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CIFFA huddles up flag ladies
Mar 13, 2013, 10:46 am

Flag football in Cayman seems poised for two female leagues.

The Cayman Islands Flag Football Association recently announced plans to put on a women’s league this summer. The competition is slated to join the Dart Women’s League, put on by the Grand Cayman Flag Football Association.

The Cayman Islands Flag Football association stated the move is about building unity. 

“As some of you may already know, the association is excited to announce the return of our Women’s Premier League,” the association noted. “We believe the consensus choice is to facilitate both leagues at one venue and as an association, we strongly support this initiative.

“We have the resources and “know how” to handle this transition and look forward to working with you all to accomplish this. We will be extremely open to recommendations. At this point, the group plans to stage the women’s league alongside the men’s competition at the Ed Bush field in West Bay. The Grand Cayman group would continue its matches at the Camana Bay Sports Field.

The Cayman Islands association staged a women’s event in years past. In 2011, a number of ladies made the decision to form another governing body.

Over the last two years, there has been talk of unifying male and female players again under one group. For flag football stalwarts like former Cayman Islands association vice president Brad Conolly, 2013 is about unity within the sport.

“As a player, seeing as the women are keen on being part of the Cayman Islands association again, I’m looking forward to both associations being under one umbrella again in 2013,” Conolly said. “It makes more sense to play at the same venue on the same day so I hope it happens.”

News of the women’s league comes after Maggie Ebanks and the national women’s team recently helped put on a one-day tournament at the T.E. McField Sports Centre. Dubbed the “Cayman Classic,” the event unveiled an eight-person style of play for women, complete with downfield blocking, which is a departure from the traditional seven-a-side look.

The squad tried that format during a recent international tournament in Florida without success. A host of familiar names took part, including Dionne Whittaker and Carrie Barnett.

The Cayman Classic also catered to the guys, via a nine-man segment organised in large part by flag football stalwart Brendon Malice. Many star veterans participated such as Simon Rivers and Richard Campbell.

At the moment, the Cayman Islands association has two ongoing competitions in its co-ed league, sponsored by Burger King, and its youth league, sponsored by The Security Centre Limited. Co-ed action takes place on Fridays at Ed Bush while youngsters storm the Camana Bay field on Saturdays.

Cayman Classic tackles new style!!!
Mar 13, 2013, 10:45 am

Flag football is showing ladies are far from the weaker sex.

The Cayman Islands Flag Football Association unveiled an eight-man style of play for women, complete with downfield blocking, during its recent one-day tournament at the T.E. McField Sports Centre in George Town.

Dubbed the “Cayman Classic,” the decision to switch from the traditional seven-a-side look to the eight-man style was the brainchild of Maggie Ebanks and the association’s national women’s team. The squad tried out that format during a recent international tournament in Florida without success.

Last Saturday’s competition saw a host of familiar names in the sport, including Dionne Whittaker, Jessica Pawlik and Cassandra Bodden along with multi-sport stars such as Carrie Barnett, Jahzenia Thomas and Sheyla Torres.

Dozens of enthusiasts turned up to see the ladies getting physical. Among them was Joshua Pawlik, who served as the special teams coach for the national women’s squad. Pawlik said it is no surprise they wanted to adopt a tougher version of the sport.

“The girls who went away loved it,” Pawlik said. “They got a feel for an eight-man, full contact format. It’s nothing new in places like Washington, DC, which I feel is the best in the nation as they have a year-round league with 16 teams.”

For the record, the national women’s team competed in the 42nd annual US Flag and Touch League National Flag Football Championships in Kissimmee, Florida earlier this year. Along with the national men’s team, the ladies went winless, losing their first two games and failing to advance past the initial stages.

Pawlik said the untold story behind that was that Cayman was more competitive than the results indicate.

“The girls performed well, they had their moments,” he said. “For example, Alicia Dixon made a beautiful catch and Jessica Pawlik connected with Scimone Campbell on a long touchdown play.

