Playoff Time in FPF junior
Thursday, Jun 13, 2019FPF Jr | Pee-Wee | FPF Jr | Mosquito | FPF Jr | Midget | FPF Jr | Bantam | FPF Jr | Atom
by ALEXI DUBOIS
After six weeks of games, the Spring 2019 FPF Junior season drew to a close. In the winter season, the Flight School teams dominated most of the divisions. However, since those powerhouse teams did not return for the spring, there was much more parity in the divisions. The goal of FPF Junior is to introduce young athletes to the game of flag football and to have a great time in the process. I was thrilled by the results of this spring season because every single team showed signs of improvement. Some teams, mostly in atom, were starting from scratch. They had a roster of players who barely knew what a football was. After eight games, their progress was outstanding. Not only did they know what a football was, but they started to learn various routes and defensive coverages. On the other hand, teams with considerable tackle football experience also joined FPF Junior. For those teams, the challenge was not learning the game, but rather adapting to the smaller field and the lack of contact. Every team improved in different aspects of their game and it was that progression that made following FPF Junior so interesting this season.
Before previewing the playoffs, there are a few performances from week six that I would be negligent not to mention. In Atom, I would like to give credit to two players who have flying under the radar. Yes, it would be easy to once again talk about Luca Swaminadhan and his two interceptions, but I would prefer to concentrate on one of his teammates, Sammy Stamatopoulos. He led all Atom players in week six with his two defended passes. To go along with those PDs, Sammy Stamatopoulos also recorded three tackles. All seasons, he has been posting impressive numbers and is definitely one of the best defenders in the division. The other performance that grabbed my attention was from Elif Balci, of the Jaguars. One of the most difficult stats to record is a sack. In Atom, that is made even harder since the rusher is ten yards behind the line of scrimmage instead of seven like the older divisions. Despite playing one of the hardest positions, Elif Balci played a phenomenal game. She pressured the opposing quarterback all game long and was eventually rewarded with three sacks.
In Mosquito, it was yet another rusher who grabbed my attention. All season, it has been clear that Emile Kilbride of the McCaig Gladiators has speed. However, speed does not always equate to good rushing. Throughout the season, Emile Kilbride has learnt how to read the play, how to slow down at the right time and how to tackle. When those abilities were coupled with his blistering speed, the opposing quarterback did not stand a chance. Emile Kilbride recorded two tackles and three sacks in his team’s week six win. I have known that Anthony Barette of the AP Hurricaanes 2 is an extremely talented player for quite some time now. However, he showed just how good he was with his performance last Sunday. Offensively, he recorded six receptions for nearly 100 yards and a score. While most would content themselves with that performance, Anthony Barette was thirsty for more, so he decided to go out and dominate defensively. He recorded a phenomenal nine tackles.
In Pee-Wee, it was once again Musketeer players who impressed me. Week after week, it always seems to be Musketeers who have the most impressive statistics. This week, they once again stole the show across the board in Pee-Wee. Their quarterback, Kaydon Shaw led all passers with five touchdowns. At receiver, Massimo Moufrage led with 75 receiving yards while his teammate Dylan Joly blew away the competition with three scores.
In Bantam, I was surprised to see Marco Gentile make an impression as a receiver. We have become accustomed to seeing him dominate as a passer, but in North Shore’s win over the Eagles, Marco Gentile recorded five receptions for a division high 61 yards. While Marco Gentile led in terms of receiving yards, it was Jordy Melnik who led in terms of receptions with six. On the defensive side of the ball, it was once again North Shore’s Dylan Koszycki who impressed with his three interceptions.
In Midget, it was the play of two quarterbacks that caught my eye. All season, I have been doubtful of the Bunnies. Maybe it was because of their less than imposing name, but I never considered them to be title contenders. Well, the play of their quarterback Ryan Rotholz has single handily changed that perception. Every week, his performances have gotten better and his best outing to date came in week six versus Montreal’s Youngest. He passed for over 250 yards and threw five touchdown passes. Close on his heels was Garner Ross of TuneSquad who passed for 248 yards in his team’s win over Montreal’s Youngest. Both of these quarterbacks have their team’s playoff fates resting on their shoulders. Bunnies will only go as far as their quarterback can carry them. As for TunesSquad and Garner Ross, he just needs to avoid mistakes and listen to his coach. When he sticks to the script, he is one of the very best passers in the division.
