Weeks ago, a draw was seen as a chink in the armor of the Maples Dolphins.
That perception is sure to change after Maples had a scoreless draw with the dms West Bay Hellcats last Saturday at the Camana Bay Sports Field. The contest was part of the 2013 Digicel Summer League, put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association.
Dolphins co-captain Will Peguero Jr. said his squad is confident in its ability to compete. “There’s nothing holding us back,” Peguero Jr. said. “It’s rare that a team dominates us, normally it just comes down to mistakes as a team. We have a huge chip on our shoulders from last year when we lost to Doghouse (in the opening round of the playoffs).
“We’re taking no days off, as far as the games are concerned. The ball is in our court, we beat ourselves most times and now we just have to be more dominant than anyone else.”
Saturday’s contest went into overtime without a score. Veteran Hellcat receiver Clay Coleman should have been the hero but dropped the game-winning touchdown in the end zone.
Maples played with great tenacity on both sides of the ball behind the likes of quarterback Barrett Edri on offense and cornerback Lincoln Bodden on defense. The Dolphins would hand the four-time reigning champions their first tie of the year, in spite of good moments from West Bay veterans like Jacob “Frecko” Ebanks and Phil Brown.
The result did not have much effect on the Men’s Premier League standings. Maples are still third at 7-2-2, while the Hellcats are firmly in fourth place at 6-1-4. Both squads trail Brendon Malice and the Burger King Panthers and Paul Reichard and the Lone Star Mustangs as those teams have identical 9-2 marks.
The Panthers beat the 4-1-6 Cox Colts, 7-0, last Saturday, while the Mustangs smashed the 3-8 Cayman Power Sports and Marine Hurricanes, 26-8. Cox are currently fifth and the only other team with a secure postseason spot, its second playoff berth in three years.
Outside of the top five, the standings see Michael Swaby and the 4-7 KPMG Sharks ahead of the Hurricanes and the 0-10 WestStar Saints, with rookies like Leon Conolly.
The regular season finale is slated for this Saturday, Aug. 31, at Ed Bush Sports Centre in West Bay. Saints face Hurricanes at 10 a.m., Panthers tackle Hellcats at 11:15 a.m., Cox battle KPMG at 2:30 p.m. and Lone Star challenge Maples at 3:45 p.m.
For Maples head coach Shawn Pitterson, the sky is the limit for his Dolphins.
“I am very impressed with our team,” Pitterson said. “I am very optimistic that we are going to win the championship. We have a team of players with knowledge of the game mixed with young and talented players. We have to continue to practice and work hard as a team and together we can win it all.”
After the 12-week regular season wraps up on Saturday, the playoffs are expected to start on Sept. 7 with only the top six sides making the postseason and the top two seeds earn first round byes.
Playoff seeding is also on women’s minds as the league’s 10 female teams also play this Saturday. At 12:30 p.m., the Lady Saints face Ultra B’zzz while CrossFit 7-Mile Scorpions tackle Zulu Warriors. At 1:30 p.m., Androgroup Killa-Panthers battle Lady Sharks while Lynx battle Wolverines. At 5 p.m., Maples Thundercats challenge Star Athletic Club.
The Women’s Premier League standings are tight as Shinette Rhoden and the first place Wolverines and the Lynx with Saneata Smith are 9-2; Cassandra Bodden and the 8-1-2 Scorpions are third; and Sheyla Torres and the 7-4 Warriors are fourth.
The rest of the standings feature Alicia Dixon and the 6-1-4 Killa-Panthers; Scimone Campbell and the 5-1-5 Lady Sharks; Kathy Miller and the 4-7 B’zzz; Amanda Nelson and 3-2-6 Star Athletic; Jessica Maxwell and the 1-1-9 Thundercats; and Danielle James with the 0-11 Lady Saints.