6u Peachtree Lions win GFL! Caleb Downs reaches MILE STONE with Record breaking season!
November 18, 2011By Kristopher Gordon of D1Spects Nation
Atlanta, Ga-- The journey for the 6u Peachtree Lions championship run was a fun and exciting experience for the players, fans, and coaches. Coming into the season the Lion's coaches had no idea what kind of year this will be for the young ball club. Lion’s Coach Chris Griffin told D1Spects, “They were six year olds, so we didn’t have a lot of high expectations from them. We just wanted to teach the kids how to play, and get them to fall in love with the game. Lion’s assistant coach Tony Murphy also stated, “Our main goal was to teach them the fundamentals of football, as well as get them to enjoy the experience and continue to play.”
Then comes the legend of a special six year old from Parson Elementary named Caleb Downs (pictured below). Before D1Spects unleashes Downs to the youth football world, let’s discuss his background. His mother Tonya Downs is a teacher at Peachtree Middle School, and his father Gary Downs is a former NFL running back. Meaning Caleb has the both of best worlds, highly intelligent and a beast on the field.
Griffin adds, “I noticed [Caleb] during our Tee-Ball games. You could tell he was athletically gifted, and a really fast player who possess the “it” factor even at a young age.” Coach Murphy tells D1Spects, “The first three or four practices you could really see the potential, and his high football IQ was pretty impressive. He appeared to already understand the basic footwork, techinques and football concepts.”
With that said both Lions coaches still had no idea what to expect going into their first game. However, Downs made the job a little easier for the coaches.
Griffin stated, “Having Caleb allowed us to do more things, that we did not think we could do with a 6u team. This allowed us to think outside the box. I believe we are the only 6u team that were running toss sweeps.”
Coach Murphy added, “We were able to teach the kids advanced fundamentals and run plays such as counters, traps, and pull the guards on offense.” Griffen also concluded, “Early in the season we would try to balance it out, and teach Caleb other things besides just running the football.”
It was not just Caleb’s running ability that won the championship this year. With Caleb developing faster than normal, his team rallied behind him. Coach Griffin told D1Spects, “We knew we had something special in Caleb, but we also knew that we wouldn’t advance far as a one man show.”
Coach Murphy added, “Caleb makes the other kids better, he practices hard, and is really a respectful kid on and off the field. He was our silent leader, and the kids picked up on it.”
The 6u Lions also featured Niko Dowdell who played exceptionally well at the LB position on the defensive side of the ball. While the offensive line played a critical role in Downs’ record breaking season. Griffen stated, “Our offensive line really came through and opened up the lanes for Caleb to run. They also picked up on the snap count, which made defenses respect the snap of the ball.”
Caleb Downs Reaches Milestone
Six games into the season the Lions were standing 6-0. Griffin stated, “Six games into the season, we could see Caleb developed faster than everybody else. We felt like it was time to let him loose.” Coach Murphy also stated, “Caleb is explosive, and he does and sees things that you can’t even imagine a ten year old doing.”
Caleb Downs went on a rampage this year, and made the end-zone his best friend. Downs scorched opposing defenses, and dropped the jaws of coaches running for 60 touchdowns; while scoring 20 of them in the playoffs breaking the GFL record for most touchdowns scored in a season for any age group.
Not only did Caleb break the Gwinnett Football League record, the 6u Lions capped off an incredible season with a 12-0 record and a GFL Championship. Sadly, the team’s journey comes to an end after a spectacular season. While the fans and D1Spects would like to see the 6u Peachtree Lions face off against the 6u Atlanta Vikings (Who have not allowed a touchdown all season) in the Pig Skin Classic. Coach Griffin responds by telling D1Spects, “I know there are more bowl games, and tournaments to participate in. But these kids are six, and have been playing since July. They gave us everything we asked for, and it’s time to let them rest.”
As for the future for the ball club coach Murphy told D1Spects, “Me and Chris [Griffin] have been coaching together for some time. This really caught us off guard. We went back to coach some kids, and exceeded above our expectations, and we did not expect this.”
As for repeating for a consecutive championship in the 7u division Murphy stated, “As long as me and Chris are coaching, you can expect our teams to be very competitive.”
After a remarkable championship and record breaking season, the 6u lions can finally hang up their cleats. The Lions accomplished all of their goals, and exceeded well above expectations. The Lions wanted to teach the kids the fundamentals, while getting them to enjoy the game.
While championships and records go down in the history books, Chris Griffin is mostly proud of one accomplishment this season. He told D1Spects, “The most amazing thing that happened this season is we started the season with twenty kids, and ended the season with twenty kids. I want to thank our parents for their support and sacrifices, as to our players. Their dedication to the season was critical to our success.”