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Burger King grill Hurricanes
Jun 29, 2012, 11:23 am

Week two of the Digicel 2012 Men’s Summer League saw compelling match-ups at the Ed Bush Field in West Bay.

Cayman’s premier male flag football competition saw the reigning champs stay unbeaten while a promising contender stayed among the undefeated ranks. The feature game of the week was a rematch of last year’s finals as the dms Hellcats and Cox Colts faced off and delivered a playoff-type game.

Cox jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with an impressive opening drive which almost seemed scripted. Led by veteran quarterback Kevin Solomon, the Colts had a good balance of power runs and short passes. The result was an easy walk-in touchdown by Chester Hurlston. After the failed extra point attempt by the Colts, the Hellcats offense trotted on to the field.

Six-time champion QB Jacob “Frecko” Ebanks had the Hellcats stick to their traditional balanced approach. Phil Brown was the featured running back and behind the stellar offensive line of Adrean Russell, Barry Bush and Ronaldo Garcia he was able to pick up chunks of positive yards throughout.

This forced the Colts defence to squeeze up tighter to the line of scrimmage, putting more pressure on their defensive backs. The Hellcats immediately took advantage with an over the top 40-yard TD connection between Frecko and Perry “Boy Wonder” Levy tying the game at the half.

The second half would be one-sided as the Hellcats, who have newcomers like Tito Solomon, unleashed Damien “Beast” Barboram. He was in the back field most of the game and finished with a number of tackles and three sacks. The Colts offense while Frecko connected with Boy Wonder for their second TD late, which turned out to be the game-winning score as dms prevailed 13-6.

Burger King would also end their Saturday 2-0 after nipping the Power Sports and Marine Hurricanes 13-6. For Burger King, upstart QB Chris Lucas put together a quality debut completing eight of 12 passes with two TDs and no turnovers. Turnovers proved to be the difference as Hurricanes QB Glenn Duran had three picks. Nigel Solomon scored the lone TD for the Hurricanes, who seem to have the moxie but need to improve in a number of areas. Steve Ebanks rounded out the scoring for Burger King.

The Club House Bulldogs got their first win of the season with a solid outing against the vastly improved PWC Ironmen 25-6. For Club House, QB duties were split between Dave Velez and Luigi Moxam as there appears to be a competition for the starting job taking place. Both QBs orchestrated solid scoring drives. Jon Harvey, Josh Parsons, Brooklyn Earick rounded out the scoring for Club House, who face Cayman Power Sports and Marine next.

For PWC, Chris LeBeau connected with Paul Chisholm for their only score of the day. The Ironmen will now look to get off the snide against Cox in week three.

Ed Bush will host all week three matches this Saturday, 30 June. At 1.30pm, the Hurricanes face Club House, at 2.45pm PWC battle Cox and at 4pm the Maples Packers face the Hellcats.

Aside from the competition, fans can expect loads of giveaways and half-time festivities orchestrated by Digicel. The telecommunications company has sponsored the league for $6,000. The weekly match activities will give spectators the opportunity to win vouchers, free credit and handsets.

At the official opening of the league this month, three fans were randomly selected from the crowd and given the chance to kick a field goal in an attempt to win a Samsung Galaxy SII.

For Digicel Cayman’s Marketing Manager Sharez Laws, the partnership is a long time in the making.

“We have been working on establishing a relationship with the flag football association for a year now,” Laws said. “We did a few activities together in 2011 and recognized so much potential in the sport and its players. We are committed to working with the members of the board to not only assist with the existing league but also bring it to its full potential.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the experience this year a bigger, better and of course an unforgettable one for both players and patrons.”


Hellcats will feast on Ironmen
Jun 17, 2012, 7:55 pm

The Cayman Islands Flag Football Association officially kicks off the 2012 Digicel Summer League this Saturday, at 1:30pm at the Ed Bush Field in West Bay.

Game one of the afternoon features last year’s defending champions the DMS West Bay Hellcats in their first test against quarterback Chris LeBeau and the PWC Ironmen.

The Hellcats are hungry for their fourth championship in a row, which would be their seventh in 10 years and yet another chapter in the West Bay dynasty. The Hellcats are led by last season’s Most Valuable Player, QB Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks, as well as strong veteran core featuring Phil Brown, Kevin Maxwell and Nikolai Hill. PWC hope to start off fast as LeBeau and the Ironmen are a much improved team and ready to give their proven foes a run for their money.

