EAFL Falcons show their stuff at Pop Warner Super Bowl

The U13 and U15 Emirates American Football League Falcons all-stars reached the championship game in Orlando, Florida.

Photo Courtesy / Simon Thurston
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The EAFL Falcons this week returned from an unforgettable American adventure having left a huge mark at the 2015 Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida held this month.

The U13 and U15 teams of the EAFL Falcons, effectively an all-stars collection of the seven teams that play across the Emirates American Football League, finishing second and third respectively in their divisions.

Both age groups had to play two matches each day across a week of action at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex against teams from Canada and Mexico. Their performances and results exceeded all expectations, with both winning three of their six games.

The EAFL Falcons U13s started the competition by winning three of their first four games, including a 19-0 victory over Mexico City and a 6-0 shutout of eventual champions Mexico Azul.

Having travelled 12,500 kilometres across nine time zones, an understandably tiring Falcons faded in their final two games, yet still only lost by a combined total of seven points.

There was heartbreak for the youngsters as it took a dramatic 70-yard touchdown pass as time expired to deny them the championship, with Mexico Azul coming up with the big play when it mattered. “This year the entire team was in it as a unit,” said Costas Livadaris, a centre who was part of the U13 team that last year failed to win a single match. “We brought a team of all-stars and players that can go all the way. We made it into second place and we’re very happy with that.“

The trip was a memorable experience for some of the newcomers in the team.

“My overall experience was great,” said David Spikes, who plays linebacker for the U13s. “The best part was the championship game.

“It was heated, it was fun, it was intense.“

The EAFL Falcons U15s also made huge strides after last year’s winless first trip the Pop Warner tournament.

They kicked off with a resounding 24-0 win over Mexico City before losing their next two games 20-0, against eventual champions Canada, and 19-18 against Mexico Azul.

They came back strongly to win two of their last three games, with their defence only allowing 13 points.

“Well, it’s definitely a step forward,” U15s coach Patrick Campos said. “It’s not something you set out as an objective, to finish in third place.

“In terms of what it means for the programme, coming here for a second time and having gone 0-3 first time round, although we went 3-3, the games we lost were games we should have won. That shows how far we’ve come.”

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