2012

Marblehead flag football prepares for more success as a second-year league member

 

Marblehead

 

In late 2010, a team of 10 Marblehead 5- and 6-year-olds ventured into Salem to participate in their first season in the North Shore Flag Football League (NSFFL). Despite playing in an age group that combined 5- and 6-year-olds with 7- and 8-year-olds, they had a great time and gained lots of playing experience, and they were back the following spring with two teams in the Salem League.
Later that spring, Marblehead placed a team in the 6-8 year-old age group in the 2011 Flag Football Festival, a tournament of over 90 teams and four age groups that was held at Harvard University.
The Marblehead Black Tide finished 16th out of 16 teams after losing two preliminary contests and their first game of the tournament round.
In late 2011, Marblehead started its own league as a part of the NSFFL with 140 children, two age groups of 5-6 year-olds and 7-8 year-olds.

 
 
 
 

Playing at the Bud Orne Playground each Sunday, a total of 14 teams battled each other under the rules of NFL Flag Football, which are significantly different than the traditional rules of football (see sidebar on the NFL Flag Football rules).
After the regular season and playoffs were over, two teams from the 7-8 year-old division and one from the 5-6 year-old division were declared the Super Bowl winners, and then qualified for the New England Championship Series, an end-of-season tournament that pits the top teams from over 13 different NFL flag football leagues in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island against each other to determine the Champion of Champions.
All Marblehead teams played well in the tournament, with the 7-8 year-old Eagles placing third out of 14 teams before losing in the semifinals, ironically enough versus an efficient Salem Broncos team consisting of many of their former foes from the Salem League. The game was tied at halftime, but Salem then scored 20 unanswered points to send the Eagles home for the day.
The highlight of the tournament was supplied by the 5-6 year-old Marblehead Lions, who were crowned the Champion of Champions after placing first out of seven teams.
Their play demonstrated that Marbleheadís Flag Football program was on the map, and would be a force to be reckoned with in tournaments to come.
The spring 2012 season in Marblehead welcomed the addition of a 9-11 year-old age group, and a new playing location at the Tower School. Now, poised with 27 teams in the three age groups, they were ready to do battle, and when it was all said and done after the playoffs and the Super Bowl games Marblehead again sent a team from the 5-6 year-old age group, two teams from the 7-8 year-old group and one from the 9-11 year-old group to the Spring 2012 Championship Series Tournament.

 
 
 
 

2012 Spring Championship Series

Once again, the 5-6 year-olds showed their dominance when the Marblehead Raiders, led by the lone 5-year-old on the original team that played in Salem, went undefeated on the day that culminated with a win over the Peabody Steelers, 18-8 in the championship game, resulting in another Champion of Champions trophy coming home to Marblehead.
Then, the 7-8B year-old bracket winner Steelers defeated the Lynn Lions before losing to the Beverly Giants.
The 7-8A year-old Bracket Champion Marblehead Seahawks (11-0) made the championship game, but then they lost their first game of the season to the 10-0 Beverly Packers. This left them in second place in the tournament.
In addition, Marblehead entered a 9-11 year-old team into the championship series for the first time in its history.

 
 
 
 

2012 Football Festival


For the first time last spring, Marblehead Flag Football held tryouts for teams to play in the 2012 Flag Football Festival at Rentschler Field on the campus of the University of Connecticut.
Two teams of 6-8 year-olds (the Black Tide and the Magicians) and one 9-11 year-old squad (the Black Tide) were formed and began practice for the tournament that was played on June 30 and July 1.
Day 1 of the tournament was held at Woburn High School, where each team played three round robin games to determine the seedings for the next dayís single elimination tournament at UConn.
In the 6-8 year-old Division, the Black Tide and the Magicians entered a field of 16, and when the day ended the Black Tide stood at 3-0 after defeating the Peabody Raiders, 20-6; Masco, 24-6; and the Beverly Patriots, 14-8.
The Magicians lost to the Lynn Bulldogs, 30-8, and the Beverly Panthers, 39-6, before defeating the Woburn Tanners, 12-6 to end the day at 1-2.
In the 9-11 year-old Division, probably the most difficult division in the tournament with 22 teams, the Black Tide defeated the Salem Witches, 15-12 before losing to the Beverly Panthers, 32-6, and the DAC Red, 39-14.

 
 
 
 

On Day 2 of the tournament, the 6-8 year-old Black Tide took care of the Lynn Rams, 14-6 before losing in the semifinals to the NHFFL Red Storm, the only other undefeated team in the tournament.
The Red Storm, the eventual champions, gave up their only touchdown of the tournament to the boys from Marblehead. It was a close, hard-fought game that was all tied up at six until the Black Tide gave up a touchdown with no time left on the clock on the last play of the game. This performance catapulted the Black Tide to a third place finish in the East Coast Premier Flag Football Tournament.
The 6-8 year-old Magicians lost in the first round to the Danvers Falcons, 26-6, but the 9-11 year-old Black Tide defeated the Beverly Patriots, 20-12 before losing to New Yorkís DAC Gold, 19-2.
Considering how Marblehead fared the previous year at the Flag Football Festival, it was clear that they have progressed significantly.
What a difference a year makes Consider the following statistics: Last fall, 140 youngsters participated in flag football; the numbers soared to 270 in the spring.
This fall promises to be even better, with more experienced players and coaches and a tradition of tournament excellence now established.

 
 
 
 

Two seasons: Two 5-6 year-old regional championships, and two 7-8 year-old top three finishes and a Flag Football Festival semifinal appearance, not bad considering Marblehead had no flag league the previous year.
Additionally, Marbleheadís Connor Cronin, Drew Annese, Kurt Plakans and Sam Annese were chosen to the first-ever All-NSFFL 6-8 year-old All-Star team, and played in a tournament held in Syracuse, N.Y. last July.
This was, in no uncertain terms, a credit to the commitment of the parents and volunteers who coach, film, photograph and make the league what it has become today.
Interested in playing Marblehead Flag Football?
Marblehead Flag Football is one of the leagues in the North Shore Flag Football League ( www.northshoreflagfootball.com ). Itís 5-on-5 flag football where safety is the name of the game.
The program provides children between the ages of 5-8 years old (9-11 year-old teams are only offered in the spring) a fun, exciting opportunity to engage in non-contact, continuous action while learning lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, dedication and discipline.
The age groups offered in Marblehead are as follows and based on the childís age as of Sept 1, 2012: 5-6 years-old and 7-8 years-old.
Game days consist of a one-hour practice/warm-up and a 40-minute game. Each player registering will receive a reversible NFL flag football jersey of the NFL team they are placed on and flags for the game. Players are encouraged to indicate which friends they would like to play with during registration to make the experience more enriching.

 
 
 
 

No football experience is necessary, itís just about having fun.
The 2012 fees are $90 for the season, and to register go to www.northshoreflagfootball.com and click on the link Register Now on the left side of the page, and make sure to select the Marblehead League.