Hellcats aim for another title

The semifinal playoffs in the 2015 Cayman Islands Flag Football Association season saw four extremely competitive matches for the privilege of spots in Saturday’s finals. 

And it seemed that the theme for all Saturday’s matches at the Ed Bush stadium in West Bay was defense. 

Women’s No. 1 seeded HSM Vipers met fourth seeds Maples Lynx which resulted in one of the most intense and longest games ever in Cayman flag history. 

The game saw both teams miss opportunities to capitalize on crucial scoring drives, while defense for both was stringent with neither team willing to give up any points. 

HSM scored in the closing minutes with a touchdown pass to Schmarrah McCarthy, but they failed to close in the final minutes of the game. The Vipers quarterback duties were split between Lisa Malice, who went 7 for 17 with one TD and one interception, and Dionne Whittaker, who went 1 for 6 with one interception. 

The team defense kept them in the game as several players recorded multiple tackles and sacks on the day. Schmarrah McCarthy, Jen Cotarelo and Alicia Dixon combined had 14 tackles, three sacks and an interception. 

The Lynx, who are the reigning champions, also had a game with lackluster offense results, not able to move the ball against the Vipers, who had a defense that kept them competitive throughout regular play. Sophia Dilbert had nine tackles for the day. 

With the final seconds winding down and six points behind, Kim Rivers handled the QB duties, going 10 for 21 with one interception for the Lynx. She threw a perfectly placed ball 20 yards over the Vipers corner into the hands of Jamesette Anglin for the game-tying touchdown. 

The Lynx were not able to score on the extra point attempt with the ball snapped short, so it went to the first of five overtimes. 

The Vipers went up in the second overtime when Lisa Malice threw a quick pass to Glenita Logan for a touchdown. 

However, the Lynx where able to stifle the extra point attempt, leaving them with another opportunity to tie the game. 

The Lynx were able to answer again when Rivers threw a TD pass to Tyanna Jan in the end zone, again giving them another opportunity to go up by a point, but again they were not able to capitalize. 

The death knell sounded for the Vipers when, on their last drive, they were picked off in the end zone by a 5-yard pass to Vania Comwell. The Lynx move on to the championship game after winning 18-12. 

The men’s No. 1 seeded BK Panthers took on fourth seeded Maples Dolphins. The Dolphins, coming off a season of learning and growth, were the underdogs and crowd favorites to pull off an upset. Dolphins QB Chris LeBeau was 7 for 16, with every one of his receivers getting one ball for the day. 

Larue Nixon pulled in both of the TD passes for the Dolphins. The Panthers seemed to have their offense operating efficiently. Glenn Duran went 6 for 8 with two rushing touchdowns, and Brandon Copico and Rashad Rankin were also on the receiving end of balls from Duran for a touchdown each. 

Jon Pump also pulled kicker duty, and was 2 for 3 on the day for the Panthers. The Panthers’ experience helped them to pull out the 26-12 win. 

The second-place women’s team, Anytime Fitness Wolverines, took on third-place CrossFit 7Mile Scorpions. Wolverines quarterback Antoinette Thompson was 4-14 for the day. 

Incomplete routes and hurried throws cost the Wolverines opportunities to capitalize and score. The Scorpions defense was key in disrupting plays where Maggie Ebanks recorded eight tackles, with Keisha Solomon, Erica Bosch and Diandra Bodden combining for a total of 13 tackles. 

The Wolverines defense was disruptive in the back field and caused havoc on the line – similar to the Scorpions defense. 

Scorpions QB duties were split between Jessica Pawlik and Keisha Solomon. Pawlik was 1 for 3 with an interception, and Solomon was 1 for 10 with three interceptions. 

The turning point of the game came when Antoinette Thompson on the Wolverines defense line was able to power her way through to secure a safety. The Wolverines took the match, winning 2-0. 

The final game of the day matched second-place Kensington Hellcats against third-place Island Heritage Predators. The Hellcats, the reigning champs and in new kit for the match, were looking to continue their winning ways, relying heavily on the defense to make sure that the game never got away from them. 

Jacob “Frecko” Ebanks was 7 for 10 and one rushing TD for the day, distributing the ball between his receivers, his favorite being Clay Coleman, and using Oliver “Dark Star” Parker behind his linemen. 

Jamal Anderson and Renford Barnes made key interceptions in defense for the Hellcats. The Predators offense was not able to capitalize on several chances to score throughout the game. 

QB Jordan Stubblefield was 9 for 21 with two interceptions. The majority of the balls thrown by Stubblefield, though catchable, simply went through his receivers’ hands. 

In the final drive of the game with seconds left on fourth and long, the Predators went for the touchdown, but the ball was swatted away and the Hellcats took the victory with a 6-0 score, stunning the confident Predators. 

The Maples Lynx will take on Anytime Fitness Wolverines at 3:15 p.m. and the Kensington Hellcats will face the Burger King Panthers at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at the Ed Bush Field. 

The Lynx, who are the reigning champions, also had a game with lackluster offense results, not able to move the ball against the Vipers, who had a defense that kept them competitive throughout regular play. Sophia Dilbert had nine tackles for the day. 

Frecko Ebanks

Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks did not disappoint the Hellcats. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

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