Moxam: Soldiers will crush all

They behave like jokers, laughing
and teasing before and after the game – and sometimes during it – yet their
record suggests that they are as serious as cancer when it comes to winning
flag football games.

The Hellcats are always the most
likely champions, of course, and Doghouse Bulldogs are never too far off the
pace, but it’s the inconsistent Calabash Soldiers who most intrigue out of all
the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association teams.

Their coach Johann Moxam has no
doubts the Soldiers can march all the way to the championship this season. “Our
season has been going really well thus far and one of our goals was to put
ourselves in a position whereby Calabash are challenging for the top spot and
are feared yet respected by the rest of the league,” he says. “At 6-1, we are
having fun, winning games and are a real team who are committed to each other.
However, we have yet to really find our rhythm and consistency on both sides of
the ball. We are getting closer and continue to work hard so we expect to
finish strong.

“We have a strong team spirit, good
vibes, plenty of laughs and the guys have prepared properly all season long
starting in the preseason so I’m not surprised by our record so far. Calabash
Soldiers are built to win it all in 2010. Our strength is having great
individual players in key areas who sacrifice and put the team first and are totally
focused on winning.”

Moxam is pleased that Will Peguero
is having an outstanding season and in his view is the best linebacker and
defensive player in the league. “Pete Whittaker is a linebacker and wide
receiver who has really stepped up and is letting his play do all the talking
too this,” adds Moxam. “His confidence and performance have improved every
week. Glenn Duran, our quarterback, has settled into the starting QB role and
is making all the right plays by spreading the ball around. He offers steady
and committed leadership at the QB position. His distribution and ability to
find the open man on offense is crucial. He’s so talented and hungry.”

Moxam continues to wax lyrical
about his other star names. “Les ‘Da Franchise’ Harvey is a strong safety and
wide receiver and is a key cog in the Calabash machine and is simply the best
player in the league. He’s so talented, consistent and focused on winning that
he can single-handedly impact the outcome of the game on both sides of the
ball.

“Nigel ‘Nas’ Solomon is another
strong safety and wide receiver and he is easily one of the best all round
athletes in any sport this island has ever produced. He has so much ability –
not just in this sport – and makes it all look so easy it’s scary to think
about what he could do if he fully focused and understood the gifts he’s been
given.”

The Soldiers deliberately go to war
with a small roster (16 active players) compared to the rest of the league
(average roster 25-30). Moxam feels that makes them more determined, organised
and committed to each other and focused on winning.

“At times it feels like everybody
in the league is against us from the fans to officials but we just focus on
executing our game plan and if we do that nothing will stop us.”

He was coach in their championship
winning season two years ago when named One345 Farm Soldiers but defected to Maples
last year merely as a challenge. “Maples was fun and we had some real success
in getting to the semis. In any team sport the formula for success is simple. A
team can only reach its full potential if there is structure, discipline, a collective
will and one voice to set the course and act as the captain of the ship. Look
at the successful teams, leadership is always a key component.

“I came back because Calabash’s
senior players asked me to consider returning and I sensed a real commitment
from the majority of the players to work hard, sacrifice and win. Those players
on the roster that have not bought into the team goals and who lacked the
ability to sacrifice for the best interests of the team have been ejected as
Calabash has been built to win it all this year and distractions will not be tolerated.
We got too much talent and we are not interested in making excuses. There is no
pressure for Calabash because the players understand the objectives and have responded
accordingly.

“We’ve won as a group before but
with the addition of guys like Sean Moyle, Nas, TC and the other new guys we
are just having a blast, winning games and enjoying all the laughs, which is
why I enjoy coaching this group. Thus far we’ve had questionable calls by the
refs, rule changes and fans showing up hoping that Calabash lose. The pressure
is on the rest of the league to stop us. If we play our game and execute we’ll
be fine and we’ll be champs.”

Nigel Solomon got ejected for over
exuberant celebration after scoring a touchdown on Saturday. That included
dancing and then putting on his Burger King costume to taunt the opposition,
Burger King.

“Nas is insane. He’s one of the
funniest guys ever, always joking and smiling. The guy loves life and he’s
always thinking about the next prank. A real character. Honestly, CIFFA should
pay him as he brings so much fun and entertainment to the league. Our flag
league is a recreational fun league where guys get to live out their NFL dreams
so CIFFA should understand that fact and understand that when NAS starts his
celebrating and usual antics after he makes a big play or scores a TD…that’s
just Nigel being Nigel.”

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