In American football one of the most crucial parts of a team is its linemen.
The Goldfield Hellcats of West Bay have long had spectacular linemen and they are a big reason why the Hellcats are a dynasty in local flag football.
Thanks to those underappreciated few the Hellcats beat the Maples Packers 12-0 last Saturday to make it back to the men’s championship game.
For head coach George ‘Teddy’ Hydes West Bay’s success came largely from its big men up front.
‘Once we’re prepared and everyone knows their assignment, our team is ready to play and that showed on Saturday.
‘In spite of a lot of penalties we weren’t rattled and we played our game.
‘Our offensive linemen Barry Bush, Ike Bush and Adrean Russell deserve all the praise. They consistently blocked the opposing linemen and allowed us to run the ball well.
‘Our running backs (including Richard Allen) were the key for us and it came from a total team effort with the blocking.’
In addition to the offensive linemen, the Hellcats saw great play from their defensive linemen (who include Ike Bush and Al Nixon) that halted much of Maples’ running game.
Among those linemen was James Collins, known to most as ‘Cadillac.’
Cadillac talked about his team’s performance on Saturday.
‘We ran the ball a lot and controlled the line of scrimmage. Barry Bush played great with a dislocated shoulder. Our running backs (Richard Allen, Phil Brown and Nate Narcissee) did an excellent job and we did not allow a turnover on offense.
‘The defensive line played together and stopped Maples at key times in the game.
‘We were physical on both sides of the ball and we definitely showed why we should be in the championship game.’
From here the Hellcats take on the Doghouse Bulldogs in the men’s flag final on Saturday.
The stats this season say West Bay should have a slight edge with two head-to-head wins. But both Hydes and Cadillac say their players have to rise to the occasion.
‘Whichever offense prepares the best and whoever executes and wants it most should win,’ Hydes said. ‘Our blocking, running and passing are all things that will help us.
‘If Frecko can step up and play as he did in previous finals then we’ll be in good shape.’
‘Antonio Hanna and Al Nixon need to step up and we need a big game from Festa (Craig Frederick),’ Cadillac said. ‘Festa is our main man on the D-line, period, and we missed him on Saturday.
‘If everyone plays their role and our defense holds on then we should be ok sticking to the game-plan.’
A deciding factor for the Hellcats can be the play of stand-out rookie Rob ‘Dr. Rob’ Bouliane.
The unassuming chiropractor has only been on-island about a year but has made big contributions to the Hellcats.
‘He has been a great addition for us,’ Hydes said. ‘He’s a good candidate for rookie of the year and helped us in a big way.’
‘He’s a key guy on offense,’ Cadillac said. ‘He’s one of the most underrated players in the league.’
Both the Bulldogs and the Hellcats have had many memorable battles over the years and have alternated being in the finals for the last five years.
The history between the two clubs is something both Hydes and Cadillac are ready to embrace.
‘The thing is we’ve had a long, hard season,’ Hydes said. ‘We don’t have trouble getting up for this game. We know what they’re about, we won’t let our guard down and we’re looking forward to winning another championship.’
‘Who beat who in the regular season doesn’t matter because it’s the title game now,’ Cadillac said. ‘It’ll be tough, the score has always been low between us and I expect the same.
‘It’ll be a matter of who keeps their composure. I think we’re the better team though they like to say they are based on the stats.
‘This is a match-up everyone who has followed the league is waiting to see. We’re ready to deliver.’