Football Friday

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QB Rakeem Cato leads Gulf Coast Fire to A-League Title

Here’s look what’s going on around the world with American football leagues:

A-LEAGUE

The Gulf Coast Fire defeated the Manatee Neptunes 80-20 to win the league championship. Fire quarterback Rakeem Cato left the Neptune secondary up in smoke, throwing 11 touchdown passes — five of which went to long-time teammate Tommy Shuler.  The Fire defense was scorching hot as well, picking off Manatee QB Matt Parsons six times and recording two safeties.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

The American Arena League Championship Game will be played on Saturday, June 29th at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia. Two undefeated teams will compete for the 2019 Jack Bowman Trophy. The Southern Conference Champion, Carolina Energy (Charlotte, NC) will meet the Northern Conference Champion, the West Virginia Roughriders.  Last Saturday, the Energy defeated the Atlantic Division Champions, the Carolina Havoc (Florence, SC) and the Roughriders defeated the American Arena League Mid-West Division Champions, the West Michigan Ironmen.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Washington Valor (5-4) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (5-4), 42-35, Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Valor wide receiver Josh Reese put Washington ahead when he recovered a loose ball following a missed field goal with just 14.9 seconds left in the game. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for the fifth time this season, accounting for five total touchdowns, including four rushing touchdowns. The win moves Washington into second place in the league standings, tied with the Brigade. The Valor are now 3-1 at home this season with two of their three remaining regular season games to be played at Capital One Arena.

Current AFL Standings:

AFL

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Omaha beef defeated the Oklahoma Flying Aces for the third and final time this past Saturday 71-51. Six straight wins for Omaha has them at the top of the CIF with a record of 7-1.

The Beef went up 13-3 in the first quarter. On fourth and goal, Derrick Bernard found newly acquired receiver Clinton Solomon in the corner of the end zone for his first touchdown in a Beef uniform. The Beef held Oklahoma to a three and out on the next drive, where the Flying Aces attempted a 61-yard field goal. On the miss, dangerous returner Chris Perry, returned it for a 50-yard touchdown.

Oklahoma turned in around in the second quarter outscoring Omaha 24-17. Flying Aces quarterback RayJohn Ramsey threw three touchdowns, with two of those going to receiver Torrance Carr. The flying Aces went back and forth with the Beef scoring wise, with a total of five lead changes. Omaha took a three-point lead right before halftime with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Javon Bell from Bernard.

Omaha came out in the second half blazing. Bernard threw two touchdowns to Kayne Farquharson and Donovan Rasberry, as the Beef stretched the led to 44-34 right before the fourth quarter. During the third quarter intermission, things got heated between both teams. A small melee broke out and the benches cleared. After getting everything under control, three Beef player were ejected. The incident awoke a sleeping giant, because Omaha rallied off 27-points in the fourth quarter and put up 70+ points back to back weeks. Derrick Bernard had another efficient day throwing the ball going 13-19 185-yards and seven touchdowns. Javon Bell was the leading receiver with five catches and three touchdowns. Newcomer Clinton Solomon only had two catches, but he provided the red zone threat Omaha was looking for, scoring twice on his two receptions.

Current CIF Standings:

cif

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Houston Raiders (1-4) topped the Joplin Crusaders (1-2), 8-6, in a shocker Saturday afternoon at Houston Baptist University in Houston. The Raiders scored in the fourth quarter, after Marcus Ross blocked a punt into the end zone and was able to fall on it to scored a  touchdown with 5:20 remaining to seal the victory. With the win, Raiders get their first ever victory in GDFL history.

The Oklahoma Thunder (4-0) dismantled the Memphis Blast (2-3), 78-0 after a dominating offensive and defensive attack. Offensively, they scored eight touchdowns, balancing out their scoring through the air and on the ground.

On defense, they forced four turnovers, including three forced fumbles and then got a safety, which that helped to take all the momentum away from the frustrated Blast team.

To the Blast credit, they kept the Thunder from getting too much in control after keeping it a two-possession game in the first quarter and did a solid job of keeping them from overwhelming them. Quarterback, Martavious Hayslett brought a spark to the team in the second half and had a number of big plays, including a crucial 15-yard run on third down.