Following the opener is a 2:45pm match up between the newly sponsored Club House Bulldogs and the star-filled Burger King Panthers. The match-up promises to be a showdown between two premier offensive teams. The Panthers sport stars such as offseason addition Chris Lucas as starting quarterback, all-purpose star Simon Rivers and crafty veteran Brendon Malice.

Opposing them on the Bulldogs is last year’s offensive player of the year Jon Pump, captain Todd Hazelwood and sporadic hurler Luigi Moxam.

After the shoot-out comes a tussle between last year’s finalist the Cox Colts and the rejuvenated Maples Packers at 4pm. This is by far the most interesting match up of the day, as the Colts are in a mad-hunt for the league title while the Packers sport a roster full of young emerging stars and experienced veterans out to prove to the rest of the league that they are a force.

The Packers have many intriguing players such as emerging star wide receiver Chris Bennett, nimble running back Jordan Cacho and first-year quarterback Barrett Edri. Out to short-circuit the Packers’ hopes for a fast start are the Colts, featuring the likes of cornerback and running back Brad Conolly, Dave ‘Old Man’ Nielsen and wily quarterback Kevin Solomon.

The day promises to display loads of riveting action and story lines with offensive battles raging, teams aiming to meet expectations and the juggernaut Hellcats taking stock of the competition.

League matches continue next Saturday, 23 June, from 1.30pm at Ed Bush. Regular season games will take place every Saturday into July, August and September with the playoffs starting on 22 September.

The Cayman Islands Flag Football Association officially kicks off the 2012 Digicel Summer League this saturday, 1:30pm at the Ed Bush Field in West Bay.


Packers tackle new expectations
Jun 11, 2012, 4:55 pm

 

The Maples Packers didn’t have the most successful of seasons last year, their efforts only amounting to two wins, leaving them with a lot of work to be done in the offseason.

However, head coach Shawn Pitterson feels that all of the necessary changes and more have been made.

“There’s no doubt we struggled last year, but we’ve made some new additions, structured the team better and our defence is much improved,” Pitterson said. “I’m very excited to compete this season.”

Shawn blamed much of last year’s disappointment on their lack of preparation.

“We didn’t prepare properly and our preseason workouts were few and far between.”

Football is a game of preparation, you have to know your team and what they’re capable of in order to get the best out of their ability. A team that’s not prepared is not a team with a bright future.

Veteran wide receiver Rupert Whittaker is one of the league’s more entertaining players. He is among the returning cast excited for the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association 2012 Digicel Summer League.

“Watch out for the Packers this year, man,” Whittaker stated. “We did horribly last year, but we’ve added some key new guys, put in a huge offensive line and things look very good.”

The Packers offense has definitely been bolstered by the new line featuring the likes of former Calabash Soldier Andrew Graham. With that, Whittaker states, the expectations for the season have grown.

“We’re going to be at least three games over .500 this year and it’s a huge possibility we’ll make it to the finals.”

Emerging star wide receiver Chris Bennett also has high expectations for the year ahead.

“We’re definitely poised for a championship run, we’ve improved both our defence and offensive lines and added a steady quarterback,” Bennett said. “We added some experienced players and some fresh legs.” Perhaps his most meaningful quote was his also his shortest: “we’re definitely a threat. Definitely.”

Helping to boost expectations are the influx of new, experienced talents like wide receiver/safety Leslie Harvey, linebacker/defensive end George Bustillo, tight-end/linebacker William Peguero Jr and linebacker Edison Jackson. All are former Calabash Soldiers and figure to guide young talents like Nicholas Roberts.

Pitterson is blooming with confidence after building his team with a championship pedigree.

“This season we’ve made huge strides already. We’ve been training for two months and our team looks great. We’ve added a lot of athleticism to the squad and with the veteran leadership we’ve brought in, our future looks very bright.”

The Packers are in a condensed league for 2012, with seven squads suiting up as opposed to the eight sides that played in 2011. Only the top four make the playoffs and Pitterson is confident in a postseason berth.

“We have new members with lots of experience, we have a lot of smart players and some of the younger guys are learning very fast. Our mixture of veterans and athletic ability has got our sights set on playing for a championship.”

The Packers are a changed team, with talent across the board and a very engaged head coach. The Packers’ potential seems immeasurable with no shortage of talent on the offensive end, like Whittaker and star running back Jordan Cacho. New quarterback Barrett Edri has a revamped receiving core with Bennett being a deep threat and Peguero leading the charge.

