PIT Football set a Canadian Touch and Flag Football registration recordIn the winter season with 146 teams vying for 28 championship trophies.
Growth was fuelled by registration in Flag Football as Football Canada, Football Manitoba and PIT Football partnered to offer the Manitoba affiliate of the Canadian Flag Football League, the winners of which would represent Manitoba at the National Flag Football Tournament in July. Furthermore, the Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) grew considerably as fourteen teams registered across two divisions. The WHSFL divisions encourage skill development in a safe and fun environment and are a great way to promote the sport of football!
Canadian Flag Football League (Men’s Division)
Team Canada 27 Manitoba’s Most Wanted 13
PIT Football is the Provincial affiliate of Football Canada’s Canadian Flag Football League (CFFL). The top two teams in the CFFL will represent Manitoba at the Western Regional Tournament held in Winnipeg in May, the winners of which will go to the National Tournament for a chance to represent Canada at the World Championships in South Korea in 2020.
Team Manitoba won the National Tournament last year and currently holds the title of Team Canada. They continued their winning ways defeating Manitoba’s Most Wanted in a close game that was broken open late on an interception return touchdown by Justin Stewart and two touchdowns by Jeff ‘Better Late than Never’ Draper.
Both teams punched their tickets to the Regional Tournament by finishing top two during CFFL league play.
Canadian Flag Football League (Women’s Division)
WC 28 Iron Mavens 0
Last year Manitoba did not send a women’s teams to Nationals, but this year we had three teams battle to see who would represent the province at the regional tournament, including the 2018 U18 national bronze medalists.
The WC defence was stout, holding the Iron Mavens to zero points while recording three sacks and two interceptions, including a pick six by Sonya Panchuk. This was a highly-competitive first season of women’s flag football as the WC and the Iron Mavens will both represent Manitoba at the Western Regional Tournament. The U18 girls team failed to qualify for the senior regionals, but many of them hope to represent the province at the U20 tournament in Saskatoon this summer.
The future of women’s flag football in Manitoba looks bright!
Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) Division 1
Vincent Massey Trojans 34 Grant Park Pirates 6
Vincent Massey captured their fourth straight WHSFL Division 1 flag football championship, but their road to the finals was not easy! Finishing as the eighth and bottom seed, they had to knock off the top three teams in the division to take home the championship belt.
Dispatching the previously undefeated Murdoch MacKay Clansmen in the quarterfinals, then the Steinbach Sabres in the semifinals, the only team left standing in Massey’s way was the Grant Park Pirates. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the Trojans were a team of destiny.
Jordan Hanslip threw four touchdown passes and Jibu Namwira recorded three interceptions and 19 points. Hats off to Grant Park who last year won the Division 2 title and moved up a weight class this year to challenge for the top prize.
Winnipeg High School Football League (WHSFL) Division 2
Sisler Spartans 32 Kildonan East Reivers 22
Sisler captured their first WHSFL Flag Football championship by defeating Kildonan East in a closely contested game.
The Spartans were led by Richard Lugumire’s four touchdown passes and six points running the ball, while Ali Rose countered for the Reivers with 12 points. Kildonan East went on an incredible playoff run after finishing the regular season winless. The Reivers stunned the top seeded Miles Mac Buckeyes after defeating the Vincent Massey JV team in their quarterfinal matchup. The Spartans however were too much to overcome on this day and the Reivers hot streak came to an end.
Connor McDavids 33 The Sofas 19
The Connor McDavids won their second straight indoor coed championship in a game that was back and forth until the final few minutes.
The Sofas had the lead late until the Connor McDavids scored after Russ Rennie shook himself free from coverage on the goal-line. On the ensuing drive, Ben Lazurak sacked The Sofas QB for a safety, pushing the lead to seven. The Sofas had to kick off after the safety and the McDavids were able to drive the field, killing clock while securing victory with a late score.
The McDavids will look for the championship hat-trick in the Spring season of coed football.
Defensive TD Fever 37 Football-Demort 18
Defensive TD Fever finally got the championship monkey off their backs as they defeated Football-Demort to win the Intermediate coed championship.
TD Fever has reached the championship finals on a few occasions but had been perennial bridesmaids.
