by Artanza McGuire | @GenNexxtArtanza
(Atlanta, GA) Welcome All Park was definitely a welcoming environment on Saturday for the last regular game of the season between the 10U Welcome All Panthers Blue vs Ben Hill Tigers White. The Panthers have demonstrated a lot of discipline and skill this season, as they entered into the game undefeated with a record of 7-0. However, the Tigers weren’t concerned at all about the Panthers record, and they were ready to play some strong fundamental football as they’ve done this season resulting in a 5-2 record. It was game time and both teams were strapped up and ready. I spotted the 10U Tiger Cheerleaders and chatted with them on how excited they were, and they gave me a preview of their “T-I-G-E-R-S” spirit!
The first half of the game was a defensive showcase. Both the Panthers’ and the Tigers’ d-lines were determined to not let the other team gain any yards. There were no points on the board, the score was an even 0-0 all thru the 1st quarter and it wasn’t until the last 0:47 seconds of the 2nd quarter when a game changing play happened. Ben Hill’s #3 Jackson ran the ball into the end zone to only be called back. The crowd erupted on both sides, the Panthers in happiness and the Tigers in confusion and disbelief as to why flags were thrown on the touchdown. After much debate between the referees and the coaches the penalty was finally clarified as both a face mask and and holding in the backfield and the rest of the half was played out. Unfortunately, there were still no points on the board.
At halftime I was able to speak with Coach Joe, Defensive Coach and Running Back Specialist for the 10U Welcome All Panthers, he said that his strategy of “execution” remains the same entering this 2ndhalf. Head Coach “G”, Gerald Williams, of the Ben Hill Tigers said that the he was also confused about the last touchdown penalty, and despite the referees calls, there are “NO EXCUSES” and his team is still focused on winning.
In anticipation of what was to come, both teams took the field in the 2nd half. Both team held a defensives clinic and kept each other from letting the other score. In the 4th quarter, Ben Hill steadily moved the chain down the field, gained 1st down after 1st down.
Then Ben Hill attempted another touchdown and yet AGAIN it was called back. End of 2nd Half: 0-0. The game went into OVERTIME, with the first to score winning it all.
After much struggle between the two 10U teams, the Welcome AllPanthers running back #3, Robert Iverson punched thru the defensive wall of the Tigers and scored the game winning touchdown and the team defended their undefeated record, now 8-0.