Peguero is used to a leadership role from his days with Calabash last season and spoke about the transition to a new team.

“Me and a couple other of the Calabash guys bring a lot of experience with us to Maples,” Peguero said. “This team is full of young and exciting talent and with the right leadership we could go very far.”

Peguero is a veteran in the league, being a player since 2004. However, he feels no pressure with his new squad.

“I don’t feel any pressure to try and be a leader, my aim is to just contribute in any way I can and lead by example.”

Peguero’s mind-set at this stage in the game is to just try and fit into the Maples system. He spoke about respecting a new team and just doing his part to try and translate talent into wins during the season.

“We have the personnel and the drive, we just need to work hard, do our parts in practice and everyone needs to contribute across the board. I’m just going to do my part and contribute in any way I can, whether that’s defensively or offensively.”

With veteran leadership from Peguero, young and exciting talent like Bennett, Maples are sure to blossom throughout the course of the regular season.

The Packers have undoubtedly had a very productive offseason, the necessary changes have been made and the expectations are through the roof. Only time will tell whether or not their new and improved squad will rise to the challenge or crumble under newfound pressure.


Jamboree shows West Bay talent
Jun 8, 2012, 8:24 am

The annual Cayman Islands Flag Football Association’s Jamboree took place last Saturday at the Ed Bush field in West Bay.

It was a huge success as full teams turned out along with family and friends as games were played back-to-back for some five hours. The matches, featuring male players, served as the official start of the 2012 Digicel Summer League.

Squads such as Maples and the newly-formed Dart Hurricanes turned out and showcased talents such as Rupert Whittaker and Nigel Solomon. Association president Jermaine Sharpe stated the day couldn’t have gone better.

“The jamboree went really well, it was a good turnout from teams and fans, there were a lot of different looks and the competition looked good 
across the board.”

The jamboree gave teams a chance to evaluate themselves while scrimmaging against each other. It gave teams an opportunity to evaluate starters and defensive/offensive schemes and discover their identities, as well as tweaking things before the season starts next Saturday, 16 June. For the record, the reigning champion Hellcats kick off the year against the PWC 
Ironmen at 1pm.

Association vice president Brad Conolly had this to say, “All the teams looked really even at the jamboree, no one team stood out. That means there won’t be any dominating teams this year and competition improves across the board, which is really good for the league.

“The league this year is going to be very competitive, only four teams make the playoffs in contrast to the usual six so teams are going to playing extra hard throughout the season.”

Teams were able to understand the new rule changes and, as Sharpe states, they got a first look at kicking field goals (a new addition to the game).

“We weren’t originally planning to run field goals, but the guys wanted to try it and feel it out and it turned out well. Going forward I hope people continue to come out to support and sign up to play the game, we still have guys calling in now to play but it’s just 
too late.

“We’re all for new teams coming out, so next year we expect a lot more people to sign up and a couple new teams to join too.”

Flag football has become arguably the fastest growing sport in Cayman. With the regular season starting next weekend at Ed Bush, the fan base is expected to be large and grow in the coming weeks.


Fresh Pirates will plunder their foes
Jun 7, 2012, 12:20 pm

 

The Hammerheads Pirates had a semi-successful year last season, making the playoffs but losing out in the first round to the Calabash Soldiers, a bitter end to an otherwise promising year.

Jimel McLean, last year’s starting centre, said that last year’s team had issues closing games.

“We didn’t have too much time to get to know one another and build chemistry last season, it’s like we would fall apart under pressure,” McLean said. “But this year, we’ve been working extremely hard with the new group and things look good.”

The Pirates have now changed their team name to the Dart Hurricanes and have added some new, major pieces to their team. With those additions, McLean states their expectations for 2012 season has significantly risen.

“We realistically expect to make it to the finals this year. We’ve got high expectations for the new group and we’re excited for the start of the season.”

Among the new additions are head coach Johann Moxam, veteran quarterback Glenn Duran Jr, Peter Whittaker, Brian Moxam Jr, Troy and Boris Brady. The team’s sudden influx of players came as a result of the Calabash Soldiers not having the sponsorship to continue as a team in 2012, thus leaving many players out of a team.

“There were sponsorship issues,” last year’s sponsor/player Selkirk Watler said. “Players started leaving because of the uncertainty and we decided to sit down and discuss a potential merger involving some members of the Soldiers with the Pirates.