Fever QB Jordan Demerchant threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers including one to game MVP Jessica Smilar who also added an interception on defence.
WHSFL Hall of Famer David Shoup had two touchdowns for Football-Demort but it was not enough to deny the Fever their first coed championship.
Crutch Tossers 34 Bus Drivers 0
Game MVP Derrick Hrabarchuk saved his best performance for the championship game by throwing five touchdowns on offence while securing two interceptions on the defensive side of the ball as the Crutch Tossers cruised to victory.
Alexander Richie had a sack while Carter Safiniuk had an interception for the Bus Drivers. Kudos to the Bus Drivers who were led by Madison Siwicki, the only female quarterback in the coed division. Madison has an arm that rivals any of the best quarterbacks in the division! Give Madison a couple of seasons and she will be ready to lead both her coed team and perhaps a provincial female team to victory.
Guild of Calamitous Intent 42 North Bay Elites 41
The Guild captured their latest championship title in a barnburner against North Bay’s elite team.
The Guild got up big early, however North Bay showed their elite status by making it a highly-contested game in the second half. Led by the two-headed quarterback monster of Raza Butt and Neil Gwizon, who each threw for three touchdowns, North Bay led a furious comeback attempt that fell just short.
The Guild are the most decorated team in Manitoba Touch Football history, and will add another trophy to their mantle in one of the most exciting games of the night.
Beerhawks 38 Monstars 27
The Beerhawks and Monstars have traded the last three championships and this time it was the Beerhawks turn.
Keith Bourgeois ran for a touchdown and threw for four more, connecting with Justin Stewart for three of those touchdowns in the victory. Former Bisons standout Brett MacFarlane replied with 19 points for the Monstars.
Division 2 for the Spring season looks stacked with talent and it will be interesting to see if one of our new teams to the division will be able to knock off these perennial championship favourites.
Kings 31 Paddy’s Angels 26
Two of the most-talented teams in the league faced off in what was perhaps the best game of the night.
Paddy’s Angels looked to secure victory late when McMaster standout wide receiver Alexander Tachinski hit Jonathan Remple from the Bisons for the go-ahead touchdown late in the game. The Kings late drive stalled, leaving them with a Hail Mary play that was ultimately answered as former league MVP Luke Jacobucci hauled in the touchdown going over top the U Sports athletes from Paddy’s Angels for an incredible catch that stunned the crowd.
The Kings repeat as Division 3 champs and will now challenge the teams in second division.
#D1 Bound 32 Big Baller Brand 6
For two straight seasons Big Baller Brand dominated the competition in the regular season and for two straight seasons Big Baller Brand was dominated by the competition in the championship game.
This year’s final was no contest, as #D1 Bound overwhelmed BBB with their speed and athleticism, sporting numerous U Sports and Rifles players on the roster. Back in 2015 #D1 Bound was a rookie team who won a Division 18 championship. Five years later they have now won Division 4 as they continue to live up to their namesake!
Division 1 teams are on notice; it won’t be long until these guys are taking on the best the province has to offer.
Mo Bama 33 Past Our Primetime 27
In a battle of two up-and-coming teams, Mo Bama took the Division 5 title after an incredible comeback which saw their team down by two scores late in the game.
Past our Primetime looked poised to win their first indoor title with Shane Smedvik making a triumphant return to the league and scoring 19 points early. However, the wheels fell off late and Mo Bama took advantage. Neil Walton threw for three touchdowns in the final ten minutes, two to Cody Hunter and one to Dustin Herda to cue the improbable comeback.
Teams are never out of the game in a league where touchdowns can be scored in bunches!
C’Mon Man 31 Missed Calls 12
We had an unprecedented 14 teams go undefeated in their divisions this past Winter, but it is common knowledge that first seeds, especially undefeated first seeds, tend to get knocked out it what has become known simply as ‘The Curse’! This season was no different as undefeated teams went 6-8 in the championship games and unfortunately Missed Calls were one of those undefeated teams.
C’Mon Man needed a tiebreaker just to get into the playoffs and then they knocked off both the top seeds in the division en route to the championship, demonstrating the incredible parity that has become a hallmark of the league.
