S’side teams competitive at flag football nationals

Jason Simmonds
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Play continues at UPEI throughout weekend

CHARLOTTETOWN – Summerside’s two entries in the 2014 flag football under-16 national championships posted respectable results on Friday.

The Raiders went 1-2 (won-lost) in boys’ play while the Steelers lost two close games on the girls’ side at UPEI. It was the first game action for both teams in about six weeks.

“We were expecting the execution definitely wouldn’t be there (early),” said Raiders coach John Turner. “You can practice, but there is nothing like the speed of the game.”

The Raiders got off to a slow start, dropping a 38-6 decision to a powerful Manitoba team, before rebounding for a much-better showing in a 35-20 loss to Saskatchewan and a 32-4 victory over Nova Scotia.

“We kept telling our boys that we want to keep getting better every game,” said Turner. “As long as we get better every game we have a chance come Sunday. You can’t win the tournament on Friday. . .

“Our execution against Saskatchewan was better, although we are still not where we need to be as we lost by two touchdowns there.

“Then against Nova Scotia, it was our best game of the tournament and our execution is getting to where it needs to be. It’s coming together, and hopefully tomorrow (Saturday) we can cut the gap against Manitoba and Saskatchewan.”

The Raiders close out the round robin on Saturday against Manitoba at 10 a.m., Nova Scotia at 1 p.m., and Saskatchewan at 2 p.m. All four teams advance to Sunday’s semifinals.

“Ideally we would like to get in that 2-3 game,” added Turner.

Close games

The Steelers opened Friday’s play with a 33-19 loss to Quebec and then dropped a 12-7 decision to Nova Scotia.

The game against Quebec was much closer than the final score would indicate as the teams were tied 13-13 at halftime. Two big plays by Quebec in the second half proved to be the difference.

“That game could have gone either way,” said Steelers coach Kris Rice. “Against Nova Scotia, we led the entire game and then they got one big play over the top to make it 7-6 for us, and they scored again to make it 12-7. It was two close games.”

The Steelers play their final two round-robin games on Saturday against Saskatchewan at 9 a.m., and Manitoba at 11 a.m.

“I am pleased that we are in the games, but we are also not executing to what I know is our full potential,” said Rice. “We could be doing even better. We are poised to do well if we start executing.”

The fourth- and fifth-place teams will play a qualifying game on Sunday, with the winner of that game advancing to take on the first-place team in one of two semifinals.

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

Scores

Scores from 2014 flag football national championships:

Under-16 Girls

Quebec 25 Saskatchewan 0

Manitoba 33 Nova Scotia 6

Quebec 33 P.E.I. (Summerside Steelers) 19

Saskatchewan 13 Nova Scotia 12

Manitoba 31 Quebec 26

Nova Scotia 12 P.E.I. 7

Manitoba 27 Saskatchewan 6

Under-16 Boys

Manitoba 38 P.E.I. (Summerside Steelers) 6

Saskatchewan 29 Nova Scotia 8

Saskatchewan 35 vs. P.E.I. 20

Manitoba 48 Saskatchewan 28

Manitoba 42 Nova Scotia 0

P.E.I. 32 Nova Scotia 4

Under-18 Girls

Saskatchewan 27 Nova Scotia 7

Quebec 0 Manitoba 0

Saskatchewan 13 Quebec 13

Saskatchewan 7 Manitoba 6

Nova Scotia 12 Manitoba 7

Quebec 20 Nova Scotia 6

Organizations: Steelers

Geographic location: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia Quebec

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