GRAND BAHAMA – There’s no sweeter feeling than being the first.
The battle for national supremacy in flag football reached a fever pitch this past Saturday at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex when the inaugural National Flag Football Championships got under way.
The evening got started with a hard fought tilt for the women’s national title, between Summit Academy Ravens and the Sawyer’s Fresh Market Lady Enforcers. In what only took one score to secure the championship, the Ravens etched their names as the first ever female national champions downing the Lady Enforcers 6-0.
The champions out of New Providence and the champions out of Grand Bahama were both scoreless in the first half as both defenses held up strong. But the Ravens came out of the half and attacked the Lady Enforcers’ defense with a strong running game. LaShawn Whylly ate up a huge chunk of yards on her way to the only score of the game and Most Valuable Player honors.
It was an incredible ride to this point, according to offensive captain and offensive lineman Sasha Kemp. The team went 9-1 during their regular season, and defeated the Paradise Games Wildcats in the BFFL championships to get to this point.
“It’s honestly a great feeling. No one thought we would have made it here. We were in the championship in Nassau last year, we got beat but now we’re here the new national champion and Nassau champions,” Kemp said.
The Ravens believed in the old adage, “defense wins championships.” And with that mindset cornerback and defensive captain Jessica Turnquest voiced how proud she was of the collective effort on the defensive end.
“I’m extremely proud of my defense because we didn’t give up any scores. All I can say is that I’m extremely proud of them because they came out, they showed out and they did exactly what I expected them to do. This team prides itself prides itself on defense…at the end of the day we are the Nassau champions and we are the national champions.”
It was then time to crown a men’s national champion when the A Sure Win Warhawks out of Nassau took on the Bahama Rock Excavators out of Grand Bahama. The physical contest required extra minutes to determine a winner but the Excavators defended home turf and outlasted the Warhawks 16-13 in overtime.
The Warhawks came out as the aggressors in their opening drive. Warhawks QB Phil Rolle drew first blood when he connected with Jamal Butler to put up seven quick points on the Excavators. However, it didn’t take long for co-MVP; quarterback Drexel Russell to find Tad Martin in the endzone to make it a 7-7 game. Later on in the first half Kyle Grant made defenders miss after catching a short pass in the middle of the field to lead the game 13-7.
The Excavators held firm for the most of the second half, until Butler caught the game tying touchdown that made it 13 apiece in the closing moments of the half.
After three missed tries for the end zone the Excavators then needed
to rely on the leg of co-MVP, Denzal Deveaux, who gave them the 16-13 lead. The Warhawks failed to convert on each of their final attempts, crowing the Excavators as the men’s national champions in the process.
The Excavators stormed through the regular season to a perfect 13-0 and a GBFFL championship. Yet, Excavators head coach Steven Moxey said it “feels good” to be national champions and it’s a championship they will seek to defend next year.
Giving credit where it was due to the Warhawks, Moxey said, “It was a dogfight. Hats off to the cats from Nassau, they played a real good game. Every day we practiced hard and everybody; they really put their heart, their mind, and soul into the game coming into this. They really wanted this; we really wanted this as a team.”