Although a relative newcomer to the local flag football scene, Jordan Stubblefield believes that it offers “no better level of competition on the island.”
He has just completed playing his second year and feels that “the guys that play in this league are some of the best athletes on the island.
“We put in a lot of time and effort in practice and it is rewarding when you perform on the field,” Stubblefield said.
He has been the starting quarterback in those two seasons for the Island Heritage Predators and the starting QB for the national team as well. Unlike most local flag footballers, Stubblefield plays only in one position.
“Many people think that just because someone has a good arm, then they automatically will be a good QB,” said Stubblefield. “Not the case. There is so much more involved, such as play calling, audibles at the line, reading defenses and telling players where to line up.
“You are either the hero or the goat as the QB. When you are winning, everyone loves you, but when you are losing, everyone wants to put the back-up QB in.”
He is grateful to the team sponsors. “Island Heritage have been awesome. They have provided us new uniforms and paid our team dues for the last two years. They also let us use their meeting room so that we can watch film and meet as a team.
“They are very involved in the community too. Whenever there are charity events we make sure to help out. We are very involved in Meals on Wheels, Charity Drive and other charity events.” Stubblefield follows the Baltimore Ravens and is also a diehard University of Alabama – nicknamed Crimson Tide – fan. “Roll Tide!”
He plays fast-pitch softball for Jose’s Escape and coed softball for Tony’s Toys, but the only sporting achievement he relishes is to win a flag championship with the Predators under coach Clayton Lopez. Stubblefield played Division 1 baseball for Liberty University as a relief pitcher. He also played one season of Minor League Baseball with the Atlantic City Surf.
The 33-year-old sales manager for Cayman Medical Supplies was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
Last week a team from the Bahamas came over to compete against Cayman sides for the I-Cup at Ed Bush Stadium in West Bay. The Bahamas beat Cayman when they went to Nassau in October and the visitors retained the I-Cup for the first time in three attempts here. Probably their hardest match was against the Kensington Hellcats who had a reduced squad, but still fielded key players like Jacob “Frecko” Ebanks, Craig “Festa” Frederick, Perry “Boy Wonder” Levy and Oliver “Dark Star” Parker.
Jayson Clarke, the Bahamas quarterback and president of their flag association, praised Cayman for their organization and hospitality and said he is looking forward to the 2016 games.
“The I-Cup was a fun experience,” Stubblefield said. “We hope to get other countries involved. Bahamas was a good team, they won two games [against the Panthers and Hellcats] in overtime, so they were clutch when they needed to be. “We didn’t play against the Bahamas team, but they looked very fast and disciplined.”
The flag scene in Cayman is at a crossroads, Stubblefield feels. The fact that the men’s league has only five teams, down from seven last year, is not encouraging. “It’s concerning because if this is the fastest growing sport in Cayman, why has there been a decrease in the amount of teams?”
He believes the answer lies in the fact that defense dominates the games, so matches tend to be low scoring and extremely tactical, not very entertaining for spectators. Nor does it attract newcomers to the sport.
“There needs to be measures taken to enable offenses to score more points,” Stubblefield said.
“Stiff arming [fending off an opponent], blocking on kickoffs and blocking on punts will allow for more offensive points and opportunities. This will generate a buzz and more of an appeal for athletes that aren’t currently playing.”
He believes the Predators will do well next year. “This year was a bit disappointing. There is a learning curve in this league. We have a very solid core group of guys starting with our coach Lopez.
“He has brought his NFL playing and coaching experience and really helped us learn the game, but it is up to us to translate that into victories.”