Falcons were ever-present in August Martin Falcons Football’s 24-6 PSAL Cup Conference non-league victory over host the Grady Flacons (2-1) Friday in Brooklyn.
Two days after three-year-old Autumn Coleman was tragically killed in May of 2019, head coach Kyle Allen said a Flacon from nearby Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge landed on the goalpost of their practice field in South Jamaica, Queens.
Was it a sign? Who knows?
But, during practice last week, Allen said that a Falcon swooped in and made a visit to August Martin (3-0). This all happen while the team has worn specially made Autumn 3:16 reversible jerseys for the last two games, both wins, to pay homage to Autumn, with her mom, Cherone Coleman, in attendance.
“Autumn’s mother has been with us, too, so that makes a world of difference,” Allen explained. “Just that energy. It wasn’t a one time thing for us. While I’m here, this is what we do (play for Autumn).
“That was just such a heartbreaking thing,” he continued. “The strength and the perseverance and the ability to wake up in the morning, that women shows, gives us…I can’t even put it into words. Watching her get up everyday and be able to face the world, every time she opens her eyes, she has to relive that reality. But she comes here with us.”
Coleman has enjoyed watching August Martin play, especially when the squad wins, not to mention the love, respect, and honor the Falcons show her and her family.
“I loved it, I loved it. The way they played, amazing,” Coleman said. “You can’t help but feel that (love).”
August Martin got on the scoreboard first with a safety from senior Judeley Francois, making it 2-0 late if the first half.
While both teams couldn’t score any touchdowns in the first half, August Martin penetrated Grady’s backfield throughout the first two quarters, preventing them from running the ball effectively.
After senior Ismael Acosta-Ramos picked off the ball and returned it to August Martin’s 30, Francois hit pay dirt on an 80-yard TD rush a few plays later. Senior fullback Alex Benjamin cashed in the two-point conversion run for a 10-0 lead midway through the third period.
Grady broke through on a nine-yard touchdown rush to narrow the gap at 10-6 early in the fourth quarter.
However, Acosta-Ramos took advantage of a short kickoff and eager Grady’s coverage team, as he found a seam and outran the opposition for a 16-6 advantage. August Martin’s Isaiah Allen ran a nice slant route and caught quarterback’s Christopher Davis‘ two-point conversion pass to increase the visitor’s lead to 18-6 midway through the period.
Senior Truwayne Powell intercepted a throw and took it to the house, but a referee called it back due to a August Martin block in the back penalty.
No worries, as sophomore secret weapon Giovanni Faulkner juked and jived his way to a spectacular 66-yard TD rush and 24-6 advantage.
“If I should be honest, when I took it to the outside, I didn’t seem much room,” Faulkner explained. “So, I thought if I cut inside, there would be more room. So, I cut inside and took it to the house. It felt awesome.”
Acosta Ramos enjoyed a solid overall contest, with an interception, 107 total kickoff return yards–one of which went for a score, and a reception and run for five yards each, plus two tackles.
He feels his teammates are starting to gel after a tough preseason in which August Martin took its lumps.
“Everybody has to do their part,” he said. “This is one of my best games I played. I felt great. We have come a long way. We always start from the bottom and now we’re coming to the top. We were horrible a (few weeks ago), but we came together today. We’ve made a family, and this is what we got. Everybody’s blocking, everybody’s following assignments, and we’re listening to coach.”
Allen said this was one of August Martin’s best games defensively since the program came back in September 2018.
“We played a great game defensively,” he said. “We schemed something, we watched a lot of film, we prepared well for this game. This was a team effort. If we continue to execute, and the kids listen, I think we can go far. We looked good today.”
Francois led the defensive charge with 11 tackles, two for a loss, a sack, pickoff, and safety. Senior Nicolas Fonseca made seven stops, two behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack, while Alwin Aaron recorded five tackles, with two for a loss. Benjamin had four stops, two for a loss, and two sacks.
The Falcons are scheduled to face Alfred E. Smith, but that game could be forfeited, and replaced with Long Island City, per Allen.
— Jerry Del Priore