After a highly popular coed competition, the stage is set for a boom in flag football’s numbers this summer.
Perry Levy served as league coordinator for the 2014 Burger King Coed League, put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association. He oversaw matches at the Ed Bush field in West Bay this month, with Ed Bush now gearing up for the adult summer leagues, which start on June 21 after the opening jamboree on June 14. Levy says the coed competition will have a direct effect on next month’s games.
“The growth of the league is something that all executive members, participants and supporters should be proud of collectively,” Levy said. “Flag football has cemented its significance within these islands and the continuous interest from all spectrums is proof of that. The dream of our founding fathers, George Hydes and Marcus Cumber, are certainly being realized. With respect to its impact on the summer premier league, various recognized players currently participating got their feet wet in coed.
“We understand that many nervous beginners take advantage of this format to simply satisfy their curiosity. Then you have others that fully expect to participate in the premier league that use this opportunity and hone their skills and get familiar with our style of play.”
Early focus this summer will be on the Burger King Panthers and Androgroup Killa-Panthers. Burger King won its first championship in franchise history last season using a veteran group of players such as Brendon Malice, quarterback Chris Lucas and Paul Chin. The roster has stayed mostly the same, though the offseason additions of Nicholas Roberts and Glenn Duran Jr. could be key in their repeat efforts. Androgroup claimed their first title in the women’s division behind the likes of Alicia Dixon, Christina Hefner and Stephanie Watler.
Aside from the champions, interest will also be on organizational changes for the coming season. Each squad will be responsible for having one person on the league’s team representative board, which serves to vote on various league matters as they arise. Each side will supply at least two people to serve as referees to ensure a rotation of available match officials. Each team will also have at least one person assist with stat-keeping. Clinics are slated to be held for officiating the weekend of June 14 and stat-keeping (at a later date).
The summer league, which had 18 teams in 2013, will look to match the turnout of the coed competition – which produced 20 sides. Burger Shack won the A League championship for the third straight season. The squad formerly known as Child Please were unbeaten throughout behind talents like Levy, quarterback Barrett Edri and star receiver Will Peguero Jr. Chris Bennett was named the top flight’s male Most Valuable Player. Higgs and Johnson claimed the B League title thanks to the likes of Brad Conolly, men’s MVP RaShaun Wright and Tania Ebanks-McLaughlin.
Lisa Malice, playing for Andro Elevator, was the A League womens MVP. Dionne Whittaker, quarterback for Computers R Us, was named B League womens MVP. Aside from those top players, the league saw a number of stars shine in the playoffs such as David Taylor for Wok-N-Roll, Gary Rutty of Burger King and Robbie Cribb of Cayman Auto Diagnostic Clinic.
Association president Maggie Ebanks, who played for A League team Impressions Beauty Salon, says the coed league benefited from the growth of junior players.
“I’m pleased with the coed season that just wrapped up,” Ebanks said. “We had our highest team count of 20 teams this year and I feel that next week we will continue to grow. The season saw many exciting close games and without fail, each Friday night was a fun-filled environment. It was also great to see more of the senior youth from our youth league joining teams in the league and playing amongst the adults. This league wouldn’t be possible without the continued help from all the board members and the players in the league that step up and offer their assistance in more ways that one.
“I’m definitely looking forward to continue to see the growth of the coed league. Next up for the association is the summer premier league, which kicks off with the jamboree.”