Earlier this year the National Tackle Football Association (NTFA) and its partners launched the first-ever Flag Gridiron Football League in Jamaica.
This saw an array of teams converging over western and central Jamaica playing and vying for the title of national champion.
The eleven schools that entered were St Elizabeth’s Munro College, BB Coke, Roger Clarke High School and Newell High School. From Manchester, there were Belair High School, deCarteret College, May Day High School, Porus High School, Manchester High School and New Forrest High. From Westmoreland were Godfrey Stewart.
The quarter-finals, which were played May 31-June 3, saw the top four teams going through to the semi-finals, two from Manchester, who were Belair High School and deCarteret College, while St Elizabeth’s BB Coke High School and Munro College made the final four..
In the semi-finals on June 15 at the Treasure Beach Sports Park in St Elizabeth, Munro defeated BB Coke 18-0, while deCarteret got the better of Belar 18-12.
In an exhilerating final, Munro beat deCarteret College 20-0, after both teams had ended the first half 0-0. Munro College were named the first ever flag gridiron national champions. Munro’s Yushann Malcolm had two interceptions for touchdowns.
To commemorate the efforts of the students there was an award ceremony to reward the teams for their valiant effort in being the sport’s pioneers on the island. Jordan Scarlett of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers donated all the trophies for the event. These were the Jordan Scarlett MVP award, the Earle Harriott Achievement award and the Janet Stewart Academic award.
The Jordan Scarlett League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award went to Malcolm of Munro College. Malcolm recorded 38 offensive touchdowns throughout the season and in play-offs he recorded 11 interceptions with seven going for touchdowns and sealed the victory for Munro College with an interception return for a touchdown.
The Earle Harriott Achievement Award went to Javaughn Thomas of BB Coke High. This is an award that is given to the student-athlete that has overcome challenges in his life in order to stay on course with his academics, extra-curricular activities, and community involvement.
The Janet Stewart Academic Award went to Derone Blake of deCarteret College. The award goes to the student-athlete that has exhibited exceptional academic excellence at the CSEC and CAPE levels.
Gridiron, though an emerging sport in Jamaica, has open doors for many students across the island to get involved. It has also given them the opportunity to get scholarship to colleges and universities in the USA.