Leicester Falcons’ season begins this Sunday in Birmingham against the Sandwell Steelers, and hopes are high that the team can go one better than last season and achieve promotion to the Premier League. Last year the Falcons finished top of their regional division but an agonising playoff loss to Manchester Titans means the team will take one more shot at Division 1.
Central to coach Noel Cassar’s squad’s fortunes is Chicago-native Taylor Brown. Last year the University of Derby student did a bit of everything, scoring multiple rushing, receiving and defensive touchdowns. Lining up at wide receiver, running back or safety, defences are left unable to gameplan for him.
The offence has undergone an overhaul. With last year’s quarterback Troy Jackson planning to return to the US the reins of the offence have been handed over to Joe Brammer, who played receiver for the Falcons last year but quarterback as a junior. 2018’s leading running back Nat Eaves is still rehabbing a broken leg suffered in the playoffs, so the running game falls to fullback Adam Gumbs for the time being.
The defence, led by player-coach Wayne Gumbs, is largely intact from last year. American linebacker Michael Freauff Jr is an intriguing acquisition but the homegrown front seven led by Bill Hefford will be the difference maker.
The first home game is on April 22nd against local rivals Coventry Jets (KO 2:30). The Falcons’ home ground is at Leicester Road Stadium, Hinckley, and as ever will provide one of the best gameday experiences in British American Football complete with cheerleaders and live commentary.
(Photo – #24 Adam Gumbs by Peter Grimbly)