Gainesville Grizzlies win the Fairfax County Youth Championship

The 2013 Fairfax County Youth Football Championships: 300 teams, 1,200 coaches, and over 6,000 players came down to Championship Saturday in Northern, VA. Photo: Fairfax County Youth Football Photo

CHANTILLY, Va., November 9, 2013 — The Fairfax County Youth Football 90 Pound Division Championship was played between the Gainsville Grizzlies and the Chantilly Purple Raiders. The Grizzlies defeated the talented Chantilly Purple Raiders, 12-6, on a blustery fall afternoon in Northern, VA. 

29 years ago, Gainesville Grizzles Head Coach Len Annetta was the quarterback of a youth football team in Lehman, Pennsylvania. He played for the Lehman Lions who were coached by his father Mike Annetta back in 1984. Len is now the coach of his son Joe’s team- the Gainsville Grizzlies. When Len was a kid, his team- the Lions, pulled off an upset against the Edwardsville Eagles in the league championship. Coach Annetta commented that “this [1984 youth football championship win] was his only football championship he ever won as a player or coach.”

Coincidentally, on Saturday, the Gainsville Grizzlies upset the Chantilly Purple Raiders 12-6, to give his son and the rest of the young Grizzlies their first football championship.

The Chantilly Purple Raiders were undefeated heading into the Fairfax County 90 Pound Youth Football Championship. The Purple Raiders, led by quarterback Jake Perry defeated the Gainsville Grizzlies earlier this season on a last minute double-reverse trick play for an 80 yard touchdown. 

In Saturday’s Championship, the Purple Raiders jumped out ahead as Jake Perry scored on a quarterback sneak making the score 6-0. The Grizzlies responded with only 1:13 remaining in the first half. On fourth and goal from the nine yard line, running back No. 22, Tyler Settle scored a Grizzlies touchdown off an end-around play, tying the game, 6-6 at Halftime. 

The teams would go back and fourth until Gainsville’s “Joey Football” (Joe Annetta) scored a Grizzlies touchdown on a quarterback draw with only eight minutes left in the game. This gave the Grizzlies a 12-6 lead. The extra point was blocked but the defense held the Purple Raiders scoreless for the rest of the game. Coach Annetta was able to pass along the gift of enjoying a football championship with his son just like his dad did for him 29 years ago.  

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John Heibel


Born in Southern Maryland, 34 years old, John Heibel grew up a Washington DC  sports fan, playing pretty much all sports. Heibel served in the US Coast Guard for 7 years and has two bachelors degrees.
The writer currently lives in Kensington, MD covering all DC Sports for Communities.

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