Packers corral mediocre Colts

Week eight saw loads of intrigue in the 2012 Digicel Men’s Summer Flag Football League, put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association.

At the Ed Bush field in West Bay, the streaking Maples Packers battled the struggling Cox Colts. These two teams hooked up in week one and went down to the wire with the Colts squeaking out the victory. Public perception of both teams has since changed as the Packers are now seen as a legitimate championship contender whilst the Colts are fighting for their playoff lives.

For the Packers, quarterback Barrett Edri continued his hot play, putting his name in the conversation for mid-season league Most Valuable Player. His team-mates have rallied around him and the results have paid dividends with the team winning its last five games. They are now in sole possession of second place and one game behind league powerhouse the dms Hellcats.

On the day, Barrett completed eight of 13 passes, one resulting in a touchdown when he connected with Tyler Lee on a gorgeous deep post route, which appears to be the staple of their offensive attack. He also rushed for two TDs, adding to his league-leading six rushing TDs.

Defensively, Deandre Simpson and Edison Jackson played hard-nose football shedding blockers to come up with four and five tackles a piece respectively. Lesley Harvey was his typical ball hawking self, coming up with his fourth INT of the season.

For the Colts, Kevin Solomon was under center and struggled once again. He completed eight of 13 passes, one rushing TD and two INTs. In consecutive weeks, they have failed to score double digit points. Offensively spacing appears to be a factor as they seem to lack a vertical receiver that can consistently make plays outside the numbers. This allows opposing defences to play more freely and closer to the line of scrimmage negating the Colts offensive strengths. They rely heavily on running the ball and the short intermediate passing game featuring Chester Hurlstone and Brad Conolly. Defences are aware of this and as a result they find themselves facing more third downs than any other team with playoff aspirations. Typically teams that adopt this formula have a high third down conversion rate (which they don’t), positive turnover margin (they’re among the league’s worst) and feature a top-notch defence (they’re middle of the pack). Having said that, the team is still only one game out of playoff contention and is loaded with a number of veteran players such as Raymond Barnes, Jeff Wight and Rhys Ebanks who know what it takes to be successful.

In the second game of the day, the DMS Hellcats thrashed the PWC Raiders 54-0. Hellcats QB Jacob “Frecko” Ebanks had a career day completing an amazing 25 of 27 passes, seven resulting in TDs, which is a CIFFA record. Oliver Parker kicked off the offensive explosion with one of his two TDs coming off a screen pass for his first TD of the season. Perry “BoyWonder” Levy, Kevin Maxwell, Clay Coleman, Rashaun Rivers and Antonio Angel were the recipients of the other TDs. Additionally, Richard Allen returned an interception for a TD and Nick Bush kicked in six of seven extra points to round out the scoring. Defensively, Damien “Beast” Barboram returned from vacation and was his normal disruptive self, setting the tone for the Hellcats who snatched their first shutout of the season.

For PWC, it was unfortunately another disappointing collective effort. Offensively, they were unable to move the ball beyond midfield and defensively they gave up more points than any team has in a number of years. That said, the team kept fighting from start to finish, staying positive and showing good sportsmanship throughout. Chris LeBeau led the charge and although under heavy duress all game, he made a few nice throws up the Hellcats seam to his favourite target, Justin Miller. Defensively, Brett Eden and Jeff Stower had good outings with three and four tackles each. PWC look to get off the snide next week against Club House while the Hellcats meet up against Cox.

The final and most competitive game of the day saw the Club House Bulldogs clip the Burger King Panthers 13-7.

Burger King came out of the gates early featuring a heavy dose of the screen game to get in scoring position. A few plays later, QB Chris Lucas broke the Bulldogs’ defensive outside contain to connect with Neil Appleby for a TD on an out pattern. Simon Rivers kicked in the extra point to round out the scoring for the Panthers. Brendon Malice had a good day on both sides of the ball with three receptions and three tackles and Rivers showed his improved coverage skills with a nice INT on a deep pattern. Burger King had a shot towards the end of the game when Lucas threw a great pass to a wide open receiver down the field. Unfortunately, the receiver struggled to make the catch, popping it up in the air for grabs by the Bulldogs secondary to seal their fate. Burger King will look to bounce back this week against the Cayman Power Sports and Marine Hurricanes, who are coming off a bye.

For the Bulldogs, Chris Spigner shook off a shaky start to lead his team to a much-needed victory. He showed off his arm strength when he took advantage of some un-disciplined coverage by launching a 65-yard tight spiral TD to his favourite playmaker, Jon Pump. This momentum-changing play happened with mere seconds remaining in the first half and it seemed to deflate the Panthers, who had clearly outplayed their opponent up to that point. The reenergized Bulldogs never looked back as Spigner would later hook up with Pump again for the game-breaking TD off a nice fade pattern. Defensively, converted linebacker Todd Hazlewood had his group playing admirably. Chip Whitney, Kevin Simmer and Dave “Spanish” Valez had a sack a piece, instigating three INTs by the Bulldogs defensive backs.

Congrats to Frecko and Spanish, who earned offensive and defensive player of the week honours.