right one.
“Our team is really talented, and we all work hard in practice,” he added.
Also a first year tackle football player, Cody is a wide receiver on offense and a cornerback on defense. He solidified the conference title with an interception to end the game. Cody is also a multi-sport athlete, who plays middle school basketball for SLV. Despite his busy schedule, he is a strong student and a popular member of the Seahawks team.
Chase says Seahawks Head Coach Jake Clark has been an inspiration to him since he joined the team. Clark has been a coach and board member for Santa Cruz Pop Warner since 2007, and Chase says that Clark has taught him everything he knows about the sport.
“He’s taught me how to work hard, and helped me get in shape with conditioning,” he said.
Football itself has helped Petersen grow physically and mentally since he started playing in August.
“For me, it’s not just a sport,” he said.
Being on the team has also helped Petersen make new friends. With 25 players from around Santa Cruz County, Chase says those relationships make playing on the team more fun, and he’s anxious to see what lies ahead.
“Just chase your dreams, and do what you want to do,” Chase said.
This 12U Seahawk team consists of 25 players (ages 11-13) and nine coaches that have been practicing and aiming for this goal since practice started on Aug. 1. In a time of a difficult economy, it is not easy to raise the funds required for a team of this size to travel across the nation. Donations are welcome to help these boys with airfare as well as hotel and food costs. All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. For more information, visit tshq.bluesombrero.com/santacruzpw.