“Losing the first two games didn’t put us in the playoffs but in that second game, we were there to the end. We lost to the Lady Dominators, the best team in their league out of Washington, DC. The first team we lost to was Canada and they had won the championships two years in a row in recent years. They only beat us 12-0. It was close and we had a chance to score at the end.”

The Cayman Classic also catered to the guys, via a nine-man segment organised in large part by flag football stalwart Brendon Malice. Many star veterans participated such as Simon Rivers, Brad Conolly and Richard Campbell.

The tournament comes as the association continues to stage its 2013 coed league. Matches began last month, with week three taking place on Friday, 8 March, at Ed Bush Stadium in West Bay. At 6.30pm, reigning A division champions Child Please! faces Wolverines, while KPMG battle Cayman Auto Diagnostic.

At 7.15pm, Go Flag Yourself! challenge National Building Society, while Burger King squares off with Mourant Ozannes. At 8pm, Duke’s tackle Queensgate, while reigning B division winners Cobras hunt down Weststar.

Builders hammer Go Flag Yourself!
Mar 12, 2013, 9:47 am

The Burger King Co-ed flag football league continued last weekend at the Ed Bush Field, West Bay.

The featured game of the night saw National Building Society hammer Go Flag Yourself 26-13. Game manager QB Christina Hefner was under center and spearheaded 4 scoring drives. She used a variation of misdirection plays out of the same formation, which was unbelievably effective against some undisciplined team defense by Go Flag Yourself. Brendon Malice, Jon Carter and Marvin Gordon each had TDs during the run heavy attack. For Go Flag Yourself, Glenn Duran Jr was back at the helm and had a substandard performance. He was unable to get on the same page with his receivers all game and found himself taking matters into his own hands running for solid but untimely gains. Defensively, Neville Morgan made a spectacular play returning an INT 70 yards for a TD.

In the opening game, Child Please! knocked off the Wolverines 27-12 behind some stout defensive play. Malaqui Awe, Cassandra Bodden, Will Pequero Jr, Perry Levy and Barrett Edri each had INTs propelling the outcome. Offensively, Kevin Solomon put on an aerial display with a 65 yard TD connection with Levy and a 50 yard TD connection with Pequero Jr. For the game, Kevin finished up with 3 passing TDs and 1 vintage 20 yard TD run. For the Wolverines, Jessica Ebanks led the charge once again and had a disappointing performance. She appeared to struggle accessing the closing speed of a man and threw late a few times leading to multiple turnovers. She did, however, put together two judicious drives predominately featuring the quick passing short intermediate game. Tito Solomon and Renford Barnes were her favorite targets on the night with a number of receptions and one TD each.

On the opposite field, Cayman Auto Diagnostics won their second game in a row thumping KPMG 30-8. QB Jessica Cribb directed Cayman Auto and had full command of the offense. She connected with Erin Marshall for two TDs and once with Simon Rivers. Joel Rivers and Thomas McField chipped in with a TD a piece on the ground. For KPMG, QB Jay Robinson had his troops playing hard throughout but their efforts were without avail. He managed to only orchestrate 1 scoring drive hooking up with Andrew Edwards. They will head in to week 4 looking for answers on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, the schedule Gods didn’t do them any favors as they next face the Cobras, being the perceived division favorites.

Mourant Ozannes kicked off the second round of games with an ugly win over Burger King 7-0. Brad Conolly and Jeff Wight shuffled playing QB for Mourant Ozannes in an effort to find the best formula on offense but their attempts came without success. They offset their mediocre offensive play with suffocating defense, highlighted by Phillip Bodden game breaking pick 6. RaShaun Wright caught their lone XTRA point to round out the scoring. For Burger King, the absence of QB Gary Rutty was apparent as his ability to make plays with his legs was sorely missed. Josh Merren filled in admirably but simply was unable to display the same kind of magic as he did in week 1.

