The Titans are back, ready to play!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Let’s have some fun. Let’s play Pop Warner football strategy trivia. Today’s question, asked of the Downtown Athletic Association football league: What’s the most effective way for a running back to avoid an oncoming army of hungry tacklers?

Contestant number one is King’s Fork Middle School student Aaron Harris, 12, who’ll be carrying the ball for the Suffolk Titans Midget squad come Sept. 6, the day of their first game.


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&uot;If anyone tries to tackle me, I’m just going to put my head down and bowl them over,&uot; Aaron replies. &uot;If I see a crowd, I’m going to go to the side and outrun them!&uot;

Our second competitor is none other than Larry Hester of Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, who carries for the Mighty Mite team. &uot;I’m going to juke around them and go straight for the touchdown,&uot; says the 9-year-old. &uot;That’s how I scored all the touchdowns when I played in flag.&uot;

Flag football, the youngest group of Titans at ages 5-7, is the domicile of the final contender, Deshaun Lamont, a student at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School. &uot;I’m thinking about crossing up people who try to grab my flags,&uot; says Deshaun, 5. &uot;I’m going to run fast every time. If I move my feet up, they’ll think I’m going to run, so I’ll go around them. They can’t catch me!&uot;

So who wins the prize for today? Maybe after the season, we’ll truly know.

After a one-year hiatus, the league is back to give hundreds of players and cheerleaders a chance to snare some gridiron skills. Local youths ranging from flag football to midget competition are slowly growing into the Titan-hood weeknights at Wellons Park.

Larry and his Mite teammates have been working hard on their toughness and carrying ability; a popular drill is when a player runs between two rows of teammates, surrounded by outstretched, flailing arms that try to knock the ball from his hands. It’s gotten Larry ready to play on both sides of the ball.

&uot;I want to play defensive lineman, so I can tackle people and knock them down,&uot; he said. &uot;If someone runs toward me, I’m going to grab his legs and slam him on the ground and make him fumble.&uot;

As though being a quarterback wasn’t a tough enough job, Deonte Brown has an extra disadvantage; the junior midget tosser is one of the shortest players on his team. &uot;It’s going to be hard, because there’s going to be people trying to come in and take the ball,&uot; says the Booker T. Washington Elementary School student. &uot;I’ll be OK if I play a small team, but a big team, I don’t know. I’d rather hand the ball off so I don’t have to throw it and maybe have it get intercepted.&uot;