The Atom playoffs will get underway with a duel between the Lions and the Jaguars. The Lions have gotten better with each passing week. However, they have had issues with being able to tackle all season and I believe that will continue to plague them in the playoffs. The most interesting game will be the semi-final matchup between the Grizzlies and the Silver Cougars. Both of these teams are evenly matched, and I am sure they will play a game for the ages. Ultimately, the winner of that game is likely to meet the McCaig Gladiators 2 in the finals. No matter which team ends up playing against the McCaig Gladiators 2, they will need to do what no team has done so far this season: beat them.
The story is very similar in Mosquito. At the bottom of the table, the Reapers and Cavaliers will battle it out for a chance to play McCaig Gladiators 1 in the semi-final. While the Reapers may be the favorites in this match, we cannot count the Cavaliers out. All season, they have been getting better and better and the scores in their matches are getting closer. If they can continue that progress, they will have a fighting chance in their quarter-final game. The most anticipated match in this division’s playoffs is definitely the battle between the AP Hurricanes and Panthers. Both teams finished the season with a 5-3 record. They played each other twice in the regular season and each team won once. These two teams are too evenly matched for me predict the outcome. The winner of that game will most likely be playing the undefeated McCaig Gladiators 1.
The quarter-final matchup in Pee-Wee will be between the Rams and the Bulldogs. While the Bulldogs may have only won one game all season, it was a crucial one. They beat the Rams in week six so despite their 1-7 record, they have all the momentum heading into this game. The winner of that game will face an extremely daunting task. The undefeated Musketeers are waiting for the winner of the quarter-final game. In their semi-final game, the Packers will try to do something they haven’t done all season: beat the Hurricanes. While this will be a difficult match, the Packers came very close to beating the Hurricanes in week six. If they can improve on that performance, they have a chance of upsetting the Hurricanes.
In Bantam, the finals have already been played. Since North Shore were going to be unavailable on Sunday for the finals, the game was moved up to last Sunday. Realistically, everyone knew that the Dusters were going to be playing North Shore in the finals. So, with the collaboration of all the teams in the division, the final was played directly between the Dusters and North Shore. All season, I have thought that North Shore were the better team. I was sure that their athleticism and tackle football experience would allow them to prevail over the Dusters. The Dusters proved me wrong and soared to a convincing 21-12 victory. It was not a day for quarterbacks, Marco Gentile threw two picks while Adam Malinoff threw three. It was the Dusters defense that really made the difference in this game. They limited the North Shore to 140 yards and two scores. Congratulations to the Duster’s for defying my predictions and winning the championship.
There are seven teams in Midget instead of four or five like in the other divisions. In Midget, there will be three quarter-final games and the lowest seeded team to win will go on to play the Tigers. The two middle seeded teams will play each other. There was so much parity in Midget this year that predicting any of these outcomes is just about impossible. Out of all the teams playing in the first round, my favorites are Montreal’s Youngest. They may not have had the best regular season, but this team seems set to kick into a higher gear for the playoffs. During the regular season, Montreal’s Youngest were joking around and having fun. When this team will decide to put their game face on, they will become a daunting opponent. Obviously, the favorites to win it all are Tigers. They haven’t lost a game all season. While they may not be the biggest or fastest, they are the smartest team in the division. After a number of seasons, they have learnt how to adapt to the FPF Junior game better than any other team in the division. Personally, I see them riding that experience all the way to a championship.
That concludes the regular season and the playoffs are now just a few days away. On Saturday the 15th, the playoffs will kickoff bright and early at Stade de Soccer and the day will end with our four champions being crowned. While I would have loved to be on the sidelines for those games, I will be out of town.
Best of luck to all the teams!