The Falcons celebrate after winning the 9U championship in the Knox Metro Youth Football League this season. They were one of two 9U teams in the Falcons’ youth program this season and one of the nine team champions in the KMYFL. The other eight KMYFL champions included five from the Baby Roadrunners program and are pictured in Sports and Recreation, Section B.
By Steve Williams
Veteran youth football coach Ricky Jones put together an “area team” this season and captured the American 9U championship in the annual Battle in Rocky Top Sunday, Nov. 21, at Knoxville Catholic High School.
Jones’ Knoxville Falcons, which includes four players from Oak Ridge, were the only local team to take top honors in its division.
The Falcons rolled past the Cincinnati Raiders 30-0, the Asheville Xtreme 14-8, the Next Level Elite 28-6 and the TN Tigers of Nashville 22-0 in the title game.
Jones’ 9U team, which played “up” in the 10U division of the Knox Metro Youth Football League this year in order get competition from an older team, will be playing in another prestigious youth tournament in Bradenton, Fla., Dec. 27-30 – the PSI Pinnacle National Football Championship by Sports Illustrated.
“This achievement speaks volumes about our team’s athletes, coaches and parents,” said Andrea Majors, one of the Falcons’ Team Moms. “Our boys have stayed committed through this year’s competitive schedule and stayed focused despite outside distractions to ensure they received this invite.”
The team’s season record is 37-2-2 against 9U teams and 37-8-2, including 10U opponents. The Falcons also have won three other highly competitive tournaments, including the D1 National in Charlotte, the D1 National in Cincinnati and the Kickoff Classic in Knoxville. Their victories have come against teams from nine different states.
“They are a diversified group of boys who work hard on and off the field,” added Majors. “Every player is a student athlete and knows academics come first.
“With Coach Jones’ leadership, these boys have achieved many goals and overcame obstacles. Some players look at this football team as an outlet or escape from the issues they see and hear that are going on within our community. For example, the ongoing Covid pandemic or the increase of youth violence with shooting deaths.
“They work hard every practice, and it has shown.”
Majors said in order to make this dream of playing in such a prestigious tournament a reality, “We are looking to our community and our community leaders for support. We want to represent Knoxville in the greatest way, by means of its most precious citizens, our youth.
“To be able to do this, we are in need of financial support to make this trip. By this trip coming after the holidays, many parents are unsure if they can afford to go. As a team, we do not want to let these boys down, given all their hard work and most importantly dedication. That is why we are reaching out for any financial support. We will greatly appreciate any donations and we will ensure that the boys know it was only made possible by a community effort.
“Our youth is so very special and vulnerable at this age, we must stand behind them in their greatest of achievements. Thank you so very much in hopes of your support.”
Donations, said Majors, can be sent to GoFund Me Page: https://gofund.me/302d09de