Sunday 17 September 2023

Flaman morphs into “TD Noah” for Hilltops

Saskatoon improves to 5-0, locks up CJFL playoff berth

Noah Flaman has six TD catches for the Hilltops this season.
The end zone has become Noah Flaman’s zone.

In his first four games with the Saskatoon Hilltops this season, Flaman has caught 12 passes with six of those catches going for touchdowns. Those efforts saw “TD Noah” jump to the top of the Prairie Football Conference for touchdown catches.

Coming into his third year with the Hilltops in 2023, Flaman figured he would have extra opportunities to make plays. The 20-year-old said he has had success because everyone around him on offence is playing well.

“We lost six guys last year just in our receiving group,” said Flaman. “We had a lot of spots to fill.

“The message was next man up. We have lots of young guys, but we felt like we had the talent, we had the work ethic, and we do. We’re a young team, but we’re going to come out and we’re going to fight.”

On Sunday, the Hilltops didn’t need Flaman to catch any touchdowns as they improved to 5-0 wiping out the Edmonton Wildcats 52-7 in a CJFL regular season clash at Emerald Hills Regional Park in Sherwood Park, Alta. The Wildcats fell to 0-5 with Sunday’s result.

Star power running back Boston Davidsen ran for two touchdowns for the Hilltops, while Charles Sawi had a major on the ground. Trystan Ginther, Evan Ward and Drake Douglas all had touchdown catches for Saskatoon. Teijon Abel-Douglas hit a pair of field goals for the ’Toppers in the win.

Combined with the fact the Regina Thunder downed the Rifles in Winnipeg 23-11, the Hilltops officially clinched a berth in the CJFL playoffs. If the Hilltops beat the Huskies (3-2) this coming Sunday at Jasper Place Bowl in Edmonton, the Saskatoon side will lock up the right to host a Prairie Football Conference semifinal game to open the post-season.

Noah Flaman makes one of his six TD catches this season on Aug. 13.
So far this season, Flaman said one of biggest memories will be hauling in three touchdowns to help the Hilltops down the Thunder 36-6 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on September 9. In that contest, Flaman finished with four catches for 84 yards to go with his three major scores.

“It was cool,” said Flaman, who stands 6-feet and weighs 170 pounds. “Playing in Mosaic (Stadium) is always awesome.

“Coach (offensive coordinator Shane Reider) is calling good plays and (quarterback) Trey (Reider) putting the ball in good spots makes my job easy. It was good to get a good team win.”

Hilltops legendary head coach Tom Sargeant said Flaman has found a comfort zone with the red zone. The sideline boss said the veteran receiver has been getting good looks when the team is in the red zone which has allowed the sure handed pass catcher to haul in multiple touchdown grabs during the club’s first four games.

“He’s a red zone threat,” said Sargeant. “When we get in red zone situations and a team thinks we are running the ball, we know we are going to get zero one.

“Noah and Trey (Reider) have such a good chemistry together that they know what each other is doing and it has resulted in some might nice touchdowns plays. We know that teams are going to creep up and play a little bit more man-to-man. Noah is a man beater.

“He has a multitude of different patterns that make a big difference. We just make sure that we take advantage of what is in front of us. Coach (Shane Reider) makes some good play calls, and they execute it, so it is fun to watch.”

Noah Flaman caught three TDs against the Thunder on Sept. 9.
Flaman said he got into football early in life when his father, Cory, enrolled him in flag football. The pass catcher’s love for the game grew, and he ended up suiting up for the Saskatoon’s Holy Cross High Crusaders Football Team guided by long time head coach Scott Hundseth, who is a Hilltops alumnus.

“The Holy Cross tradition of excellence, there has always been a good team there,” said Flaman. “The coaching staff is awesome.

“There are lots of great players. Mitch Hillis is a physio here. He was a great receiver there.

“I look up to a lot of those guys. Just the tradition, you kind of see that here. It started at Holy Cross and then seeing the winning here just flew right in.”

When it came to joining the Hilltops, Flaman said it meant a lot when Hilltops receivers coach Barclay Schlosser called his place asking if he wanted to play. Flaman felt he really hit things off well with Schlosser.

The talented receiver also met a lot of players from across Saskatoon playing for Saskatoon Minor Football’s North Sask Academy program. A number of those friends were electing to join the Hilltops, which added to Flaman’s decision to stay home.

“I met a good group of guys here, and that really kept me home,” said Flaman. “You meet all these guys through high school and all the camps.

“That played a huge decision. It is a great group of guys and being home. It is a great team, and there is lots of winning.”

During his first two seasons with the Hilltops, Flaman said he learned a lot watching veteran receiver Dillan Heintz, who was playing his final two campaigns of CJFL eligibility, go about his craft. Flaman said Heintz did so many little things well and was awestruck by how well Heintz could block.

Noah Flaman can haul in those challenging catches.
“Being a receiver who doesn’t really like to block coming into this team, seeing him (Heintz) go out and work his butt off and feeling that throughout the whole team I think really just motivates everyone and pushes everyone else,” said Flaman. “Being a young guy and then trying to replicate that this year has been something I’m trying to work on.

“I think as a group we’re going to get more physical and kick butt throughout the rest of the year.”

As a sophomore receiver in 2022, Sargeant said Flaman started to come into his own and elevated up the Hilltops depth chart.

“Last year, we had a real deep receiving corps,” said Sargeant. “Noah worked his way into that mix and became very, very productive.

“During the off-season and with him and Trey, they’ve been together these three years. It was neat to see how they developed it together. Now, it is just a real natural feel with the way they play.

“Noah, he had a real good off-season. He trained real hard, and we’re benefitting with his results.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Flaman said the Hilltops are just living in the moment taking things day by day. With that said, he said the team is trying to build up to another gear as post-season play draws near.

“We’re really excited,” said Flaman. “We have lots of young guys, so we feel like we can make it through the whole season healthy.

“That next day, one day mentality, take it one day at a time. It is not all going to be there at once. Once we do get further in the season, we have to tighten up and lock down, because that is when it starts to get cold, it starts to get tough.

Noah Flaman and the Hilltops look to have more end zone visits.
“We have to focus up and play hard for the guy next to you.”

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