SUMMERSIDE – A pair of Summerside Intermediate School Grade 9 teams will compete in a national championship on P.E.I. soil this weekend.
The Summerside Raiders (boys) and Steelers (girls) will represent Prince Edward Island in the 2014 flag football under-16 national championships at UPEI.
“If they play like they are capable of and execute plays like they can, they should be right in the thick of things come Sunday,” said Raiders coach John Turner.
Cody MacKay, who is currently in Europe on a school exchange trip, coached the Raiders all season, and Turner and Summerside Intermediate School athletic director Trevor Bridges are filling in as “interim coaches.”
Former Summerside Clipper Kris Rice coaches the Steelers.
“I’m really looking for a spot in the bronze-medal game,” said Rice in discussing a team goal. “Last year, there was a lot of nervousness and injuries, and this year, hopefully, we can stay healthy and show what we can do with a full team.”
Rice said it’s also important for his players not to be nervous.
“The other teams are very aggressive, and in a sport like flag football where there is no contact, there is still a certain amount of aggression that you are allowed to use,” said Rice. “Our defence has to be aggressive.”
Turner said one of the biggest adjustments at the national level is to the quarterback play, which he described as terrific.
“These quarterbacks have played high school and junior high, and they can throw in small windows,” said Turner.
Each team consists of eight players, and play begins Friday morning and continues through to Sunday afternoon.