In other action, the Cobras kept rolling with a 35-22 victory over a much improved Weststar team. Antoinette Lewis took the majority of snaps for the Cobras and kept the offense on schedule with 3 TDs. Phil Brown, Jason Wong and Rob Duty were her favorite targets on the night, each catching TDs. For Weststar, captain Kevin Morales validated his quote that the team’s play would be better after their dismal effort in week 2. They managed to create a number of good plays on offense and showed more awareness on defense. Statistically, Morales returned an interception for a touchdown and Tim Coulson caught two TDs. They will look to build on their success this week against the Todd Hazlewood led Lone Star team.

In the night capper, Queensgate notched their first victory of the season defeating Duke’s 20-14. Sports enthusiast Dan Hiryok made his season debut at QB for Queensgate and brought some much needed consistency to the position. He completed a number of passes, 1 that resulted in a TD to Nate Narcisse. Narcisse also had a TD pass when he hit Kathy Miller, showing great touch and accuracy. Chester Hurlston ran in their other TD off an interception to seal the win. For Duke’s, Dave Valez took the majority of snaps and had a frustrating outing. His performance suffered at the hands of his receiver's shaky play. Dropped balls in critical situations stalled a number of potential scoring drives.   Building offensive continuity should be their priority during the week as to undergo another lost would hurt their playoff eligibility considerably.  

Congrats to Kevin Solomon of Child Please! and Erin Marshall of Cayman Auto Diagnostics who were the Men’s and Women’s players of the week!

Cayman Auto diagnoses Kirk Freeport!!!
Mar 5, 2013, 10:14 am

The Burger King Co-ed Flag Football League continued action last weekend at the Ed Bush Field, West Bay.

The feature game of the week showcased a tight battle between Cayman Auto Diagnostics and Kirk Freeport. Both teams were coming off tough loses the week before and eager to notch their first win. Cayman Auto would ultimately prove to be the better team on this night behind the lethal arm of Jessica Pawlik. Jessica spearheaded three quality drives resulting in TDs continuing her hot play. For Kirk Freeport, Chris Kirkconnell commanded the huddle and had a solid outing. He threw 2 TD passes, one to Kelly Dawson and the other to their feature receiver Chris Palmer. Final Score 19 – 16

The opening game saw Maples take control of the "A" division with a 20-14 victory over Go Flag Yourself. Richard Campbell once again led the Maples attack coordinating 3 scoring drives. He hit Chris Bennett and Theron Wood for TDs during the course of the game. For Go Flag Yourself, Hong Nguyen took over QB duties for the injured Glenn Duran and had a good performance with 2 TDs. The Maples defense led by David "Baggy" Taylor, would however force a number a key turnovers that ultimately secured the victory.

On the opposite field, Lonestar endured Burger King's persistent attack with a 27-20 victory. Jamie Stephen had 4 TD passes for the second week in a row for Lonestar. 3 of them were to his all-pro receiver Jon Pump. For Burger King, the ageless Gary "Peanut" Rutty was back under center and didn’t show any sign of rust. He threw 3 TD passes, 1 each to Dillon Classens, Sophia Dilbert and Josh Merren.

In other action, Grape Tree Café rebounded from their week one loss with a quality victory over Queensgate. QB Peter Whitaker led the charge for Grape Tree Café connecting with Barron Solomon and Monique Roberts for TDs. Jonathan Whittaker chipped in with 2 INTs on defense. For Queensgate, it was another offensive struggle for the veteran squad led by Taj Haye and Nate Narcisse. They will look to tweak their offensive approach and get off the snide in week 3 against Duke's.

The ensuing game featured a nail-bitter between perennial contenders National Building Society and the enigmatic Wolverines. Brendon Malice and Christina Hefner were the focal points of the National Building Society attack. They both finished up with a TD and Jon "We Play to Win the Game" Carter chipped in with a score of his own to seal the win 13-12. For the Wolverines, QB Jessica Ebanks showed some real promise under the development of fanatic coach Oliver Parker. She connected with Tito Solomon and Jah Thomas throughout the night with each breaking the TD plane once.

