Flag football tourney a great success
Niagara Youth Flag Football celebrated Family Day with a tournament that attracted some of the best teams in the country.
The tournament included 10 junior boys teams, five junior girls teams, six senior boys teams and more than 200 players competing in the event at Young’s Sportsplex in Welland.
“The tournament ran very smoothly with intense competition,” NYFF president and coach Matty Hill said. “The feedback from all the teams was when is the next one? I don’t think the province has seen this calibre of a tournament in a long time so it was cool to see it in the home of our league here in Niagara.”
Hill’s favourite part of the tournament was seeing five girls teams taking part in a tournament.
“It has been hard to get that kickstarted and we had three teams from our league, one from Blessed Trinity and one from London which was a great start in the right direction to continue the growth in girls football,” he said. “I was very proud of how all the teams and coaches carried themselves with first class and sportsmanship. It was crazy, intense, high-calibre football games but the respect of talent was also evident.”
The Junior Boys Division featured a rematch of the U16 Canadian championships with Flight School from Quebec and the team from Niagara Youth Flag Football, which was Team Ontario at nationals.
“Niagara won a hard-fought battle which easily showed the two best teams in the country and arguably North America, with the successes both teams have had in the U.S.A,” Hill said.
The Niagara team went undefeated with a 5-0 record and only allowed three touchdowns in the entire tournament. Niagara, coached by Alex Hill and Alexia Tam, was made up of Dylan Devries, Eric Corriveau, Justin Cournoyea, Johny Baka, Jared Cappa, Noah Walters and Travis Boland. Walters played like an MVP and was the best quarterback in the event and Boland was a shutdown defender and led the team in receptions and touchdowns.
Winning the Senior Boys Division was an A.N. Myer squad coached by Mike Goforth, Dan Pepe and Dave Buchanan.
“This team has been the standard of high-performing flag football play. They have been dominant in the NYFF league for years and continued they’re dominance with a perfect record and hard-fought battle in the finals against a very good STM team from Hamilton,” Hill said. “The dynamic duo of quarterback Tyler Goforth and Evan Goforth led the charge and Quinn Johnston contributed several big plays on both sides of the ball. This was the definition of a full team of skill and depth. Everyone contributed and made big plays.”
Other members of the team were Arden Martinez, Eugene Park, Graham Walters, Brady Pupek, Johny Colcuc, Brady McEachern and Connor McEachern.
Winning the Junior Girls Division was Blessed Trinity, coached by Tia Pucci and Mark Antonelli.
“It was a complete team effort,” Hill said. “The team displayed a ton of skill and heart on their way to a perfect tournament.”
Members of the team were Maria DiFlavio, Alana Meester, Hannah Monsma, Aubrey Sartor, Brynn Sartor, Avery Whaling, Olivia Wist, Brielyn Young and Jadyn Young.
“This team was new to flag football but they were incredible athletes on the field. It was great to see more local girls talent come out and we look to work with them as we continue to build our girls programs.”
The league will be hosting a seven-on seven high school tournament on a full field April 1.
Niagara Youth Flag Football is continuing to recruit for its travel flag season and has some big tournaments in the works. It is also finalizing numbers for its Spring NFL Flag League. More than 700 players have already registered.