Co-ed flag football league keeps kids active, helps them learn the game
Two exciting games were played in the youth flag football league Thursday on the fields at the old Jasper County High School in Ridgeland.
The Falcons and Steelers were the winning teams, but everybody was in a good mood afterward.
The Falcons defeated the Dolphins in the first game, 12-10, as Jordan Mikell hit Ty’shon Mansell for a long bomb and a touchdown on the final play.
“That’s how you show up,” Mansell said after the game, with kids and adults laughing.
The Falcons took an early 6-0 lead on a touchdown run by Cutter Williams. However, near the end of the first half, the Dolphins’ Amare’ Patterson dodged defenders for a long touchdown run. Patterson then threw to Jaquise Johnson for the two-point conversion and an 8-6 lead.
The Dolphins later extended their lead to 10-6 on a safety credited to Imani Patterson. Imani (Amare’s sister) excelled on defense with two sacks.
Then came Mansell’s touchdown at the end.
“Mr. (Johnny) Davis drew the play up and we ran it,” said Falcons coach Dwyane Perry.
“I gave some plays to the coaches before the season began,” said Davis, Jasper County Recreation Director said. “I’ve coached before, though it was nothing big.”
It’s something big, however, when 25 kids from ages 7 to 13 can play in a co-ed league where football skills and sportsmanship are taught.
“It’s about the same number of kids as last year,” Davis said. “We’d like more to play, but I’m glad we can have four teams.”
Davis added, “Kids never have enough to do in the summer. We’re glad to give them an opportunity to play.”
In the second game, Steelers quarterback Anthony Fripp eluded the Patriots’ speedy Sammy Lyles and threw a touchdown pass to Devin Patterson for a 20-14 overtime win. It was the second Fripp-to-Patterson touchdown in the game.
The Steelers took a 14-0 halftime lead on a length-of-the field touchdown run by Kelan Fripp and the first Fripp-to-Patterson touchdown.
Then, in the fourth quarter, the Patriots stormed back. Lyles hit Malcom Gordon for a touchdown, and soon afterward Lyles recorded a safety. Then Lyles hit Joseph Robinson for a touchdown pass to tie the game at 14.
After Patterson scored the winning touchdown in overtime, he said: “Thank you to all the players who came out and played. I had fun.”
The Steelers’ Logan Norris added, “This is a great way for everybody to learn to play as a team and become family.”
“Football is like chess,” Steelers coach Marshall Tillotson said. “It’s about finding the best matchups. My players are great at recognizing the matchups and letting me know what works.”
The league began its season on June 29 and will hold the championship and consolation games July 27.
Players from each team love the game. The Steelers’ Kelan Fripp said: “I’ll play football as long as I can.”