Realistic expectations

Jason Simmonds
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For Summerside Chargers going into national flag football ch'ship

SUMMERSIDE -- The Summerside Chargers are entering today's (Thursday) 2008 NFL flag football national championship with realistic expectations.

Jillian Curley of the Summerside Chargers concentrates on making a catch during a recent practice. Curley plays wide receiver and defensive back. Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE -- The Summerside Chargers are entering today's (Thursday) 2008 NFL flag football national championship with realistic expectations.
The Chargers, comprised of 13-year-olds Brandon Adams, Kaleigh MacKinnon, Wylie Tanton, Rebecca Clark, Lucas Gaudette and Jillian Curley, will, in all likelihood, be the youngest entry in the eight-team tournament for players under the age of 15.
"Our goal is to try and win one game and let the kids get their feet wet at the nationals," said Chargers head coach John Turner, who added all his players are Grade 7 students. "Most of the teams there will be Grade 8 kids and there will be some big and fast kids."
The one-day tournament is at Eliot River School in Cornwall. Teams will be divided into two four-team pools and the draw was scheduled for Wednesday night.
Teams will play a three-game round robin and every team will qualify for the playoffs. The championship game is scheduled for approximately 3:45 p.m.
New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces which will not be represented.
"Football enthusiasts in communities across the country continue to take advantage of the NFL Flag (Football) League resource to create new leagues," said Football Canada technical director Rick Sowieta in a news release. "NFL Flag (Football) League helps kids stay active, makes our sport accessible and is one of the key building blocks for our future here at Football Canada."

Second year
This is the second year in a row Turner has coached a Summerside team at the nationals. He has taken some observations from last year's event and implemented those in the Chargers' game plan.
"All the teams play zone defences and the passing game is all slants and quick square routes," said Turner. "It's a quick passing game."
An indication of the stiff competition that awaits the Chargers is that last year's national champions, Hamilton Steelers, went on to win the world championship in New Orleans.
"That was the first time a Canadian team ever won it (world championship)," said Turner.
The Chargers earned the right to represent the Island by winning the P.E.I. league. They went 11-2 (won-lost) in the regular season and posted a 3-0 playoff mark.
"I was building the team for next year," said Turner, a Summerside Intermediate School teacher, who proudly admits the Chargers have exceeded expectations this year. "They're a great bunch of kids, played like a team and there was absolutely no whining or anything like that."
One of the neat things about flag football and with the Chargers especially, notes Turner, is the co-ed aspect.
"It's not often girls and boys get to play together on the same team," said Turner. "They work really well together."

jpsports@journalpioneer.com


Rules

Rules for flag
football games:

-- Teams play five-on-five.

-- Teams have three downs to get to midfield for a first down and three more downs to score.

-- There is no kicking. After scoring a touchdown, teams can attempt a two-point convert from the 12-yard line or a one-point convert from the five-yard line.

-- Tackles are made by grabbing the offensive player's flag from his or her belt area.

-- The pass-rusher, who lines up seven yards from the line of scrimmage, is the only defensive player who can rush the quarterback.

Organizations: Chargers, Eliot River School

Geographic location: Cornwall, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador New Orleans Iceland

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