CALGARY – Five touchdown passes, 250 total passing yards and a championship trophy was all in a day’s work for Dawson Rodney.
The 11-year-old quarterback from Canmore led the Falcons to victory in a suspenseful, 35-34, game over the Bears in Sunday’s (Sept. 1) U12 championship in the Calgary Youth Flag Football League.
“Near the end I was a little scared and under pressure … I focused on throwing it where it needed to go,” Rodney said.
“It was a little bit more back and forth and it came down to last play.”
Tied at 28 all, Rodney and the Falcons receivers were clutch down the stretch at Shouldice Athletic Park. Despite being rushed by a towering defender after the mandatory “four steamboat” count, Rodney worked his way up the field before throwing a bomb to a receiver in the end zone for six points. The Falcons made good on the one-point conversion to put them up, 35-28.
“It was probably the most important pass in the end zone that he caught that we needed,” said Rodney, who attends Lawrence Grassi Middle School.
However, the Falcons’ end zone bliss was short-lived because the Bears would not go away that easy. The foes clawed back into the game with a clutch touchdown of their own to make it 35-34 in the dying seconds. But instead of going for a one-point conversion to tie and send it to overtime, the bold Bears went for all the glory and attempted to go for a two-point conversion and the win.
Rodney was in a unique position, playing on both offence and defence, and said the Falcons stuck to the Bears like glue during the final play.
“We just had to play regular defence as tight as possible,” he said.
The Bears QB’s game-winning pass didn’t reach its target as a Falcon defender knocked it to the ground and ended the championship game. It was the only missed conversion over four quarters of action.
The Falcons peaked at the right time in the season. Before the club won a championship, they were barely a playoff team. In order to make the playoffs, the Falcons had a do or die game against the Scorpions in the final game of the season. The Falcons made no mistake and crunched the Scorpions, 32-22.
From there, the team “surprised” the three teams in front of them to claim the title. First, a sick Rodney helped his team knock out the Wolverines, then a week later, the Falcons rocked the Hawks and advanced to the finals, where they edged out the Bears.