Natchez Falcons get opportunity to play in Superdome

Published 12:05 am Friday, September 5, 2014

The New Orleans Saints have never been so welcoming for a Falcon football team.

As the 9- and 10-year-old members of the Natchez Falcons made their way onto the Supderdome turf for a scrimmage at halftime of the Saints and Baltimore Ravens’ preseason matchup on Aug. 28, the Falcons met Saints’ players and received gloves from star cornerback Keenan Lewis.

“I met the whole team,” said Falcon Marquez Brown, who was blown away by the players’ intros before the game. “They ran out, and the best players on the team ran out with smoke and fire shooting out for them.”

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The team met Mark Ingram, Jimmy Graham and others before turning their attention to their own game on the gridiron.

The nerves set in quickly for the young squad who played a series of offense and defense against another TNT youth football team, and head coach Darryl Smith could sense the nerves in the early goings.

“Most of the kids don’t play in front of more than 60 or 70 people, and when you’re in a stadium that big, it got them a little nervous,” Smith said.

Wide receiver Kyran Murray said he had to settle down, but once he did, it was just like playing anywhere else.

“When I saw the people cheering us on, I got a lot of confidence,” Murray said.

The Falcons tied their opponents 6-6. Natchez’s Dekaron McGruder scored the only touchdown for the Falcons on a bizarre rushing play.

“He dropped the ball and it bounced right back into his hands,” Smith said. “He just took it into the end zone after that.”

Terrell Penro nearly scored on a play, but the young player said he got overexcited and kicked the ball out of his own hand.

“I almost scored a touchdown, but I fumbled,” Penro said. “I was running with the football and it hit my knee.”

Adam Penton said the experience was awesome, and he’s marking it down as his first NFL game of his football career.

“The fact that we got to play, we played in the Superdome,” Penton said. “It’s pretty much a head start to our NFL career. A lot of players that want to play in the NFL, they need to catch up. We have already played in the NFL.”