The Cayman Islands Flag Football League will crown a new playoff champion this year as a result of Saturday’s men’s semi-finals played at Camana Bay.
The championship game is all set for tomorrow at 4pm and will feature regular season champions Dog House Bulldogs taking on the young guns Caybrew Farm Soldiers.
Caybrew came up with one of their most disciplined efforts of the year on both sides of the ball to earn a hard fought 19-7 win over defending champs Golding Cayman West Bay Hellcats in the first game of the day.
The teams had split the two previous games earlier this season. Caybrew were led by Luigi Moxam who was 9 of 12 passing with two touchdown passes and no interceptions.
The no interceptions is the key stat as Moxam showed great patience in the pocket checking off receivers and hitting the third or fourth option on a couple of occasions.
Such was the case as he hit Brad Conolly coming across the centre of the Hellcats zone for a 21 yard touchdown that was the difference.
Will Peguero also caught a touchdown pass and Rhys Ebanks scored the other on a lateral off a Conolly interception.
Five different receivers caught passes for the Farm Soldiers as Caybrew exploited the soft centre of the Golding defense.
The Farm Soldiers defense used a complete team effort to shut down the high octane Golding offense. Conolly had a stellar game on the defensive side of the ball as well as six tackles and an interception.
Ranford Barnes had three tackles and an interception while Rhys Ebanks chipped in with an interception as well.
For Golding who were hoping to repeat as champs, Caybrew seemed to be one step ahead of them at every turn and shut down their drives all day.
The game was close and Golding were driving when Connolly intercepted and he and Ebanks combined on the final score.
Frecko Ebanks had a so-so day at the helm going 9 of 17 with one touchdown pass and three interceptions for the Hellcats.
Colin Anglin caught the lone Golding scoring toss. Perry ‘Boy Wonder’ Levy who has been the go to guy all year for Golding was kept off the score sheet and only had two receptions all day.
On the defensive side of the ball Craig ‘Festa’ Federick had his best day in a long while recording four tackles and sacking Moxam three times.
Levy had four tackles for the Hellcats. Golding playing without Coach ‘Teddy’ Hydes who was called away on personal matters were obviously disappointed with their performance and the outcome and have vowed they will be back next year to try and reclaim their title.
In the second semi-final Dog House escaped into the final with a narrow 7-6 victory over the Hammerheads Pirates.
The margin of victory came from the rarest of sources as Dylan Claasens ran back an interception off a one point convert try.
The 77 yard romp for a single point made the score 6-1 for Hammerheads and no one at the Dart Field realized just how important this one point would become.
These two teams have played even all year with both their previous encounters being close as well.
The last one going into overtime with Dog House prevailing. This game was no different as Hammerheads held the 6-1 lead until deep in the second half.
The lone Dog House touchdown came late in the game and was the result of a pass interference call against Hammerhead’s Ranfor Welcome in the end zone.
He had his hands wrapped around Drew Kozlow’s waist as the ball was in the air to draw the flag. The pass was catch able and the referee had to rule a touchdown.
Hammerheads had the ball with just over two minutes to play and were in Dog House territory but the Bulldogs defense came up big on four consecutive plays to turn the ball over to their offense who ran the clock out for the win.
Johnny Mack was steady at the helm for Dog House completing 11 of 19 passes with one touchdown pass and one interception.
The touchdown toss was of course the ruled touchdown. Phil O’Connor and Sean Moyle were the favourite targets as they both pulled in five receptions.
The Dog House offense are going to have to protect their QB a little better come next week as Hammerheads had their way with the Dog House offensive line recording 8 sacks.
For the vaunted Dog House defense Leif Ristimaki led the way with three sacks and four tackles.
Bobby Aitkenhead had two interceptions for Dog house to help out as the defense as they have all year shut the door when they needed to.
Todd Hazlewood was the straw that stirred the drink for the defense as he adjusted after the Hammerheads score to throw a shut out the rest of the way.
For Hammerheads who were the best team in the league over the second half of the schedule, the defense were the stars of the game.
They kept the Dog House offense off the score sheet save for the pass interference call.
They chased Mack out of the pocket time and time again and sacked him eight times. Baron Solomon had a big game for Hammerheads as he sacked Mack three times and recorded three tackles as well.
Solomon has been a big part of the success of the Pirates as he is one of the top pass rushers in the league and showed it on Saturday.
Courtney Wisdom had a strong game as well constantly in Mack’s face.
Brendon Malice picked off a pass for the defense also. For the offense Donny House was steady going 9 of 18 in the passing department with one touchdown pass and two interceptions including the one on the convert.
Selkirk Watler caught the lone touchdown toss and had three receptions total. Hammerheads will hopefully be able to retain the nucleus of their team and pick up right where they left off next year.
The first semi-final on the ladies side saw a mini upset as the Hammerheads Lady Pirates put together a very solid effort to earn a trip to the inaugural championship game.
They picked the perfect time to have their best game of the season and defeat the favoured Digital Design Storm 20-12.
Hammerheads followed coach Brendon Malice’s game plan to the letter and using ball control and a hawkish defense controlled the game from the outset.
Lisa Malice was steady and controlled in leading the offense; she has improved each time out since taking the reins from injured Ali Amos. Malice completed 12 of 17 passes with two touchdown tosses and no interceptions.
Amos chipped in on some option plays completing three passes and rushing for a score. Hong Nguyen and Christine Bisnauth each had touchdown receptions to round out the Hammerheads scoring parade.
The defense was superb for the Lady Pirates as the whole unit led by Dionne Whittaker, Eleanor Berry and Nguyen shut down the quicker Digital Design offense.
Hammerheads limited the usually high powered Storm offense to just four receptions.
In fact, Latoya Cover, the leading receiver for the Storm was kept off the score sheet altogether.
Drew Dhanraj completed only 4 of 16 passing for Digital Design with two touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Sahana Vaidya and Scimone Campbell each had a touchdown catch for Digital Design.
If not for the Digital Design defense the score could have been much worse. Campbell led the defense with seven tackles and one sack.
Bobeth O’Garro, Kimberly Smith and Danielle Robinson all had three tackles each for the Storm who had a great year but are going to have to wait until next season to try and claim the top prize.
Hammerheads will play in the championship game Saturday 3:00p.m. at Camana Bay against the still undefeated Walkers Wonders who crushed Burger King 32-6.
Walkers, as they have all year, moved the ball consistently and rode the arm of Jordana Clarke to the championship game.
Walkers scored early in the game Saturday and the rest was academic after that. Clarke was 10 of 19 passing and hooked up with Krishan Welcome and Rachelle Peterson for two touchdown passes each.
Clarke missed Dionne Anglin on a few long routes that could have made the score higher had Dionne’s fingers been just an inch longer.
Welcome and Peterson combined to catch all of the completions. On the defensive side Welcome had two tackles while Malaqui Lovinggood and Sophy Broad each had four tackles while Isatou Sey had three tackles and an interception.
Burger King seemed resigned to the fact they were not going to challenge the Wonders and seemed to be on cruise control most of the game.
Stephanie Watler started at QB for Burger King and she completed 7 of 18 passing.
She hooked up with Laurie Webster for a score late in the first half and had an interception as well.
Tenecia Ebanks had four receptions for the Buccaneers. Cassandra Bodden led the defense with four tackles and Jonelle Campbell chipped in with two.
Burger King had a very successful year and have the nucleus and athletic ability to challenge the top teams again next year.
Tomorrow’s games should be great contests. The women’s kick it off at 3pm and the men immediately after. Awards ceremony and social will take place at the Dog House at 7pm.