It has been a lengthy season for local flag football.
The men’s and women’s league started in July and are just entering their playoff stages this month.
In just its second season of existence the women’s league has been fiercely contested with teams jockeying for playoff position through the twelve weeks.
All have their eyes set on the title, which was won in its inaugural year by the now defunct Hammerhead Lady Pirates.
With the playoffs starting soon the time has come to draw attention to some of the better players.
In particular it is only fitting to look at the five women who have made the biggest impact at quarterback, receiver, on defense and on the league overall.
One of the most controversial and important parts of a football team at any level is the quarterback.
All the lady QBs in Cayman flag football deserve props for being two-way players. It’s no secret most have notable roles on defense and/or special teams in addition to being the chief play-caller.
However the five who get the big-ups from this reporter are Ali Amos, Jordana Clarke, Lisa Malice, Lisa Juaneza and Christina McTaggart.
Amos is the epitome of a mobile quarterback. She thrives outside of the pocket and making throws on the run.
Her field vision is exceptional and is a chief reason why her Zulu’s Warriors had just one loss during the regular season while scoring the second-most points in the league (231).
Amos played a starring role in guiding the Lady Pirates to the championship and thus far seems on course for another title game appearance.
Most likely standing in Amos’ way is Jordana Clarke and the powerhouse Walkers Wonders team.
Clarke only conceded one loss this season under centre for Walkers and made a brilliant follow-up on her undefeated regular season last year.
The biggest weapon for Clarke is her accurate arm as she can launch 60 yard bombs downfield at the flick of a wrist, whether she is in or out of the pocket.
Another accurate QB is Lisa Malice who captains the young Ace Paint and Decors Lady Panthers side.
Malice is no stranger to the world of flag football. Her husband Brendon has been one of the better players in the local men’s league for years and last season she lead the game-winning drive for the Lady Pirates in the final.
Her ability to hit receivers without staring them down is fantastic and most times she puts the ball where her receivers can make a play.
On the other hand Lisa Juaneza thrives on running wild for big gains with the DMS Dynamitez.
She may not be the fastest or the most agile but she loves putting pressure on the defense.
All of her scrambling and Michael Vick-like runs open up the passing game and helps dart the ball down field.
One of the more under-rated QBs in the league is Christina McTaggart of the Andro-Killa Watts.
McTaggart, who also plays netball on occasion, has her faults in that she can throw more than her fair share of picks.
But she is a fearless arm-slinger who will keep pounding the ball to her spots until her wide-outs make a play.
Speaking of receivers all have a great role to play. No matter how much talent a QB has that person is nothing if receivers don’t catch the ball.
Five lady receivers who make their quarterbacks look good are Krishan Welcome, Cassandra Bodden, Christina Bisnauth, Keisha Terry and Emily Vaka’uta.
Simply put Welcome is arguably the key piece of the Wonders team.
Her success boils down to concentration, speed and agility. Welcome runs her routes well and seems to always put herself in the right spot to catch passes.
Once she catches the ball then she showcases her amazing speed. From there she thwarts tacklers with her spins and dekes that allow her to slip through defenders’ hands.
Cassandra Bodden certainly can boast the same attributes but adds amazing hands to the mix.
There is hardly a ball that gets thrown her way that she drops. She also has great leaping ability as she can just as easily jump for balls as she can snatch them on a post route.
Sometimes her focus can wonder or her emotions can take over but she is certainly one of the best.
Right behind her is Christina Bisnauth of the Zulu’s Warriors.
Where Bisnauth really shines is on ‘broken plays.’ Any time the defense thinks it has a sack or has the quarterback cornered Bisnauth is not far off running with the QB.
Once she gets the ball her open-field agility takes over as she often tags on tons of yards after catches.
A lot of things make Keisha Terry stand out for the DMS Dynamitez.
First of all she has great presence. She is taller than most of her defenders and is physically imposing.
Unlike the girls ahead of her she doesn’t depend much on dekes, spins and the rest.
Terry is an old-school receiver who is all about making the catch and challenging defenders.
One of the most under-rated receivers in the league is Emily Vaka’uta of the Maples Touchdown Divas.
The team may have had the worst record in the league but it was not because of Emily and her adept receiving skills.
Emily emerged as one of the better wide-outs this year thanks to sure hands, being on the same page as her quarterback and helping out on broken plays.
Though she may lack speed and agility she makes up for it by doing the little things right.
Receivers have a tough time making plays in large part because of tons of effort on the defensive end.
In particular Dionne Anglin, Hortencia Jackson, Annice Callaghan, Cassandra Bodden and Keisha Terry have created many headaches for opposing coaches.
Anglin has many aspects in her favour for the Hammerhead Lady Sharks.
She has great height that allows her great field vision and the ability to anticipate and jump routes.
She has great hands that can wrestle balls out of receivers’ hands and can snag balls for interceptions.
Moreover she has superb quickness that translates in her ability to stick with most receivers and make sure-handed tackles.
Toss in the fact that she is a multi-sport star and you have one of the biggest forces on defense.
The Zulu’s Warriors have a true gem in Hortencia Jackson.
Not only is she a beauty queen off the field but on the field she has an equally pretty game.
Calculated tackles, agile interceptions and timely rushes are all staples of her game.
She might not be able to stay with some of the faster receivers but she can sure put pressure on the QB.
Jackson is a big reason why the Warriors have a chance to beat Walkers in the coming weeks.
A highly under-rated defender is young Annice Callaghan of the Andro Killa-Watts.
The Irish native is one of the impressive rookies in the sport but her tackling looks like veteran skill.
The Killa-Watts have had their struggles this year but the stats show Callaghan had a notable presence on defense.
With Callaghan’s help the squad allowed the third fewest points (144) during the regular season.
Cassandra Bodden and Keisha Terry are also among the better defenders in the league.
Both make more than their fair share of plays and can lock down most opposing receivers.
With all those great players in the mix it’s hard to say who could be or should be the MVP.
There can be arguments for Cassandra Bodden and Christina Bisnauth whose athletic prowess links directly to their team’s winning records.
Then again Ali Amos and Jordana Clarke deserve a mention as they’re the two best at arguably the most important position.
However this reporter looks beyond the wins and thinks Keisha Terry deserves the nod.
Her abilities and prowess on both sides of the ball are game-changers for DMS and it’s only the team’s inconsistent play that works against her.