Greater Sudbury Lacrosse Association
Imperial Collision Centre
Confederation Chargers now the flag football measuring stick
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Make it 21 wins and counting – and three straight SDSSAA Senior Division A Flag Football banners for the Confederation Chargers, blanking the Bishop Carter Gators 9-0 in the city final last Friday night.

A safety touch awarded to Ashlee Riopelle would be all the scoring the Confederation crew would need, though they gave themselves some breathing room when quarterback Ashley Ruddick connected with Kylee Hitchen on a short touchdown pass, with Taylor MacNeill making good on the convert.

“I feel that this year was a tougher year because the league has definitely gotten stronger,” noted 17 year old grade 12 receiver Danika Chenier. “Our defense really stepped up this year. Our offense was strong as well, but our defense definitely helped us out.”

"Our offense was strong as well, but our defense definitely helped us out this year."

Like most of the top-end teams, the Chargers found a way to present a variety of looks offensively, from the passing game behind the strong arm of Ruddick or the running game, with speedster Abbey Walker as feature back.

"We have to have good balance," suggested Chenier. "A lot of the teams in this league are very smart; they catch on to our running plays. Designing a play where it looks like it's going to be a run but having a throw instead is very important to us."

Linebacker Abi Erbersdobler has been an integral piece of the vaunted Confederation defensive unit, now familiar with almost every component of the side of seven. “I’ve played all over,” she said. “I’ve played cornerback, I’ve played centre. I play wherever I go.”

“It’s super important that we work well together as a team, that everybody shows up to practices. Don’t skip – that’s really important.”

And like most of the opponents that they faced, the Chargers' defense was well-acquainted with the athletes that needed to be slowed - at least a little.

"We definitely know their running back, Sierra Boyuk," said Erberdobler. "She is extremely good. Props to her - she did so well. We kind of put like a target on her and tried to cut off her angles."

For the third straight year, former Confederation multi-sport athlete Leeza Connor joined long-time flag football coach Brad Smith on the sidelines. No surprise that the grand-daughter of the late Art Connor, former OHL referee and Lifetime Member of the International Silver Stick is a tad attached to sport.

“It (coaching) was something I was really excited to do,” noted the young teacher. “I watch a lot of football – that’s how I spend my whole weekend, watching football for my fantasy team.”

“Learning how to draw up plays is the biggest challenge, but we use a really cool play design software. So now I’m a super nerd and that’s what I am doing on Saturdays and Sundays, watching college games and NFL games for cool plays and adapting them to seven v seven.”

Much like her players, Connor has noted the gradual raising of the bar right across the SDSSAA flag football league. "This year has been the toughest competition yet, throughout the entire division," she stressed.

"We've had some incredibly close games, some very stressful games as coaches. Other teams are adapting, starting to run different styles of play. You really have to have different styles. We're seeing girl quarterbacks with massive arms, so you can't just press up and stop the run."

In just their second year of participation in flag football, the Champlain Requins managed to secure the title, besting the St Benedict Bears 13-3 in the Senior Division B final. Joelle Roussel scored on a 30-yard run, Olivia Nichols hauled in a touchdown pass and Madison Smith punted for a rouge for the winners, with Emily Levesque kicking a field goal in a losing cause.

The Junior championship affair would see Bishop Carter earn a measure of revenge, defeating the Lasalle Lancers 6-1 to ensure at least one banner would make its way to Hanmer.