Under the arm of a former Islanders quarterback, a group of friends and classmates from the Mercer Island High School Class of 2007 claimed the Mercer Island Parks & Rec./Comeback Sports Flag Football League title at the South Mercer Playfields on Dec. 14.
The co-ed adult flag football fall league, organized by Comeback Sports, began on Nov. 9 involving 6 teams and around 70 players from the Seattle area, playing on Fridays and Sundays.
Calling themselves "Nelson's 007" — in honor of high school friends who moved away from Mercer Island — several alums from the class of 2007 found themselves moving back to Mercer Island after they had left for college and jobs. The tight-knit group of 10 friends formed a team to play in the city's fall flag football league, complete with old and new nicknames: Nick 'Longshot' Ketcham, Veljko 'Pepe' Kopjar, Steven 'Bubba' Frankel and others.
“These guys are an excellent example of why we offer recreational sport leagues” says Recreation Coordinator Ryan Daly. “It’s that community aspect that we want to see, and they definitely exemplified that.”
The “007 Nelson's” were a first year team and struggled early on.
“The 1st game was a wakeup call, zero team chemistry. Basically running around like a bunch of wild banshees” said Team Captain Nick Ketcham.
Though after a few practices the team had a rough play book put together and quickly became unstoppable.
After a first game (49-7) loss to the “SeaDrunks” of Duval who finished 6-0, the “007 Nelsons” wrapped up the regular season at an impressive 5-1 earning them a #2 seed and a bye in the playoffs. Riding a 5 game winning streak they cruised past the semi-final game with a 33-12 victory over a team out of Seattle. Following their victory they were expecting to play the #1 seeded “SeaDrunks” for the Mercer Island title, but the “SeaDrunks” were demolished by #4 seeded “The Roanoke”, which was comprised with players from the Mercer Island School District and Parks & Recreation Dept., who had to win two games just to make the Championship.
The “007 Nelson’s” came into the championship game against “The Roanoke” highly energetic and confident. Playing great defense and having a dominant offense was the key to their championship run. In the title game they didn’t deviate, forcing “The Roanoke” quarterback to throw 4 interceptions. The offense played extremely well also, QB Steven Frankel (An MIHS starting QB in the 2006 season) threw for 4 touchdowns in a dominating 39-13 victory.
Frankel was also named “Cliff Bar Player of the Tournament”.
Daly said the Parks & Recreation department had been running the recreation leagues for two years, and because of Mercer Island's central location he believed it's popularity would only grow. A new partnership with Comeback Sports will allow them to organize up to 12 to 14 teams for the following spring season, he said.