Young stars steady Panthers

This weekend sees the next major tournament on the flag football scene.

The Caribbean Regional Cup (which takes the place of the International Cup) goes off Saturday and Sunday from 9am through until roughly 5pm.

Expected to take part are flag football players on three regional teams namely Cayman, North America and World (representing all other corners of the globe).

Almost every team will see their players participating and among them is the Burger King Panthers.

The Panthers are coming off an exceptional rookie season in which it grabbed the sixth and final playoff spot (losing to the Hammerhead Pirates in the first round).

Leading the squad throughout the season is one of the league’s biggest weapons Brendon Malice.

The American had another solid season as he was a force on offense as quarterback and on the defensive line.

With the games coming up Malice is busy preparing for North America.

Meanwhile his thoughts are still very much on the recently completed season.

‘I feel the Panthers’ season was a success,’ Malice said. ‘We added another team to the league which is always good. It was good to have some new faces playing.

‘I’m happy that we made it to the playoffs especially as a first year team. We suffered some growing pains as any team does such as injuries and players leaving the island.

‘Overall, I think our team can be satisfied with our performance with the players that we had.’

A number of quality players rose to the fore on the Burger King team such as sure-handed Ryan Smith and agile runner Jonathan Carter.

Smith showed relentless hustle and gained much props for his ability to salvage broken plays. Carter meanwhile showed great patience bursting through running lanes.

Nevertheless Malice named many players behind the Panthers’ success.

‘Everyone on the team stepped up for us this year. Our team played a lot of ‘iron man’ football. We did not have a full team complement at the tail end of the season, which left us with multiple players playing both ways.

‘Jonathan Carter, Ryan Smith, Jermaine Sharp, Chris Allen, Josh Pawlik and Rhod Taylor all were the foundation of the Panthers football team this season. Without the core seven players we would have folded back in June.’