Hellcats edge Predators, Panthers bounce back

Deandre Simpson runs for Maples (courtesy CIFFA)

The top four teams in the 2017 Cayman Islands Flag Football Association’s Men’s Premier League took centre stage in a double-header at the Ed Bush Sports Complex on 5 September.

The Kensington Hellcats and the Island Heritage Predators met first for a highly anticipated game, with both teams boasting past championships.

Hellcats took early command of the game with a touchdown by Hellcats’ Abdul Patterson followed by an extra-point kick by Nick Bush but the Predators retaliated quickly with a touchdown by Baron Solomon.

Predators continued with a strong defensive rally with key tackles by Oliver Parker before taking the ball on offense. Nigel Solomon of the Hellcats intercepted to get the ball but Tariq Gardener of the Predators stayed at the goal line to deflect any further touchdown attempts before the second quarter ended.

Nigel Solomon grabs the interception.

The third and fourth quarters were intense defensively, opening with a deflection by Hellcats’ Nigel Solomon. The Predators did not regain their focus while they had the ball and turned over soon to the Hellcats, who made major gains with catches by Will Peguero and Perry Levy. However, neither team allowed any more points to be scored throughout the remainder of the game.

The unsung heroes of the offensive line, namely Predators’ Gino Brown and Kenrick McField secured great blocks for their teammates on both sides of the ball. The game ended 7-6 in favour of the Hellcats.

Maples and the Burger King Panthers met next, both teams equally hungry to win – Maples, looking to maintain their three-game streak and the Panthers looking to prove last week’s loss to Hellcats was a fluke. Maples started the game on offense and despite gains by Kwei General, Panthers’ Chris Bennett and Brendon Malice – who intercepted the ball, ensured they would not score.

Jermaine Sharpe of Panthers also sacked the Maples quarterback to keep Panthers on top defensively. Once in possession of the ball, Panthers’ Jordan Cacho ran the ball for a solid gain. His teammates Chris Bennett and Brendon Malice took turns getting the ball downfield before Ryan Puller scored the first touchdown of the day, followed by an extra point by Neal Appleby.

Jordan Cacho had a good game.

Maples tried to resurge with gains by Fabio Gall and Deandre Simpson but Jordan Cacho of the Panthers stole the ball for a touchdown supplemented by Neil Appleby to put the game at 14-0.

With the ball back in their possession, Panthers sent the ball to Cacho again but was soon stopped by Maples’ Thomas McField–Brown. The game continued with multiple unsuccessful journeys to the goal line by both teams. Timothy Coulson of Maples and Jermaine Sharpe of Panthers both completed sacks against their opposing quarterbacks but it would be Andrew Frederick and Nick Roberts of Panthers to earn interceptions and give Panthers control of the ball and go on to secure a 14-0 win.

The final games of the regular season are this Saturday, 9 September, at Ed Bush Sports Complex. While some teams will not advance to the finals, this season has been one of the most competitive in CIFFA history, with championships proving difficult to predict.

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