CYFL SUPER BOWL IX: A different Ortega leads Titans to win
Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.
Updated Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.
In a 19-hour span, the Ortega family traveled more than 240 miles to watch two sons play in big playoff games, both for the Titans.
After watching Jonathan play for the Victoria East varsity football team in the bi-district playoffs Friday night, the parents were again in the stands Saturday afternoon to watch younger brother Bryson help lead the Titans White team to a win over the Calhoun Gold team in the Crossroads Youth Football League freshmen championship game at Patti Welder Stadium.
"It's the excitement that gets us going. We don't really need that much sleep, we're just going, going, going because we know we got to do this," said Leticia Ortega, 54, Jonathan and Bryson's grandmother.
Football was a family affair for the Ortegas, as Leticia was cheering on from the stands and Jonathan was watching Bryson play while being coached by grandfather Fernando, 55, an assistant on the Titans White team.
Eleven-year-old Zachary Ortega donned a white, abominable snowman-like helmet and served as the team's mascot.
Jonathan completed his first varsity football season at East where he started his sophomore season off as a wide receiver before becoming the full time starting quarterback midway through the season.
Despite the playoff loss from the previous night, Jonathan was on the sidelines cheering on the Titans White team and throwing around a football between CYFL games.
"We had a tough loss yesterday, but I woke up and came to support my brother," Jonathan said.
On Saturday, it was Bryson's turn to break tackles and go on long touchdown runs for the Titans.
He scored all three Titans White rushing touchdowns, including a 60-yard scamper on the team's first drive of the game that set off a celebration on the sideline for Jonathan.
"I'm real proud of him," said Fernando about Bryson. "He seems to like it, he has a passion for it. He loves to play football, he loves to win."
The Titan White team beat the Calhoun Gold team 19-13 in the first of four CYFL championship games that made up the league's Super Bowl IX schedule at Welder Stadium.
Bryson was named the game's MVP, an award Jonathan won in 2008 when the then 12-year-old played in the Senior Division's title game.
Fernando went from being a fan in the stands early in the season to coaching on the sidelines during the Titan White's perfect 11-0 run.
He said coaching the kids and teaching them about the game was a fulfilling endeavor.
"It seems to be that's what I wake up for the next day," Fernando said. "What else can I do or what else can I teach them? Or, can we do a little bit of this, or a little bit of that? It's basically I love working with them and just having fun."
Not only did Bryson get coaching from his grandfather, but his older brother gave him some pointers after Titans varsity practice this fall.
"We throw it mostly when the sun sets," said Bryson.
Added Jonathan: " He's been scoring all year, but I've been trying to make him better at it. It was pretty exciting to watch him."
East football fans may have been treated to a glimpse of the future thanks the CYFL reclassification.
Beginning next season the league will realign to put the Victoria kids into either a Titan or Warrior team based on whether the player will attend East or West high schools.
The league did this to copy the model used in smaller cities that have CYFL teams.
"He'll probably get bigger than me so he'll probably be better than me," said Jonathan about Bryson.