Joey’s Old Wood 31 Outlaws 27
Outlaws: first place – check. Undefeated season – check. Loss in the championship finals – check. The curse of the undefeated continued as Joey’s Old Wood pulled off the upset after some late game heroics by Nick Trinder, who caught the winning touchdown after returning from an injury sustained earlier in the game.
The Outlaws are one of the up and coming teams in the PIT with a couple of championships under their belts already. Under the tutelage of Nick Jessamine, the Outlaws are led by Luke Jacobucci who is knocking at the door for quarterback superstardom. On this night however the veterans outdraw the Outlaws to take home the championship belt.
Young Mafia 27 BlackOut 6
Young Mafia and BlackOut were the top two seeds in the division and this game on paper looked to be a barnburner.
However, BlackOut QB and University of Bisons standout player Ethan Diakow was noticeably absent. BlackOut played valiantly but they would have been in tough to score even with their quarterback as Young Mafia boasts one of the most talented defences in the league. Without their quarterback, however, it was no surprise that BlackOut could only muster six points.
In total, Young Mafia only surrendered 13 points total in the playoffs, a very dominating performance by a team led by players from our former U20 provincial flag football team.
Take the Elf 14 Nibs 12 (OT)
Points were very hard to come by in this game as both teams battled for 60 minutes.
With the game still tied, the teams headed into overtime where Nick Lajoie hit Zach Caithness for a two-point convert to win the game over a very competitive Nibs team comprised of current and former Vincent Massey Trojans players. Zach also had a game high three sacks in helping Take the Elf win their second consecutive championship.
Fake TDs, No Punts 34 Rouge Gods 33
Newcomers the Rouge Gods were primed to win their first championship in their rookie season after dominating the competition during an undefeated run to the finals.
Fake TDs started strong and at one point held a three-touchdown lead, however the Rouge Gods went on a fourth-quarter run in which Nathan Leitao hit Nathaniel King for two touchdowns and Asher Wood scored off an interception return for a touchdown. Fake TDs were anchored by Todd Hersak and Hall of Famer Al Bloomfield who caught a late touchdown to ensure victory for his team in yet another incredible finish on a night highlighted by incredible finishes.
Senior Sabres 43 Vandelay Industries 29
The Division 11 trophy will now reside in Steinbach as the Senior Sabres were one of the few undefeated teams to avoid ‘The Curse’ by securing their victory and place in the rarified air of a perfect season.
The former Steinbach Sabres used a blend of youth, speed, and size to overwhelm opponents this season and are on the watch list for stardom in the league. Taylor Buhler threw for a championship-night high seven touchdowns, while three of his receivers hit double digits in points. Austin Buhler had a game high 18 points and two interceptions for the Sabres.
Replying for Vandelay Industries were Carson Mallette and Alex Christie who scored 13 points each, but it was not enough to stop the offensive juggernauts from Steinbach.
Bullet Club 23 Zach Ertz 19
The Bullet Club came out of nowhere and hit their ‘More Bang for Your Buck’ finishing move which put an end to their no holds barred match with Zach Ertz. Travers of the ‘500 TD Club’ hit Ben Lazurak for the winning touchdown late to snatch victory from defeat in this ‘Too Sweet’ ending to a great rivalry game.
The Bullet Club defended their championship belt and will enter the Spring season as the team everyone will be gunning for from the start. The crowds are waiting for the Bullet Club to enter the field to ‘Last Chance Saloon’ to really let their opponents know what they are in for this spring.
Chronic Ballers 12 Bleue’s Clueless 8
The Chronic Ballers rebounded from a fall season in which they went winless, to a 6-1 season and the championship in the winter.
This defensive battle had some huge individual games, with Chronic’s Chad Sauerborn registering five quarterback sacks and Domenic Horvath setting up a no-fly zone on defence with three interceptions. Bleue’s Clueless countered with three interceptions of their own, but a last second drive put together by Chris Bozynski ended the Chronic Ballers championship drought when he hit Austin Favell for the winning score with seconds remaining.
What a difference a season makes!
