10U Ben Hill Tigers vs. 10U South Cobb Ravens
By: Tiphane Pate | @GenNexxt_Tiph
(Atlanta, GA) Most championship games feature the shoo-ins, the expected contenders, the undefeated “perfect” squads. The Metro Atlanta Youth Football League’s 10U championship this Saturday was a different story. Both teams, the Ben Hill Tigers and the South Cobb Ravens, came to the table with 7-3 records. Both teams fought hard through the playoffs, fending off formidable opponents to get there. In the previous week, the Ravens defeated the Rock Chapel Bulldogs – one of the shoo-ins that everyone thought would be there. Both teams knew what this game was about: Redemption.
It was not an easy road for either side. Teondre Carter, #12 for the Ravens, received the opening kickoff and finished the play down near the Tigers’ endzone. The Ravens offense struggled for a while to find the right door to the goal line: they pushed left twice, then right, and tried to run it down the middle, but the Tigers defense wasn’t having it. Finally, the Ravens quarterback completed a pass to Marshaun West (#11) at the one-yard line, opening the door for #6, Roderick Vaughn, to push into the endzone on a fourth-and-goal play, putting the first points on the board for the Ravens.
Number three for the Tigers, Jackson Sims, received the following kickoff and manages to get the ball down to the Ravens’ 23 against strong defensive pressure. It seemed that they were on their way to a touchdown as well when Micah Weatherly-Williams (#10) pushed through the h*** to the eleven yard line, but a fumble on the next play would cause them to lose twenty-two yards, and make it difficult to convert to another first down on this possession.
The Ravens’ next possession would lead into the second quarter, but not much else, as the Tigers defense held the line right at the endzone to prevent another touchdown. At that point in the game, the energy seemed to equal out between the two opponents, but in a significant shift of momentum, the Tigers turn over the ball less than ten yards away from their own endzone and the Ravens eat up the opportunity. The quarterback got the ball to #11, and Marshaun “March-On” West’s speed gets them into the endzone for another touchdown. The extra point conversion put the Ravens up, 13-0.
The Tigers worked hard for the rest of the first half to put points on the board, leaning on #2, Khalil Anderson, for yardage, but unfortunately Anderson didn’t have the blocking he needed from his offensive line to get as much as he could. With a near interception and a fumble-and-recovery that pushed them back twelve yards, the Tigers seemed to be grasping at straws when the first half ended. When the second half began, however, spectators saw a resurgence of energy as they scored their first touchdown of the game within the first two minutes. Although they failed to get the extra point, the Tigers were on the board, 13-6.
Much of the rest of the third quarter took place near midfield, but in the fourth quarter, the excitement was back. The championship trophies were carried onto the track, reminding each side of impending victory, and the fans on both sides were optimistic that the victory would be theirs. Chants flew back and forth across the field from the bleachers and their support was felt on the field. The Tigers seemed close to tying up the game, but another shift in momentum shakes everything up. The Tigers fumbled the ball right at the feet of Carter (#12) who didn’t immediately realize it was a live ball until the crowd and the Ravens sideline assured him. He took a moment to realize his opportunity, but when he did, he took off. The Ravens remained in control of the ball for the duration of the game, and finish it out, 13-6.
As the emotional Ravens coach, Coach Dallas, reminded everyone during post-game interviews, few expected the 10U South Cobb Ravens to make it this far, and now, they are the MAYFL’s 10U champions and have indeed earned their redemption. After all, isn’t that the stone from which the best champions are carved?