In the final game of the night, the most lob sided victory in league history occurred when Mourant Ozannes shellacked Weststar 52-0. It was a statistical outpouring for Mourant Ozannes led by the veteran Brad Conolly with 3TD passes. Shawanna Hera, Brittni Ebanks, Dante Pommells, Phillip Wright, RaShaun Wright and Tonia Ebanks-Mclaughlin each had TDs during the onslaught. For Weststar, it's back to the drawing board for the upstart team led by Kevin Morales. Their mental state took an obvious hit but they seem optimistic heading in to week 3.

Congrats to Jamie Stephen of Lonestar and Jessica Pawlik of Cayman Auto Diagnostics who were the Men’s and Women’s players of the week!

Burger King propels Co-Ed Flag!!!!
Feb 27, 2013, 2:09 pm

The Annual Spring Coed Flag Football League, sponsored by Burger King, returned to action last Friday night at the Ed Bush field, West Bay. Perennial teams such as Maples, Queensgate, and Cayman Auto Diagnostics were on site with a few upstart teams like Kirk Freeport and KPMG aiming to make their mark.

Burger King launched the league with a competitive victory over KPMG. They surprisingly got off to a fast start under the QB reigns of Josh Merren. A rising offensive lineman in the Premier League, Merren flexed his versatility, turning a few heads with his stellar play. He had an impressive 3 TD passes connecting with Dillion Claassens, Tony Coe and Tricia Bell respectively. Sean Moyle and Betsy Smith rounded out the scoring for Burger King with 3 combined XTRA points. For KPMG, QB Jay Robinson showed flashes of brilliance on a number of scoring possessions. He hooked up with Michael Sumares, Andrew Edwards and Steve Taylor for TDs placing their team in striking distance. Unfortunately for KPMG, Burger King was able to make just enough plays on defense to hold on for the win 21-18.

On the opposite field, the reigning “B” division champions “Cobras” found themselves in a surprising battle with newbie’s Kirk Freeport. Veteran stalwarts like Phil Brown, Adrean “Big Sexy” Russell, Alexandria Saintvil and Antoinette Lewis bolstered the Cobras roster whose experience proved to be the difference down the stretch. Adrean had two passing TDs, one to association President Jermaine Sharpe and the other to speedster Jason Wong. The game breaking play however featured a “Flee Flicker” connection between Antoinette and the ageless Rob Duty, which ultimately sealed the game. For Kirk Freeport, it was an impressive performance by a team filtered with first timers. Daniel Kirkconnell made an impression on bystanders with his dual capabilities in the passing and running game. He connected with Chris Palmer and Jerry Beck on a number of occasions sustaining quality drives. Most of his damage however came when he took matters into his own hands and ran for big chunks of yardage. He finished with one TD in the air and one TD on the ground. Final Score 20-13 Cobras.

In ‘A’ division action, team “Go Flag Yourself” beat Duke’s 15-6 particularly with their effort on the defensive side of the ball. Playmaker Glenn Duran was under center for Go Flag Yourself and didn’t disappoint. He threw for two TDs, one to Paul Mcfield and the other to Scimone Campbell. Defensively, Duran chipped in with a SACK and INT and Mcfield rounded out the stats with 2 INTs. For Duke’s, Premier League MVP, Dave “Spanish” Valez and his crew didn’t display the same kind of magic they showed during their finals run last spring. Joanne Remillard was the lone bright spot scoring their only TD. The good news is that it was only week one and with seasoned players such as Matt Bone, Keswick Wright and Lilia Conolly on their roster, many expect them to be in the thick of things come playoff time.

In other action, powerhouse Child Please! picked up where they left off last year with a convincing victory over Grape Tree Café 28-12. Kevin Solomon led the charge and was as sharp as he’s ever been. He made a number of great throws, 4 resulting in TDs. Two were to Perry “BoyWonder” Levy and the others were to Will Pequero Jr and Barrett Edri. Cassandra Bodden also had a great game for Child Please!. She broke the game open with a 40 yard gain eluding a number of potentials tacklers with her patented spin move gaining cheers from bystanders. For Grape Tree Café, Peter Whittaker handled the QB duties and had an inconsistent night. He connected with Andrew Frederick in the first half on a beautiful 60 yard TD and later for a short TD in the dying moments of the game. Barron and Camille Solomon had good outings between the numbers but ultimately their offense lacked continuity that resulted in too many stalled drives.

