Natchez native coaching championship-bound Pop Warner team
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. — Myron Franklin is a long way from his hometown, but he’s taking a lot of what he learned as a child and applying it to coaching.
Franklin, a Natchez native and son to Natchez resident Mary Franklin, currently lives in Avondale, Ariz., and is the defensive coach for the Jr. Midget Pop Warner Far West Jets. The Jets are state champions in Arizona for the seventh consecutive year, and are heading to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
The Jets won the Super Bowl last year, and Franklin said the unselfish play of the team is what’s earned them a chance to repeat.
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“The kids fight for each other,” Franklin said. “They believe in the team concept, and that’s what they’re all about. Nobody’s being selfish.”
Franklin said there are approximately 12 to 13 starters back from last year’s team, but some key players that have stepped in to fill the shoes of the players that left.
“Their determination and grit is what’s gotten them here,” Franklin said. “They worked hard all year, and they’re well-conditioned.
“In the third quarter, most other teams will tire out, but it’s like the first quarter for our team. They have a can’t-lose approach to this type of game.”
The Jets will have to win three games before making it to the championship game, and Franklin said they have to play a team from Texas in the first round.
“These kids understand that this trip is about football and being able to defend their championship,” Franklin said. “They’re not going down there for a vacation. They understand the big picture.”
Franklin graduated from South Natchez High School in 1987 and attended Hinds Community College. At Hinds, he played football and baseball.
“My aspirations were to play college football, but that didn’t happen,” Franklin said. “After I got our here (to Arizona), I started playing a lot of baseball. My son, Devin, started to get really interested in football, and that’s what led to me coaching.”
Franklin said his son, 13, watched him play in an adult flag football league, which is how his son got interested in football.
“He was always there watching,” Franklin said. “We also sat down and talked about my high school playing days. I think that’s what eventually led to (his interest).”
Coaching has been a rewarding experience since getting into it, Franklin said.
“Watching kids take what you teach them and apply it in a game, it’s as much rewarding as a victory on Saturday,” Franklin said.
All of Franklin’s family still lives in Natchez, and Franklin said he’s grateful for their support throughout the years.
“I had a lot of family support growing up, and that went a long way with me,” he said.
“When you have family, coaches and the community on your side, you’re pushed to be better every day. And that’s not just on the field, but life in general. I’m thankful for that, and I try to preach it to my kids every day.”