FAIRFIELD — Even when you’re 5, 6 or 7 years old, it’s possible to wonder “What if?”
That happened to the Fairfield Falcons Youth Football Tiny Mites, who went 8-0 last year but were unable to secure funding to go to the National Youth Football League’s Pigskin Tournament in Las Vegas.
The team is off to a 4-0 this start season – outscoring its foes by a combined 126-0 – and is looking to make it to Las Vegas for this year’s tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.
If it can get a little help.
“Basically, it’s the best of the best from all over the world, see how we compete against the others,” said Brandon Jackson, who’s in his third year as Falcons coach. “It would mean a lot. We have a good team, well rounded. Right now it’s the best team I’ve ever coached. It would mean a lot to take these guys up (to Las Vegas). Overall, it would be a great experience to go somewhere else and play teams from other states.”
The Tiny Mite Division is for players age 5-7 with a minimum weight requirement of 35 pounds, a maximum of 95.
There are 35 players on the roster, though, according to the tournament’s website, only players 6 and up as of Nov. 28, the first of the three days of games, will be eligible.
“I have some good kids on this team, real good kids,” Jackson said. “They work hard, they’re dedicated. They’re more advanced than a lot of other kids at this age.”
And what’s the key to coaching kids, some of whom are just starting school?
“Repetition,” Jackson said with a chuckle. “You’ve got to keep instilling in their heads they’ve got to come to work every day. You’ve got to stay on them and make them understand what makes a team. And you’ve got to have a good group of coaches.”
Even with such young players, including four who just turned 5, the Falcons have elaborate game plans that feature blitz and audible packages.
“They pick it up. That’s why it would mean a lot to go to Vegas,” Jackson said. “They can compete with anybody. I feel they’re the best team in Northern California at this level.”
And what makes the team so good?
“Because we got some good linemen,” said 7-year-old Kamani Jackson, a second-grader at David A. Weir Elementary.
“I think we work hard,” said Andreas Garcia, who’s also 7 and a second-grader at Crescent Elementary. “Every time we come to practice we hit. Somebody runs over somebody.”
And how tough was it not being able to play in the Pigskin Tournament last year?
“I was mad and disappointed,” Garcia said.
The team is looking at entry fees of approximately $2,000 as well as transportation, lodging, meals and snacks.
“There was too much on the parents,” Jackson said of last season. “We found out about it a little late. Right now we have 22 guys that want to go.”
Those wishing to help can send donations: Fairfield Falcons Youth Football, P.O. Box 222, Fairfield, 94533.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.