Nitro has strong showing in Woodbridge
It was an excellent performance on and off the field Good Friday for 10 Niagara Nitro travel flag football teams competing in a 54-team tournament in Woodbridge.
“The on-field success was very impressive but the biggest success of the day was how all the players, coaches, and parents represented everything the league is about,” Niagara Youth Flag Football founder and coach Matty Hill said. “Great sportsmanship, memories, life skills and, of course, lots of fun on the football field.”
Niagara Youth Flag Football’s youngest team, made up of Grades 1s and 2s, played in the Grade 4 and under boys division and made it to the semifinals.
“This team lost in the semis 7-6 but the program is so proud of the hard work this group puts in and it will be a force to be reckoned with for years,” Hill said.
The Grade 5/6 boys lost in the semifinals on the final play of the game.
“This division carried fierce competition and the team made great strides throughout the day,” he said.
The Grade 7 girls team won gold in the Grade 5-7 division, going undefeated and beating a boys team in the process.
“This team is set to make its mark with an incredible mix of talent and speed,” Hill said.
Competing in the same division, Niagara’s Grade 4/5 girls defeated a number of older teams to make it all the way to the finals.
“Another very bright spot of the program is this young girls team as they continue to find their game,” he said.
Competing in the Grade 7/8 boys division that featured 12 strong teams, the Nitro Grade 7 and Grade 8 boys both came out of pool play as the second seeds. Both teams won tough quarter-final and semifinal matches to set up an all-Niagara final.
“The coaches and players decided after six intense games of football that both teams were the champions and no game was needed to be played,” Hill said. “One for bragging rights will be scheduled soon, of course.”
Nitro also entered two squads in the Grade 9/10 division. The Grade 10 team, which won silver at nationals, won the tourney by going undefeated in its second straight event.
“The growth in this team is off the charts,” coach Alex Hill said. “Coaching this team feels easy. The players are so focused, so hungry and the best football players in the province. No challenge is too big and they handle adversity better than any team I have ever seen. There’s lots of OUA (Ontario University Athletics) future stars in this group.”
The Grade 9 boys, playing mostly older teams, took home the consolation championship.
“It was very impressive considering it’s a team with some first-time travel players being thrown right into it,” Matty Hill said. “This group will build off the success and keep growing.”
Nitro entered two squads in the high school girls division and the Grade 8/9 girls, frequent participants in travel tournaments across North America, took home the gold despite being the youngest team in the tournament. Grayce Bell had a Pick 6 to seal the victory.
“This girls team will be making more news as they keep making their way to tournaments,” Hill said.
The Grade 10 girls did amazing in their tournament debut, with a win, a tie and several close games.
“It was a huge success for a first-time travel team,” he said.
Next up for Nitro is the largest flag football tournament in North America on May long weekend in Philadelphia. Eight Niagara teams will be competing in the event.
Niagara Youth Flag Football’s spring NFL flag Friday nights is starting soon with more than 700 athletes, cheer teams, food trucks and a ton of fun. More than 75 coaches are preparing with a coaches/referees clinic. A new addition to the program will be a mini summer camp from Monday, July 3 to Friday, July 7. The camp will run from 9 a.m. until noon and is for kids in Grades 1-8.