“The Pirates were lacking in players too so it was a good fit. Our team this year is full of experience, a lot of the guys have matured and we’re more than ready for a deep playoff run.”

Last year’s sponsor, Hammerheads Brew Pub and Grill, pulled their name out of the mix and the team went a different direction. The Pirates, initially, were unable to find a sponsor until recently when Dart gave them the nod.

“This years Pirates are a new team, we’ve revamped the roster, we’re getting new uniforms, found new sponsorship and changed our name to the Hurricanes,” Johann Moxam said. “We’re looking forward to a fresh start and so far it’s been working out. We look very good.”

Both the Hurricanes and the former Calabash Soldiers have taken an otherwise bleak situation and turned it into a positive. They’ve added new veterans along with exciting rookies, team-speed has increased and the overall skill has significantly risen.

Among all the offseason and off-field confusion, the team that has been assembled for on the field action looks quite impressive. Former full-tackle football players have been added to the offensive line, players with great hands and lots of speed have joined.

Household Pirate names such as Smarnell Thomas (a wide receiver) and Neville Morgan (running back and a defensive end) are still on the team. The newly named Hurricanes are no slouches, they’ve got a talented roster and all seem to feed off the motivation of having disappointing seasons last year.

The team and coaches all have something to prove: that they can overcome the distractions and put together a championship season despite sponsorship issues and a revamped roster.

“Our team this year is full of experience, a lot of the guys have matured and we’re more than ready for a deep playoff run.”


Fragmented Soldiers stand down
Jun 7, 2012, 12:19 pm

The Calabash Soldiers had a great season last year, coming up one win short of a finals appearance and a chance at a championship. But last season’s success didn’t translate over into 2012. 

Last year’s player/sponsor Sean Moyle, who has been a wide receiver/cornerback for the last two years, commented on last year’s disappointing finish.  

“The team last year was a really good team. We started to pull together at the end of the season,” Moyle said. “We gave West Bay a run for their money for a little while in our playoff game. Once again, West Bay pulled it off at the end. It was a good team and we were gelling at the end.”  

But things haven’t seemed to pan out as he had hoped over the course of the offseason. Former head coach of the Soldiers, Johann Moxam, left the team to go coach the Hammerheads Pirates (now named the Dart Hurricanes); bringing with him six Soldier players, leaving the Calabash squad depleted.  

When asked about the change of scenery, Moxam said this: “I wanted a fresh start, we had sponsorship issues over the course of the offseason and I decided to take the Pirates opportunity when it presented itself.” 

Sean Moyle had an interesting perspective on the matter, “I was planning to sponsor the Calabash team again. I’m not playing this year, I’m retired, I’m too old for flag football.”  

There appears to be a lack of communication between the sponsor and coaches of the former Soldiers and their players. In any matter Moyle sounded like he was still willing to sponsor a Calabash team if he can put one together. 

There is no denying, however, that the Soldiers might have broken up, the team has been depleted and players have moved on. The Calabash Soldiers have had their fair share of off-field drama, however, Moyle doesn’t seem to have been informed on the current Soldier situation, “I had one practice with Johann, with the Pirates team. Other than practicing with the Hammerheads team, I’m not sure what’s going on. I’m told the core Soldiers guys like Leslie Harvey, Will Peguero and Edison Jackson have moved to Maples.” Moyle practiced with the Pirates on one occasion for a little bit of fun, not knowing, perhaps, that the team had actually absorbed the players he had known as his own. 

Star player Will Peguero (tight end/linebacker) is one of the former Calabash players who has moved to Maples. He had this to say about his old team: “Me and a couple other guys wanted to start something new. A couple other of the guys had already moved on to different teams and we didn’t want to start recruiting more players.”  

Peguero went on to say that there are no hard-feelings or animosity between any of the former Calabash players and coaches.  

“We’re all still friends, and it wasn’t anything to do with a disagreement or any controversy. A couple guys had even left the island so the team was depleted. But, to as far as my knowledge, there isn’t going to be a Calabash team this season.” 

Last week, the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association removed Calabash from the list of squads playing in its men’s league, which is being called the 2012 Digicel Summer League. Moyle later confirmed the move.  

“Calabash does not have a team this year. I was willing to sponsor but not to play, I’m retiring from the game.”  

The Calabash squad, it seems, was unable to overcome the lack of players and sudden departure of its stars and its former head coach. Moyle states there are no hard feelings.  

