Healthy Kidz Flag Football Championships
Detroit ATA, Bates Academy win titles
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — The Detroit Al-Ikhlas Training Academy (ATA) and Detroit Public Schools’ Bates Academy were the big winners at this year’s Healthy Kidz Flag Football Championships held June 8 at the Lorenzo Wright Playfield on the campus on Martin Luther King High School.
The ATA Lions (4-2) won the high school division with a 29-12 victory over the University Prep Science Mathematics Academy Cobras (3-3), while the Bates Academy Panthers (5-3) won the middle school division, 55-44, over the defending champions, the Golightly Educational Packers (7-1).
In the high school championship, most of the scoring was in the first half as the Lions had a 22-12 lead at the intermission. The first-half scoring for ATA came from wide receiver Jabriel Ahmad when he caught a 20-yard scoring pass from quarterback Abdullah Ackusari. Ackusari also caught two scoring passes (50 and 30 yards) from quarterback Muhammad Yasenn. The UPSM Cobras got on the board when quarterback Ernest Bryant threw two 15-yard scoring strikes to wide receiver Igwe Bakari.
The Lions got an insurance touchdown in the second half when running back Dawood Saaddiq caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Yasenn. It was the only score in the second half.
“They beat us once and so did Consortium Prep,” said ATA head coach Mikal Stewart-Saadiq. “(UPA) Prep is a great group of guys.”
“Listening gives you a victory,” said ATA assistant coach Rashad Ashood. “Listening to the adults means a successful program.”
“It was a good game,” said UPSM head coach Mike Nyeche, “but they (ATA) were a good team.”
In the middle school championship, Bates Academy trailed Golightly 30-22 at half time, but the Panthers rallied in the second half to outscore the Packers 33-14 to clinch their second-straight Healthy Kidz Title as a school.
Quarterback Jabari Stewart was on target most of the game as he threw eight touchdown passes. Stewart threw three touchdown passes to wide receiver James Moore (40, 30 and 50 yards), three to wide receiver Andre Nichols (30, 40 and 30 yards) and two to wide receiver Carlos Allen (20 and 20 yards).
“We pulled together as a team at the half,” said Bates Academy head coach Justin Brassfield. “There was some arguing, but we pulled together as the eighth graders to charge in leadership. That enabled us to win our second championship in a row.”
“This is a team effort,” said Golightly head coach Mary Reeves. “No one player gets any credit because we don’t concentrate on individualism. When one person scores, they all score. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”