The ensuing game saw an explosive Maples team throbbed Queensgate 26-6. Most of the attention was placed on Maples huge roster assembled by director of player personnel and head coach Shawn Pitterson. Familiar faces like Richard Campbell, Chris Bennett, David Taylor, Rupert Whittaker, Benecia Thompson and Somali Hall bolstered their roster. Campbell led the Maples charge highlighting his impressive arm strength with repeated 50+ yard throws. Bennett, Whittaker, Jahmai Dunbar and soccer star Theron Wood were the recipients of Campbell’s vertical TD passes. Bennett and Whittaker also chipped in with an INT a piece on defense. For Queensgate, Taj Haye was predominately under center and had a rough debut. With the exception of one scoring drive in the late stages of the game, Taj appeared to struggle mostly with timing and accuracy, missing a number of open receivers. They dug themselves in a hole as a result and couldn’t create any explosive plays to make a game of it. Night scene proverbial entertainers Nate Narcisse, Bryce Webb and Colin “DJ Royal” Bodden together with veteran flaggers like Chester Hurlstone, Gillian Roffey and Heather Roffey rounded out the Queensgate roster.

In the final and most exciting game of the night, the Bulldogs stunned Cayman Auto Diagnostics 27-25 in dramatic fashion. With mere seconds remaining on the game clock, Jamie Stephen connected with Jon Pump, who when pursued by potential tackles threw a lateral pass to his opportunistic teammate Roger Freeman, who ran in for the game winning score. Stephen was superb all game spreading the ball around to his receivers. He finished up with 4TDs, two to Pump, one to Todd Hazlewood and the other to Freeman. For Cayman Auto Diagnostics, Jessica Pawlik had a stellar game. She coordinated a number of great drives, 4 of them resulting in TDs. Her favorite targets on the night were Simon Rivers and her savvy father Robbie Cribb. With the offense playing great, it’s fair to assume that they will spend the week focusing on improving their defense.

Congrats to Josh Merren of Burger King and Scimone Campbell of Go Flag Yourself who were the Men’s and Women’s players of the week!

One-day battle set for March!
Feb 27, 2013, 2:07 pm

Flag football will unveil a new competition in a few weeks.

The Cayman Islands Flag Football Association will be hosting a one-day tournament on 2 March from 11am to 4pm at the T.E. McField Sports Centre in George Town.

The event will feature eight-man and nine-man categories. The association’s eight-man national women’s team came up with the idea for the competition.

News of the event comes as the association launches its 2013 co-ed league on Friday, 15 February. Matches will take place at the Ed Bush field in West Bay.

Last year’s league also saw matches on Friday nights at Ed Bush. In all, 14 teams took part in the league with Kevin Solomon’s Child Please! and Phil Brown’s Cobras emerging the overall winners.

The national women’s team is eager to move on from a disappointing showing at the 42nd annual US Flag and Touch League National Flag Football Championships in Kissimmee, Florida. Along with the national men’s team, the ladies were winless, losing their first two games and failing to advance past the initial stages.

After the co-ed league and one-day tournament, the association intends to shift its attention to the youth league, which starts on Saturday, 16 February, and the national men’s league, which is scheduled for this summer.

With that in mind, the association released a belated list of the top adult performers in 2012. Dave Velez of the Club House Bulldogs has bragging rights as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Perry Levy of the dms Hellcats earned Offensive Player of the Year kudos with teammate Damian Barboram earning Defensive Lineman and Defensive Player of the Year honours.

The Maples Packers produced two elite players as quarterback Barrett Edri earned Rookie of the Year honours, while Andrew Graham was named Offensive Lineman of the Year. Simon Rivers of the Burger King Panthers was named Special Teams Top Performer with Club House’s Josh Parsons earning the Most Improved Player award.

