Hendrix Stadium was the place to be on Thursday night.
Some of life’s most valuable lessons were learned right there in the Youth Flag Football League. The 6 & 7-year-old players from the Colts and Raiders got their daily allowance of perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship and touchdowns.
As Colts running back Landon Crim said, “You have to try, and you have to toughen up. There’s good sportsmanship (on display). If you’re not a good sport, you’re a dirty player.”
And nobody wants to be that. There were dirty uniforms, but not dirty players on the field on this flag football night in league play in Hogansville.
Getting onboard with that were the hyperactive Raiders, who got there early and stayed late. They scored. They rallied, and they competed with Jayden Strickland, Bryson Pike, Eli Jackson, Nova Yearwood, Javien Rutledge, Cayden Tigner and Will Brooks.
“We’re the best of friends, and we want to win. We like catching passes, and we’re fast,” said Strickland, a running back for the Raiders.
Pike is learning some football fundamentals and some common sense on the field with Strickland. Pike is a flag football star in the making. He found some wiggle room on this night with 92 yards on six carries. Pike scored three touchdowns on runs of 3, 42 and 26 yards.
The dual threat ball player also threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Strickland in the second half.
“We stick together. We always have fun, and we try to win,” said Pike, the Raiders quarterback.
Strickland had the same objective as he rushed for 76 yards on six carries. His longest run from scrimmage was a 26-yarder in the second half.
The Raiders and Colts played this game down to the last nub. They made this a contact sport, even in the Flag Football League, as the Colts won the game, 30-24. The Raiders had 179 yards of offense, and the Colts drummed up 185 yards.
Both teams left the stadium feeling like winners. And deep down inside, they are.
It was a good night in the Youth Flag Football League.
“We’re keeping it fun, and the kids are learning to be team players. Some of the big things are getting the handoff, running in the right direction and pulling the flag,” said Colts head coach Scott Jeter.
His team was back in the saddle, thanks in part to Crim, the halfback with 104 yards rushing on six carries. He was slashing, dashing and smashing with four touchdown runs. Crim was flying high, running hard, lowering his shoulder and scoring often.
He took the ball to the flag football house on touchdown runs of 32, 20, 7 and 35 yards. There was no doubt for this nifty running back. Crim has got some game and a gear that few other players have.
He is faster than Speedy Gonzales.
“I was doing my juke move and some other stuff. My daddy works with me,” said Crim. “Our team blocks, and we tell each other we’re doing a good job.”
And some of those significant other football players for the Colts include Kamarion Parkmond, Cole Pike, Peyton Dykes, Jonah Hafley, Jack Jeter, Jacob Doyle, Axle Smith, Grant Dean, Justin Favors and Colby Hester. They’re a team and a close group of football characters.
As for Smith, he rushed for 43 yards on four carries for the Colts. Axle Smith is a smooth talking, tough running halfback.