Not only are the North Pulaski Falcons learning how to play the game of football, but they are also learning about life.
Last year before the season started, the Falcons lost their quarterback to a season-ending injury. This year, North Pulaski (0-6, 0-3 5A-Central) is also dealing with injured players. Last Friday in a 45-6 loss to Little Mills, the Falcons had to move back-up Michael Barnes to quarterback after injuries.
"It part of football," Coach Teodis Ingram said. "We talk about adversity, and last year, we had the same issues. Adversity is part of football and life, and it’s how you respond. When you are short-handed, you have to get through it."
With four to five battered players, the Falcons are enduring the injuries at an inopportune time. Ingram said they occurred at a time when North Pulaski is getting better. Against Mills, Ingram said a bright spot was that the defense as well as it has all year in the first series. He said the first three downs were as well as the Falcons could play. Mills picked up a fourth down on a big play, and then the Falcons lost their focus.
"I see a young football team getting better," he said. "Just getting better doesn’t mean we are going to win."
Even though Barnes is capable at quarterback since he played there last season, the change messed up the offense’s timing. As the game went on, the timing of routes and communication between the quarterback and running backs got better. Moving Barnes to quarterback from tight end left a void there.
"He is valuable as a tight end," Ingram said. "He’s also a tough competitor. He suffered a shoulder separation three weeks and keeps playing through it."
Friday, the Falcons travel to city rival Jacksonville. Ingram knows his players will be ready to play hard. The thing he is worried about is Jacksonville’s combination of speed and quickness.
"A team that has speed and is not quick, that doesn’t concern me," he said. "It you are quick, too, that is a dangerous combination because you can create your own lanes. Jacksonville is big and physical, and I think better than last year. We’ll have to keep them in front us and not try to do things we can’t."