by: JASON COUSINS - The North Marion Husky Pee Wee football team celebrates at the 50-yard line in Oregon State Universitys Reser Stadium after winning the Alumni Bowl on Nov. 17.The North Marion Pee Eee football team had redemption on their minds when they traveled to Reser Stadium on Nov. 17 to play in the Alumni Bowl — the Pee Wee equivalent of a state championship.

This year’s team was comprised of kids from two different teams that each made it to the Alumni?Bowl in 2012, but lost.

“They were saying, ‘We’re not going to go to Reser and lose. We’re going to go to Reser and win,’” said Huskies coach Jason Cousins.

The Huskies did just that, beating a Corvallis-area team 20-7 to capture the Alumni Bowl victory and finish the 2013 pee wee season with a record of 9-2.

“They were pumped,” said Cousins.

The Huskies built a successful season from a team that was fairly young, compared to the competition they were playing against.

In a classification where most of the athletes are sixth- and seventh-grade kids, the Huskies beat teams with their youth.

“We started five fifth-graders on offense and five fifth-graders on defense,” said Cousins. “Some teams we played had 13 and 14 seventh-graders, and we were still winning.”

North Marion’s lone losses this season came by a combined five points, as the team built an impressive resume of victories that culminated in the Alumni Bowl win.

The victory made the team eligible to continue its season in California to take on better teams from the West Coast, but the money wasn’t available.

“It was going to take $5,000 to get to California, and we only had about $1,700,” said Cousins. The team did some fundraising before the beginning of the season, but it wasn’t enough to pay for a trip to California, so the team opted for the next-best thing.

“We took that money and bought all the parents hotel rooms when we were playing down at Reser Stadium,” said Cousins.

Next year, Cousins hopes to raise enough money to send the team to California, should they qualify.?But they’ll have to do so without the help of some key players who are set to move up to the next level of play.

“We can probably keep about seven kids down at this level again next year, and then the rest will have to move up to the seventh- and eighth-grade level,” he said.

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