SPECIAL TEAMS CARRY OVERTOWN TO SPECIAL VICTORY
By Brandon A. Odoi
(October 3, 2010, Miami, FL---) It had not been done in two and a half football seasons until Saturday. Miami Pop Warner’s Overtown Rattlers Midgets (160 lb.) handed the two time-consecutive defending national champion Richmond Giants their first lost, edging them out 21-20. The Rattler’s blocked an extra point field goal attempt by Richmond’s Jaquan Johnson late in the fourth to seal the win. It was their second such block of the day and it secured a victory that will be talked about for years to come.
Overtown’s head coach Shanton Crummie, who last year coached Overtown’s Jr. Midgets to a super bowl victory in the Sean Taylor Classic, orchestrated the historic win. His opponent, Eddie Alford, Jr. coached a dynamic group of kids that had not lost a game in their current run since 2007. Both teams came into the contest undefeated and therefore the gridiron battle had a playoff like intensity because of the pedigree of both coaching staffs, their players and the implications the game carried.
The contest was played under the watchful eyes of a crowd just under a thousand but whose boisterous chanting emulated a group twice their size. Playing at home at Gibson Park, better known as the “snake pit,” Overtown jumped out early to an 8-0 lead behind the strong running of Richard Grissom-Rodgers and the leadership of quarterback Treon Harris.
Harris proved to be a capable leader, playing through a risk injury he suffered to his throwing hand, late I the first half. He scored first on a quarterback sneak from Richmond’s one yard line. The next score was by Richmond’s Jaquan Johnson on a long 75 yard run. But the extra point field goal try Johnson attempted after the run was blocked. The score was 8-6 early in the first half.
Overtown answered again with a third and long pass from Harris to Grissom-Rodgers for the score. A celebration penalty brought the extra point field goal try back too far and the kick was blocked by the Giants bringing the score to 14-6.
The Rattlers marched right back down to score behind a 20 yard run from Harris brining the score to 21-6. At this point, it looked like a route could be on. However, Richmond battled back behind the strong running of Timothy Irvin to draw within a score at 21-13. Irvin would score again for the Giants late but the extra point field goal was blocked and the final score was 21-20 Overtown.
The player of the game was Overtown’s punter/kicker Tyrell Everett. He knocked in both extra point field goals and had a great punting net average, giving the Rattlers the edge in the field position battle.
If these two teams meet again, it would have to be in the super bowl because the playoff seeding now has Overtown as the No. 1 seed (even with a loss in the remaining games) and Richmond likely taking the No. 2 seed heading into post season play.