“I don’t despise anyone. Johann has been in this league a long time. He’s one of the best coaches we have and coaches are a necessary part of any team. I have no problems with him.”  

After having a successful season last year, the Soldiers have fallen off the map. Unfortunately, as Moyle states, there’s no timetable for their return and at this point it remains unclear whether they will ever return.  

“The Calabash Soldiers are not going to be a part of the flag football association.” 


PWC Ironmen hunting for respect
Jun 4, 2012, 9:34 pm

Last year the Ironmen had a shaky season, winning only two games but losing close games throughout the course of the year. Not through a lack of talent or a lack of heart, the ball just didn’t seem to bounce their way when things mattered most.

This year, however, seems to be a different story. New pieces have been added to the mix to compliment the veterans they’ve kept and things seem to be looking on the upside as the season start nears.

“We’ve got some older guys,” star player Jason ‘Cadillac’ Collins said, “but they still have a love for the game and play hard, with the additions of some younger talent we’re looking to really improve this year.”

The Ironmen won only twice last year, but with these new additions they’re hopeful to at least double their win tally, “We’re aiming for at least five wins this year and hopefully the playoffs.”

Cadillac went on to say, “We’ve got stars on our team, Antonio Hannah plays both sides of the ball and our quarterback Chris Lebeau is ready for an offensive explosion.”

The Ironmen have high hopes this season, they’ve put the past behind them and are ready to take the league by storm. The team is full of veterans who are ready to lead their new young talent, “There’s no reason at all we can’t compete, we lost a lot of close games last year but we’ve improved into a very competitive team.”

Quarterback Chris Lebeau feels the same sort of optimism his defensive star portrays, “We’ve recruited younger, more athletic players and coupling that with our vets, things look good this year.”

Lebeau went on to say, “We’re a lot stronger than last year, we’re much more athletic and effective offensively and we’re definitely aiming for a playoff berth.”

The Ironmen are a close-knit squad, putting fun before anything else, “We have great team-mates and we all have fun, we all enjoy each others company and playing together.”

Perhaps, the chemistry the Ironmen have will lead to results and wins on the field. Having a strong veteran presence goes a long way when teaching newcoming youngsters how to play the game properly or teaching them how to play Ironmen football. With the already high chemistry the team shares, it could easily equate to a great season of improvement and surprises for the PWC Ironmen.


Colts stampeding for revenge
May 31, 2012, 10:59 am

 

The Cox Colts had a surprisingly successful season last year, considering it was their first time being a member of the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association. They made it all the way to the championship game, just being edged out by the West Bay Hellcats in the final moments of the contest.

Despite the loss, it left the Colts feeling very good about themselves going into the offseason. Dave Nielsen, the sponsor and member of the Colts roster, feels very good about the Colts chances this year, “We had a really exciting year last year, making it all the way to the finals was awesome and we’re excited to make it back there this year.”

The Colts addressed the weaknesses in their team in the secondary (defence) and their offensive line. “We’ve added a lot of size to our offensive line, and we brought in Richard ‘Stiffler’ Campbell as a safety so we definitely think we’ve improved.”

Along with their key veteran additions, they added some new young talent improving the team’s speed. Cornerback/wide receiver Brad Conolly commented on the new additions, “Our team looks a lot better, along with the new talent we’ve also implemented an offensive coordinator so our quarterback doesn’t have to worry about calling plays, just executing them.”

Conolly also commented on the team coming together last season, “We were a new squad, we just kept working on our chemistry and things came together at the right time and we made a run.”

The Colts were a rookie team and enjoyed a lot of success, leaving a lot of good feelings amongst key contributors like QB Kevin Solomon, running back Chester Hurlston and second string QB/cornerback Taj Haye. Their finals loss, however, does not sit well with the players and coaches. In spite of their surprise success, they’re a very motivated team.

“We’ve built on our success from last year,” Conolly said, “Our expectations are one-step further than we were a season ago: a championship.”

His team is definitely poised as the Colts sport a slew of star players such as last season’s leading touchdown receptionist in tight end Rhys Ebanks and star wide receiver Andrew Frederick.

The Cox Colts are a force to be reckoned with, improving on last season’s roster and making strengths out of their previous weaknesses. There’s no doubt that this is an improved team and are going to play a much higher quality of football. Their rookie season amounted to a second place finish but perhaps their sophomore year will see the ultimate prize become theirs to own: a 
championship trophy.

“Our expectations are one step further than we were a season ago: a championship.”

BRAD CONOLLY


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