By Mike Talbert
FALKNER The Falkner Eagles are loaded with talent. The starting lineup was the cream of the Falkner football team (10-2) which won the Division 1-1A championship and made the playoffs.
The Eagles weren’t flying high until recently, but they have dug their talons in now. They served notice by beating then No. 7 area team Baldwyn in the Corinth New Years Classic.
To punctuate that, the Eagles swooped on the visiting No. 2 Myrtle Hawks (20-2) for a 78-70 win Friday, despite a 40-point effort by Myrtle guard LaKendrick Bailey. Bailey was guarded by the the Eagles’ best defender, Isaiah Simmons, who is also the team’s leading scorer with a 16 point average.
Coach Tim Leatherwood said that is more a testimony to Bailey’s skills and the offense built around Bailey than any reflection on Simmons.
Simmons is followed by Edward Prather (15 ppg) and Bradley Prather (14 ppg). Guards Shino Edgeston and Shane Prather add to the quick and athletic starting lineup.
“It was a good win for us. We needed it to prove that we could win, but we are still not the team to beat … Myrtle is,” Leatherwood said. “It will help us with confidence for the rest of the season.”
Winning had been a problem for the Eagles, who are now 8-7 overall, though they are locked in a three-tie for the Division 2-1A lead with Myrtle and West Union at 6-1 after a Tuesday win over Walnut.
Falkner uses quickness and skills in a transition game. Height is not as asset with none on the team over 6-1.
“We are in the trees, we have to try to keep people off the boards,” Leatherwood said.
Also, their record reflects the Falkner schedule. It is tough as nails, including Potts Camp, Jumpertown, Corinth and New Albany, all of which have been ranked in the Daily Journal Poll.
The slow start can be blamed on the extended football season. There was less than a week in the gym to work on the basics. The team is just starting to really come into its own.
Despite the changeover problems, Leatherwood said, “The winning tradition in football has more than offset any problems with a positive attitude.”