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LEGACY TACKLING MACHINE

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By Robert Balajadia

Kineshia_Front_00000One of the most feared defensive players in the Guam Women’s Tackle Football League is a 5’2″, 115-lb. tackling machine with a nickname too explicit for adolescent ears.  Team Legacy linebacker, two-time GWTFL MVP and two-time defending champion, Kineshia Flores has been the leader of a defense that presents little to no flaws.

Flores recorded a season-high 18 tackles in the 47-0 shutout of the Island Stunnerz in the GWTFL championship game, 31 tackles in the playoffs and 82 tackles in the regular season that consisted of seven games.

The GWTFL started out in 2012 as a six-player league meaning that only six women were allowed to play on the field at a time.  It kicked off its eight-player league shortly after where Flores began her reign as the league defensive MVP.  She probably could have won defensive MVP honors during the GWTFL’s first season in the six-player league, if she played linebacker.

Offense to Defense

Legacy Linebackers Cerena Camacho and Kineshia Flores making bringing down Stunnerz power runner Christine Deleon. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Legacy Linebackers Cerena Camacho and Kineshia Flores brings down Stunnerz power runner Christine Deleon. (photo by Jesse Castro)

When Legacy head coach Kin Salas and his coaching staff assembled Team Legacy they wanted to address a quarterback who was athletic enough to move around the pocket backed with an arm to throw the ball down field and Flores fit the description.  However, Salas noticed something special about Flores in the first few practices.

“I knew right away that she was a special defensive player.  She was the most physical player in practice and proved to be a very gifted tackler.  She has that motor, she keeps going no matter what.  Her drive and her fire are what separates her from everyone else.  She played our quarterback because she had the arm.”

From leader of the offense to the leader on defense, Flores has proved ready to take command as the vocal and physical leader of the team.  Morgan Reyes joined Legacy in the eight-player season becoming the team’s quarterback and eventually the 2013 GWTFL Offensive MVP.  This allowed Flores to assume the role her coaching staff believed she was best at, and she proved it.

“The coaches had a special meeting in selecting linebackers and we have two of the quickest and meanest linebackers in Kineshia and Cerena Camacho.  Everything on defense flows through them,” stated Salas.

Coach Salas continued saying,”The fact that she personifies confidence is what makes her special.  The offense loves to watch our defense play and we keep saying ‘Man, I’m lucky I’m not playing against that defense.’  There are few girls who have her dedication and she plays whether hurt or aching to show her teammates how to be a champion, how to win.”

Positive Reinforcement

Kineshia Flores raising up the GWTFL Championship trophy. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Kineshia Flores raises up the GWTFL Championship trophy on June 1st. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Flores is one of the most animated Legacy player on and off the field.  She encourages her teammates to perform to the best of their abilities while always doing so herself.  Teammate and fellow defensive star cornerback Cierra Arriola has been Flores’ teammate for the past three seasons and was more than welcoming when Flores made the position change.  The chemistry between the two have helped develop a very dangerous Legacy defense.

“We have developed great communication.  We can communicate with each other without verbal communications.  She is very motivational and very aggressive.  It’s rare to see her ever miss a tackle,”  stated Arriola.

Flores’ motor and drive was well presented to Arriola as she recalled the first few practices when Flores joined the defense, where it seemed Flores was out to get her.  “She always wanted to tackle me.  When we were doing ball-tracking drills, [Flores] would always move out of line to make sure we were lined up together.”

The league expanded from four teams to eight this season which not only meant more games but also new teammates.

One of her new Legacy teammates was Olivia Flores (no relation) who cashed in a masterful performance in the championship game earning Championship MVP honors.  Olivia plays on both sides of the ball as the running back and safety so she gets a first-hand look at everything Kineshia does on the field.

“[Kineshia] is a very dependable and smart player.  She does a lot of talking on the field but it is never negative.  She is very firm but always encouraging.  Instead of getting mad at us for missing an assignment she encourages us and lets us know we can do better,” stated Olivia.

League On Notice

Kineshia_Back__00000Kineshia’s teammates and coaches are not the only ones who notice her defensive dominance. 2013 League MVP Sindalu’s Deana Garcia has played against her for three seasons and knows how disruptive of a force Flores can be.

“She is one tough girl.  She is so small but she is a monster!  She plays with a lot of heart and she definitely has a drive for the game.  She’s very quick and she knows how to read the defense; We always try and avoid running the ball to her side but the trouble with that is their whole team is good,” stated Garcia.

Even the referees in the league notice the skill sets Flores brings to the field. Head referee Brady Duff said her tackling techniques are so precise, she rarely over-commits or gets caught in blocking schemes.

“If she puts on 25 pounds, she can tackle just as well in the men’s league,” Duff said. “I’m serious!”

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