PAL’s Citywide Flag Football season came down to a thrilling, nail-biter of a close in November.
The season kicked off with a one-day tournament in October, which was held as a positive, out-of-school time team-building and mentoring opportunity for children. Following the tournament, PAL centers across the city hosted their in-house leagues to compete for a spot in the Citywide Championship.
The Championship matchup, played on Team Vick Field in Hunting Park, boasted South Philly’s powerhouse Ford PAL vs. Germantown’s resilient Paley PAL.
The Veterans’ Day showdown was predicted to be a toss-up – both teams had the unity, skill and leadership to compete for the PAL Flag Football League’s highest honor. Out of the gate, though, Ford PAL’s quick-moving offense and stingy defense proved too much for Paley. Ford dismantled Paley with quick strikes, big plays and major stops on defense.
The lopsided score didn’t leave as much as a scratch on the character or grit of Paley PAL’s unwavering, never-give-up mentality. During half-time, Police Officer Ernie Pollard talked with his team and encouraged them to keep playing their best.
Paley came back strong in the second half. Their invigorated play stumped Ford PAL, and, drive by drive, they effortlessly put up points while stalling Ford’s hot offense. With minutes left, they tied the game and kept their championship dreams alive.
Both teams went into overtime with a fresh, can-do mindset thanks to positive coaching and good attitudes. After a few minutes of play, Ford PAL reestablished their quick-striking offense, and, with a few big plays, the quarterback was able to move down the field and fire a beautifully thrown pass into a teammate’s arms in the end zone leading them to victory.
Supported largely by donations from the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation, through the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation Tour de Shore, the Flag Football season was a huge success. Kids from around the City spent quality time under the guidance of their mentors from the Philadelphia Police Department in safe and productive environments, while having fun and staying physically active with their teammates.
Congratulations to the kids of Ford and Paley PAL on their winning efforts, positive attitudes, and choice to stay involved in constructive programming. Additionally, congrats to Police Officer Joe Ellerby and Ford PAL on winning the 2014 PAL Flag Football Citywide Championship.