By Mark Nagi
The Fulton Falcons didn’t look much like the Fulton Falcons the past couple of seasons.
But the youngsters that experienced all those losses have grown up in a big way.
On Thursday, September 16, the Falcons scored five touchdowns in the first half, on their way to a 54-26 win over the Gibbs Eagles.
“In 2018 we looked around and knew that we were going to be young for a couple of years,” said Fulton head coach Rob Black. “Sometimes you take lumps, You hope they stay with it and work and will be able to handle that adversity. I really like the energy and passion of our team. On offense and defense, we played with a lot of energy. We have some things to clean up penalty wise, but I’m happy with the way we played.”
Gibbs tried to catch the Falcons napping with an onside kick to start the game, but Fulton was ready. They recovered the kick and advanced it to the Eagles 49.
Fulton quarterback Raysean Jackson then went deep to Marcellus Jackson, who made the catch at the Gibbs 15 on their first play from scrimmage. “I thought he (Raysean Jackson) made good decisions tonight,” said Black.
A few plays later, Daveon Shenault ran it in from three yards away. Less than two minutes into the game, Fulton (3-2, 1-1 Region 2-4A) was up 7-0.
On the Falcons next possession, the deep ball worked to their advantage again. Raysean Jackson threw it long down the sidelines to Marcellus Jackson. 64 yards later it was 14-0 Fulton. Marcellus Jackson had over 200 yards from scrimmage in this game.
Raysean Jackson also plays in the secondary and picked off his counterpart, Bryson Palmer, at the Fulton 42. That turnover was turned into points on a spectacular 45-yard touchdown run by Shenault.
With 1:31 left in the first quarter, it was 21-0 Fulton.
Gibbs (2-3, 0-2 Region 2-4A) struck back early in the second quarter when Palmer took it himself, running to the corner of the end zone on 4th and goal.
But the Eagles had no answer for Shenault and the Falcons offensive line. Shenault’s second touchdown of the night, this time an 8-yard scamper, made it 27-7.
Marcellus Jackson’s second score of the game happened shortly after that with a tremendous 85-yard punt return. It was 35-7 with 7:58 left in the first half.
When Fulton’s three headed offense monster of Jackson, Jackson and Shenault is clicking, the Falcons are going to be a tough out.
This was a game of big plays, and the hosts got into the act on their first play of the next possession. Palmer scrambled, found a wide open Bryson Walker who ran 80 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
The Eagles drove inside the Fulton 10 at the end of the half, but the drive stalled from there, keeping it a 35-13 game at intermission.
In the second half a short touchdown run from Raysean Jackson made it 41-13. A fumble recovered in the end zone by Jerrison Gibson increased the Fulton advantage to 48-13.
Most of the second half was played with a running clock. A couple of short touchdown runs by Palmer were sandwiched around a Daymien McDowell plunge in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons and Eagles play in a very competitive region. All these games are crucial in the fight for the top four and the playoff berth that comes with it.
“We talked about that Monday,” said Black. “The fact that somebody in our region that’s a good team won’t make the playoffs. That makes these games very important. You’ve gotta give yourself a chance at the end. We prepared that way during the week and it was good to see.”
On Friday night, Fulton will try to continue their winning ways at Bearden. Gibbs has the week off and will next play at Scott on October 1st.