Pop Warner Warriors stumble in 2nd half of showcase game

Joe Laezza scored two touchdowns on short runs when the New Egypt Pop Warner Pee Wee Warriors football team took a 14-8 lead, but the three-time Indiana state champion Chesterton Trojans answered back and pulled away in the second half to a 36-14 victory in a Pop Warner Division II showcase at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.

After the Trojans scored on the game’s opening series, the Warriors drove 60 yards, capped by Laezza’s 6-yard scoring run. Jack Kudrick kicked the extra point to tie it at 8-8. Laezza again capped a drive from midfield with a 3-yard run for the 14-8 lead, but New Egypt fell short on the extra point.

When New Egypt was stopped on a fourth-down play on its next possession, the Trojans scored at the end of a short drive and came off the field at halftime tied, 14-14, with New Egypt.

“They came out throwing in the second half, took the lead and we couldn’t catch up,” Warriors coach Larry Peslak said. “We played tough run defense. They completed some big pass plays for key third-down conversions. We competed and had our chances.”

Jake McGhee, Brett Darienzo, Luke Peslak and Laezza excelled on defense.

The Warriors play their next game Dec. 8 against the Valerico Rams from South Florida — a 24-0 winner over the South Valley Grizzlies from California — before returning home.