49ers Steve Young regales Pop Warner team with Hall of Fame advice

ATHERTON Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young gave a Bay Area youth team a rousing pep talk before it headed off to the Pop Warner Super Bowl this weekend.

Young regaled the Menlo-Atherton Vikings with a tale of how Ronnie Lotts loyalty got him through some tough times with the 49ers.

Ronnie would always tell me, I have your back, through thick and thin, the Hall of Famer told the kids.

So upon the arriving in Orlando in advance of their tournament opening game Sunday, the Vikings took a team photo. Then they took another with their backs toward the camera, just for Young.

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Menlo-Atherton (representing the Pacific Northwest Region) will face the North Raleigh North Carolina Bulldogs (representing the Mid-South Region) on Sunday, the first round of the Division I Junior Varsity Bracket. Most of the players are 13-14 years old.

The team was able to afford the journey in part because of a generous sponsorship from Young and his Forever Young Foundation. The team is comprised mostly of players from East Palo Alto and they are dear to Steves heart, according to a foundation spokesman.

Cool as it must be to have a Hall of Famer in your corner, arent these kids too young to remember Young? As it turns out, the teenagers know the 49ers quarterback (and Lott, too for that matter) because they show up as legends players in the Madden Football video game.

Hes just been a great supporter, said Rich Lawson, whose son, Trey, is a guard on the team. Steve is obviously a fixture in the Bay Area Its not easy to raise the funds, but Steve was kind enough sponsor the team. He told some great stories.  It really made an impact.

Among the other Bay Area teams competing at the ESPN / Disney sports complex: The East Bay-Oakland Wolverines (D-I Jr. Pee-Wee), the East Bay-Oakland Wildcats (D-I, Pee-Wee), the Almaden-San Jose Mustangs (D-I Varsity), South Valley-San Jose Grizzlies (Division II Jr. Pee-Wee), the Redwood City 49ers (D-II Pee-Wee), the Almaden-San Jose (D-II Junior Varsity) and the Los Gatos Cambrian Longhorns (D-III Jr. Pee-Wee).