By Jennifer Coe
(Atlanta, Georgia) Metro Atlanta Youth Football League (MAYFL) has been known as one of the largest and most competitive leagues in Georgia, bringing some of the biggest match-ups in youth football to the fields of ATL. On Saturday, the kickoff of the MAYFL season was nothing short of high-level competition. The 8U Old National Purple Knights had home field advantage against the True Warriors, with an opportunity to set the stage and show the same form that brought them just shy of a championship title last season. Make no mistake, Coach Carner and the True Warriors would not be an easy squad to take on. These boys marched onto the field with fire in their eyes, hungry for a win the moment the ball was snapped in the first play of the game.
The True Warriors weren’t shy about setting the tone early in the game and running circles around the opposing defense, scoring the 1st touchdown of the day and successfully putting a 2nd TD on the board after a fumble by the Knights in only the 1st quarter. The Warriors’ offensive line consistently ran the ball to the outside, clearing a path for easy access to the goal line. #1 Destin Johnson broke for a 65-yard touchdown to expand the lead 19-0, followed by another 50-yard TD and an outside kick recovered by #21 for a 40-yard touchdown to wrap up the 1st half.
No matter the play, the Old National Knights could not stop the defense from scoring down the field. To the contrary, the Knights’ defensive line was able to break that momentum during the conversion plays, halting the Warriors short from running the ball into the end zone for the extra point. After making some great runs and quick plays in this 1st half, #7 Jeremiah Brown from the Old National Knights made a groundbreaking play offensively to get his team on the board with a touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Consequently, Brown took a hard hit during the conversion and came short of successfully executing for the extra point. By halftime, the True Warriors held a huge lead of 31-6. .
In the 2nd half, it was clear that the Knights’ offense changed their strategy and chose to take the ball to the outside, gaining yards up the field with more running plays, and better positioning themselves to run the ball into the end zone. 8U Knight, Tyler McKinstry (#4) and Demetrius Lewis, Jr. (#22) showed their talent and ability to run the ball in the 3rd and 4th quarter and the defense did a better job at reading the opposing line, resulting in more tackles, making it harder for the True Warriors to get up the field with the same ease they had in the 1st half.
As a result, no touchdowns were scored on either side and with 7:50 in the 4th quarter, it seemed both teams had reached an impasse. It wasn’t until #32 Terrion Hall from the True Warriors made one of the last solid plays in the game, that the Warriors sealed the lead for the win, giving the Warriors a 70-yard touchdown in the last 5 minutes of the game to ultimately defeat the 8U Old National Knights in the first game of the season, 37-6.