Weekend Warriors get NFL-style experience

120 adult flag football teams played 251 games in the 16th annual Weekend Warrior flag football tournament at Bank of America Stadium.

They came from across the Carolinas and as far away as Florida and Maryland with names like the Fighting Koalas, the Penguins and the Straw Hats. They showed up in a dazzling array of uniforms with game plans to match for the Carolina Panthers 16th Annual Weekend Warrior Flag Football Tournament.

The field of 120 adult flag football teams descended on Bank of America Stadium and the Panthers PrimeSport Practice Fields on March 16-17 for the unique NFL-style flag football tournament. With early spring temperatures providing a refreshingly brisk backdrop throughout the weekend, the fun, camaraderie and competition was in full force. After 251 games, it was settled. The champions from the 2019 Weekend Warrior tournament are:

Co-Ed: Charlotte's Finest
35 & Over: Playmakers
Couch Potato Black: Frothy Boyz
Couch Potato Blue: Hi Five
Weekend Warrior: Lions Elite

A highlight from this year's tournament included the first-ever Panthers Legends alumni team featuring Chase Blackburn, Everette Brown, Kevin Donnalley, Chris Draft, Roman Harper and Mike Tolbert. They brushed off the rust to go 2-1 in their Weekend Warrior debut.

"It's great to see so many familiar folks who play in the event each year," said Panthers director of community relations Riley Fields. "The competition has always been terrific, but with each passing year the teams become even more sophisticated in their game planning and preparation."

Immediately following the championship games, players from each winning team met with officials from Jostens to get sized for their custom-made championship rings, which have become a hallmark of the tournament.

The event, which was sponsored in part by PrimeSport, raised $40,000 to benefit USO of North Carolina and Veterans Bridge Home.

Teams interested in participating in the 2020 Weekend Warrior tournament can check www.panthers.com in late December for complete registration information and details.

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