Falcons learn to fly

Published 12:01 am Friday, September 16, 2011

Eric Shelton | The Natchez Democrat — South Jackson’s Jayden Terry tries to score a touchdown during the game against the Natchez Falcons Sept. 10 at Natchez High School.

Natchez — Ten years from now Jacorian Sewell’s 53-yard touchdown run at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium could mean a huge touchdown for the Natchez Bulldogs, but Saturday morning it just meant a score to give the Natchez Falcons’ 6- to 8-year-old team its lone score of the game in a 34-6 loss to the South Jackson 49ers.

Although Natchez lost the game, the team’s focus is not necessarily winning, but developing the young players for their future on and off the field.

“At our age level our coaching philosophy is basically to expose them to the game, help them develop a love of the game, teach them fundamentals, let them have some fun and somewhere in between there instill a few life lessons somewhere along the line,” Falcons’ coach Jamal McCullen said.

Sewell had the Falcons’ lone big play offensively in Saturday morning’s game. With Natchez trailing 22-0 in the third quarter Sewell broke through the line and pulled away from the South Jackson defenders as he scampered for a long touchdown run.

“I thought I almost passed out,” Sewell said. “I thought I was going to get tackled by one of the 49ers but I didn’t, and I kept on running, and I scored.

“I thought I couldn’t do it, but I thank the Lord I did.”

The touchdown was Sewell’s second of the season, he said. He is an 8 year old that has been playing with the Falcons for two years. He is a third-grade student at McLauren Elementary.

Sewell also made four tackles on defense, but he said offense is where he likes to play.

“I like offense better. I get to run the ball,” he said.

The 6-8 Falcons are the youngest of three Natchez Falcons teams that have been practicing since the spring to prepare for the 20111 season.

“Well first of all our coaching staff, and everything is volunteer,” McCullen said. “So we put a lot of time and sacrifice and get the kids prepared to play. the kids enjoy it thoroughly. We started way back in May, and the kids have been here since then, and they definitely have a love for the game.”

McCullen said educating the inexperienced players is sometimes difficult for his 2-3 Falcons.

“Some of the 6 year olds are really learning the game,” he said. “As a youth football team this is only our fourth year of existence, so we also have some 8 year olds who are playing for first time.

McCullen said his team started its season off 0-2, but then won two straight before losing to an athletic South Jackson team Saturday.

“For the most part the majority of our kids came out well,” he said. “We may not have prepared them as well as we could have for this week. They were riding high from a couple a victories that weren’t against teams as tough as this Jackson 49er team. (Our kids) came out and did what they were used to doing, but unfortunatly it wasn’t enough and that was our fault.”

McCullen said the Jackson team has been around a lot longer than Natchez, and the Falcons have never beaten the 49ers.

“This loss is bitter to us, because this 49er team has beat us every game since we’ve been in the league. They’ve beat us in the playoffs and in overtime. We can’t seem to get past 49ers.”

The Falcons practice Monday through Thursday each week, and McCullen said he sees improvement in his team.

“The most improvement has been in getting them used to contact and understanding it’s a physical game and teaching the fundamentals on how to tackle for the younger guys,” he said.

“With the older guys they are getting confidence as they’ve grown, especially getting a couple wins. I’ve seen kids blossom into stars on the field that started out as 6 years olds that didn’t know a thing about football, and now some of our better players.”

The Falcons have five more regular season games this season before the playoffs start.