Maples upset Predators to make playoffs

Photos courtesy: Jordan Rankine

Maples has gone from being one of the teams that was always beaten to being one of the teams to beat in the Flow Cayman Islands Flag Football Premier League.

Maples have been coached by Shawn Pitterson from the formation of the team and most recently Rohan Marshall became a part of the coaching staff. Maples were once known as the “Rookie” team as the team mostly consisted of players who were new to the sport but that has since changed.

Team representative Jonathan Allen previously said that if they made the playoffs, their goal would be to do what they set out to do from the beginning of the season: “win the championship title for the first time”.

Allen said the team was faced with some hard games throughout the season because teams have stepped up their game to reach the same goal. He stated that the team has remained focus on winning the coveted title by staying determined to keep moving forward.

Very early in the season Maples tragically lost a player which was a “heartbreaking overall experience which impacted the team in a big way”. Michael “Mikey” Gourzong drowned while swimming with friends in June.

Team members said the team has been coping with the tragedy and knows that “Mikey” is still with them at each game.  “We will continue to play in his honor and aim to make him proud,” Allen stated.

Coach Pitterson noted that Michael was a great leader and motivator who made a great impact on the team and it is difficult not having him on the team.

Allen and Pitterson both agreed that the team does not just have one standout player. It was stated that the team roster is filled with individuals who the coaches play to their strengths and abilities.  They said the difference between this year and the previous years is the amount of talent on the team and that individuals have improved in their positions.

Pitterson thanked their sponsor, Maples, for their continued sponsorship over the years which have allowed the coaching staff to develop players in the sport of Flag Football.

Renee Thompson of Wolverines.

Renee Thompson of Wolverines.

On Monday September 12, at the Annex, Maples took on the top-ranked team, Island Heritage Predators, for the last spot in the playoffs. But first, they had to see how the Saturday games went down.

Starting the day off at the Ed Bush Play field on Saturday September 10 was Anytime Fitness Wolverines vs IMS Killa Bzz.  Knowing that this was their last game of the season IMS Killa Bzz wanted to show why they are a team that should not be counted out.  They started out strong and promising by placing the first score of the game on the board and was holding of the opposing team for majority of the game. However, because of interceptions ran in for a touchdown by Keisha Solomon and a touchdown by Renee Thompson, Anytime Fitness Wolverines won the game 14-6.

Perry Levy of Hellcats

Perry Levy of Hellcats

The next game of the day was between Kensington Hellcats and Maples Knights. Fighting to make the playoffs Knights tried to hold off Hellcats but the close game ended with a score of 14-6 in favor to Hellcats. Knights were left waiting for the results of the Monday night game to know if they made the playoffs.

The following game was between Maples Lynx and HSM Vipers. Lynx tried their best on defense to hold off Vipers from scoring on offense because of not being able to progress the ball on offense. The game ended in a 13-0 in favor of HSM Vipers.

The day ended with Burger King Panthers vs PWC.  PWC was determined to put a score on the board and to show they were not done yet. PWC scored two touchdowns and received two extra point conversions one ran in by Dean Claassens. The game ended in a 27-16 score in Panthers favor.

On Monday, Maples played with heart and determination knowing that to make it into the playoffs they had to put everything on the line which they did. The game ended in a 13-7 score, Maples securing a playoff berth.

In the other game of the night, Kensington Hellcats shutout PWC 20-0.

The 2016 FLOW Cayman Islands Flag Football Premier League playoffs beings on Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Ed Bush Play field at 1:30 p.m.

The semifinals schedule is as follows:

Men: Island Heritage Predators vs Maples 1:30 p.m.

Women: HSM Vipers vs Anytime Fitness Wolverines 2:30 p.m.

Men: Burger King Panthers vs Kensington Hellcats 3:30 p.m.

Women: Guinness Lady Sharks vs Maples Lynx 4:30 p.m.

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