Wetumpka Crickets win RRYFL titlePublished 9:41am Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Wetumpka Indian Cricket football team prepared for pressure situation long before its River Region Youth Football League championship game Saturday.
All that hard work paid off, as Wetumpka squeaked past the Millbrook Mustangs 19-18 in overtime to bring home the title.
“I think it started with the coaching,” said crickets coach Cortney Jackson. “We got a great group of coaches. We told them from day one that if they worked hard and got in the right shape, when it woule come down toit, we would win it in the end. I think we were building for that type of pressure and it turned out good.”
The Indians grabbed an early 12-0 advantage behind touchdown runs by Wendall Powell and Solon Lee in the first quarter.
But Millbrook fought its way back into the contest, holding Wetumpka out of the end zone the rest of regulation. And in the fourth quarter, Mustang D.J. McGhee scored on a 60-yard run to tie it at 12 and force overtime.
The Indians received the ball first in overtime. They marched down the field and Lee punched in his second touchdown of the game from two yards out to put his team up 18-12. Jackson knew that extra points, which were hard to come by in regulation, just might win the game.
“I figured that drive, for us to win the ballgame, we’d have to make the extra point,” the coach said. “So the extra point was key.”
Dorian Jackson broke the plane on the try to give Wetumpka a seven-point lead.
Millbrook answered on the ensuing possession, recording a touchdown to set up a game-tying point after attempt. But the Indians defense was able to handle the pressure.
“When (Millbrook’s quarterback) dropped back for the pass and saw a man wide open, and then I saw the pass hit the ground. It was one of the greatest feelings a coach could feel.”
Having been in a championship game before, Cortney Jackson knew his team would come out victorious.
“This group of kids actually lost to Millbrook in the championship two years ago,” he said. “We told them that if you work hard enough, that championship would be there, it’s up to you to get it. This is a championship-caliber group, they were hungry for the championship.
“After dropping three games in the regular season, they sensed that urgency. They put it all on the line to get that victory. It’s a hard working group of kids and they know what it takes to win and knows what it feels like to lose.”