Phil Brown and Levy, playing for the Cobras and Child Please! respectively, were named the B and A division MVPs of the co-ed league. Quarterbacks Chris Lucas (Team USA) and Antoinette Lewis (Team Jamaica) were named the male and female MVPs of the Caribbean Regional Cup, commonly called the I-Cup.

The dms Hellcats toppled Club House to emerge national champs for the fourth straight season and the seventh time in nine years behind Finals MVP Renford Barnes.

Levy, the association’s public relations officer, said the award winners were released late for various reasons.

“The association had initially agreed to hold a single awards ceremony to cover all leagues and tournaments throughout the year rather than the typical ceremony after each event,” Levy said. “It was intended to be a more formal event with sit down dining with special invites to the minister of sports, etc.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to an agreement on how much we should spend on such an event and ultimately decided to scratch it and acclimate the awards ceremony with our Super Bowl party instead,” he added.

The association held a party for Super Bowl XLVII on 3 February at Margaritaville. A raffle was on offer, featuring merchandise for the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.  

There is a $10 registration fee for the one-day tournament. For more information, call 929-9801 or e-mail island8man@gmail.com

9-Man Football Classic & 8-Woman Football Classic
Feb 7, 2013, 10:31 am

Tournaments are in Sharpe focus
Oct 26, 2012, 9:46 am

Flag football in Cayman will end its 2012 campaign with a number of competitions.

Cayman Islands Flag Football Association President Jermaine Sharpe states the group wants to build on the momentum from the national men’s and women’s leagues.

“In early November, we’ll be doing a women’s eight-on-eight tournament and a single elimination Knock-out Cup for the men,” Sharpe said. “Both will run simultaneously over the long weekend around the 12 November Remembrance Day holiday.

“We will then give teams time to recover/recuperate for January next year.”

On the men’s side, all eyes figure to be on Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks and the dms West Bay Hellcats. Dms sealed their fourth straight championship season, their seventh title in nine years, by defeating Josh Parsons and the Club House Bulldogs in the Digicel Summer League finals at the Ed Bush field last month.

For the women, focus turns to Joni Wood and the Burger King Wolverines. Burger King won their first national championship on their second attempt this month by defeating Jessica Pawlik’s Zulu Warriors in the Dart Women’s League finals.

For the likes of Hellcat stalwart Nikolai Hill, news of more competitions only increases his competitive juices.

“I thank the sponsors, from Digicel to dms, who sponsor the sport,” Hill said. “We’re looking for more teams and sponsors to keep it moving.

“As for our team, the defence started the season slow but got it done. It would be popular on our team to pick Perry Levy and Frecko as our stars for making big plays. But I’d give the nod to Damian ‘Beast’ Barboram, who should be Most Valuable Player for the whole league, not just on defence.

“I’m still kind of disappointed in the Burger King Panthers and the Bulldogs being so vocally outspoken going into the league playoffs before they played us. They’ll have to live that down. They got to eat their words and wait until next year. Good luck until next year and better luck to them.”

Last year, flag football wrapped up with a beach football tournament at Royal Palms in December. Sharpe states the association has not ruled out a similar situation for 2012.

“The plan would be to have the beach tournament in late December or early January. Then it’s on to the co-ed league in late March/early April and the summer league.”

Local players recently had a chance to shine on a regional stage by competing in the annual invitational tournament staged by the Bahamas Flag Football League in Nassau, Bahamas. The men’s side lost in the finals while the women’s squad would repeat as tournament winners by going unbeaten.

While most Cayman players loathed the officiating, Bahamian tournament director Jayson Clarke states the event will build off its success in 2013.

“The sport has grown tremendously. We have had a couple of teams who have expressed interest, from the US, to come down next year,” Clarke said. “So plans are already on the way. What we are going to do, to fast that and make sure more teams come, is to publish the event from as early as February.

“The teams that want to come from further away, they can then plan properly and compete. We hope to have a more exciting tournament next year.”

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