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by Mike Lesko | reporter
Streetsboro -- The Streetsboro Rockets came within one game of capturing the Ohio Youth Tackle Football 10-and-younger championship.
The Rockets settled for the runner-up spot following a 7-6 loss to Newton Falls Nov. 4 in the title game at Kent State University's Dix Stadium.
"Unfortunately, there had to be a loser, but we played hard and gave 100 percent, which is all we can ask as coaches," coach John Kelly told his players afterward. "In my book, you all are winners and always will be. This is one of the best teams I have ever coached. Thank you to all the parents, grandparents and other family members for supporting this team and our great season."
Streetsboro, which finished with a 7-1 record, was unscored upon until the title game, outscoring its opponents, 206-7.
The players received certificates from Mayor Glenn Broska at the Nov. 26 Streetsboro City Council meeting.
"You are truly a point of pride to our community," Broska told the players.
Kelly said the players were extremely dedicated.
"Not one of my players quit," he said. "They supported each other, no matter what, and never talked bad about each other, whether on or off the football field."
Kelly, a Streetsboro Board of Education member, said in his 14 years of coaching youth football, this was one of his favorite seasons.
"We played together and were unselfish," Kelly said. "Overall, it was a well-balanced team that was just as good on offense as defense.
"My assistant coaches were without a doubt the glue that held our team together. This was one of the best coaching staffs I have worked with. Their dedication to the program and kids was amazing. They sacrificed personal time for our kids. Sometimes, this goes unnoticed, but my coaching staff always put the kids first."
Assistant coaches were Ryan Golson, John Bodevitz, Todd Hall, Rich Nickerson, Kip Powell, Matt Lanning and Brian Dundon.
Kelly also praised the efforts of Amy Golson, who he called "our team mom."
"Amy helped keep us organized and in check," he said. "She was an integral part of our team and a huge part of our success."