Philip Ontacos 32 North Bay 30
North Bay was another team bitten by the undefeated curse as their perfect season ended at the hands of Philip Ontacos.
It did not seem that way early as North Bay jumped out to a comfortable lead. But this was a tale of two halves as ‘Tacos QB James Harron threw four second half touchdowns, two each to Kyle McCourt and Jonny Oystreck in the comeback victory.
North Bay may have lost this one on the field, but they won in the lounge following their game!
Ninja Turtles 25 Mayhem 13
The Ninja Turtles were once again ‘heroes in a half-shell’ as they took home their second PIT Football championship, this time over a Mayhem team who knocked off the top seed in division in the semi-finals.
The Ninja Turtles were able to avenge their regular season loss as Jason Gill threw for four touchdowns to four different renaissance turtles. On this day, The Turtles spread offence was ‘RockSteady’ leaving the Mayhem defence in the ‘Shredder’. No word if the team celebrated with some pizzas and ‘Bebop’ after the game.
Wolfpack 12 Sober Bros 6
Wolfpack finished 1-4 in the regular season and had to win a three-way tiebreaker just to grab the final playoff spot in the Division.
From there they proceeded to knock off the first (the cursed and previously undefeated Post Dig Picks) and second place Sober Bros to take home the title as the most improbable champions!
The Wolfpack were led by the Jason Cassie’s 42 points during the playoffs, cementing him as both a playoff MVP and most likely a Highlander.
Low Expectations 19 Suburban Legends 18
Low Expectations was one of the rare undefeated teams to break the curse, however they required a touchdown by Ryan Loewen with only seconds remaining to take home a one-point victory.
The underdog Legends kept the high-powered Low Expectations offence in check, but they couldn’t stop Jordan Loewen’s three sacks and three touchdown passes, the final one to his brother for the victory as the clock expired.
Suckskatchew1 8 Touched by Mummy 6
If you are a fan of defence, then this was the game for you!
Two of the top defences in the league met and it is not surprising that we had the lowest scoring final of the night. Kris Bulat had three sacks for Suckskatchew1 while Wesley Mustard had a championship night high six sacks for Touched by Mummy.
This game was tied at zeroes at halftime until Tim Jones hit Dave Trump for Suckskatchew1’s lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and then Kevin Strong for what turned out to be the game winning convert.
Fifty Shades of Brown 13 TD Twisters 12 (OT)
Fifty Shades of Brown were helmed by Bisons quarterback Jonathan Remple who, not surprisingly, led the division in touchdown passes and tied for the divisional lead with five interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
The TD Twisters did a great job keeping Remple in check for most of the game, taking Fifty Shades to overtime. Remple’s experience was the difference in this game however as he was able to find Mathew Jarrett for the lone convert in overtime to push Fifty Shades to victory in our second overtime game of the night.
Another heart-stopping finish.
Waverley Warriors 33 Athletes Foot 24
The Waverley Warriors were yet another team that required a tiebreaker just to make playoffs and then went on a run and eventually were the last team standing!
The Warriors were led by perennial all-star Kory Stagg’s five touchdown passes, three of which were sent the way of Kris Trask. Gabe Fiorino replied with four touchdown passes of his own in this shootout of a game in which the lead changed on four separate occasions. The Warriors were able to pull away when Kris Trask made three defenders miss on an incredible catch and run late in the fourth quarter, sealing his bid as the game MVP.
Hot Bottom Feeders 13 Suckskatchewan Seniors 9
The Hot Bottom Feeders came to play, avenging their regular season loss to the Seniors in a big way.
Kyle Smith was unstoppable this day, leading the Feeders with two interceptions and two touchdown passes in winning his first championship as a quarterback and knocking off the top-seeded Seniors. A well-deserved championship!
The Suckskatchewan Seniors are one of the league favourite teams and not just because of their love of football and fine whiskeys. These guys are always here to have fun in the league and the play the game the way it supposed to be played. Here is hoping they can break through with their first championship in the Spring season!
The PIT Football league is the official touch and flag football league of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. PIT Football would like to thank the Winnipeg Football Club for helping grow the game of touch football in the province!
Summer registration will open in mid-April. Stay tuned to www.PITFootball.com for more information!