Still despite his best efforts, his explosiveness wasn’t enough to get the Blast back on track and in the second half of the game, they imploded. In the second half, tackling proved to be a problem in the second game in a row, which allowed the Thunder to score a whooping 48 points in the second half.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The six-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (14-0) completed their first undefeated regular season in franchise history on Saturday, defeating the San Diego Strike Force (1-13) in front of 14,036 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

QB Drew Powell was 12-of-16 passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for two touchdowns.

RB Roland Genesy Jr. led the rushing attack for Arizona, carrying the ball 13 times for 100 yards and a touchdown.

San Diego QB Jihad Vercher was 11-for-28 passing for 93 yards and two touchdowns. RB Dominique Carson had 61 rushing yards, and WR Marques Rodgers and WR David Carter each caught a touchdown for the Strike Force.

Defensively, Rattlers DL Connor Flagel had two sacks and three tackles for loss, while DB Dillion Winfrey had five solo tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

DB Omar Cook led the Strike Force with eight solo tackles, while Rodgers and DB E.J. Johnson each had a fumble recovery.

Final Regular Season Standings:

IFL

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Jacksonville Sharks (7-1) enter Week 11 with a vengeance as they face the Empire State’s New York Streets (3-5) for a week one rematch. Jacksonville got off to a rough start in their home opener, losing to the Streets 52-41, their lone loss of the year. Saturday is the Sharks chance to get comeback with dominance.

New to the league, the New York Streets early season flare has faded within the tough competition of the NAL losing four of their last five games. However, against Florida teams the Streets are undefeated (3-0). Defeating the Orlando Predators twice and Jacksonville once.

The Sharks’ defense will face the challenge of stopping former Syracuse University quarterback, David Legree, who has proven to be very versatile on the ground and in the air. The dual-threat quarterback was the first signee for the Streets yet suffered a preseason injury that kept him out of the lineup until week nine. Legree faces one of the best secondaries in the NAL. Last week, the Sharks forced three interceptions and 4 QB hurries against the defending NAL champions. Seth Ellis is currently in the running for Defensive Player of the Year and has a seven-game interception streak. He is the current league leader in interceptions with nine. The Sharks strong defensive line looks to put pressure on Legree all night and add to their league-leading sack total.

Offensively the Sharks have given up the fewest sacks this season only letting seven. Behind the NAL’s best offensive line are Sharks quarterbacks Jonathan Bane and Mike Fafaul. The two have formed one of the most efficient passing games in NAL. They lead the league in fewest interceptions thrown, yielding only eight this season. Jacksonville is second in completions with 169, pass efficiency 57.5%, and passing yards with 1798. The Sharks are third overall in passing touchdowns this season (38), star receiver Devin Wilson owns nearly half with 17 of them. The Sharks also have a top-ranked running game, currently second in rushing yards (173) and yards per game (21.6).

Current NAL Standings:

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INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES:

GERMANY

The Hildesheim Invaders exploded for three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Dresden Monarchs 37-21 and stay unbeaten in the German Football League North division.

Trailing 27-12 with just over nine minutes left in the game, Hildesheim, aided by a pair of Dresden fumbles, staged a rally for the ages, securing the win with a punt return touchdown with 40 seconds remaining to record their sixth win of the season.

Invaders quarterback Casey Therriault completed 24 of 37 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 112 and another touchdown. Running back Sean Richard had 79 yards rushing and a touchdown while receiver Anthony Dable-Wolf enjoyed one of his best days of the season catching 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

FRANCE

The French Federation of American Football, FFFA playoffs took an unexpected turn this past weekend when the underdog Saint-Ouen L’Aumône Cougars knocked off the heavily favored and previously undefeated Asnieres Molosses 24-6 to advance to the French championship game for the first time since 2016.

This was also the first time the Cougars had beaten Asnieres in the two years the Molosses have been in the top league in France.They lost both games earlier this year to the Molosses, 20-7 and 32-7.  Add to that the fact that the Molosses had not lost a game all year. So this was a little unexpected. And it could not have come at a better time as head coach and general manager Xavier Mas is leaving the team after 20 years.

Running back Isaac Amoako was the main architect of the victory scoring two touchdowns, one on a pass from Luke Casey and the other on the ground. Defensive back Maxime Roger scored on a 45 yard interception return while Antoine Droissart kicked a field goal and all three extra points.

For the Molosses, quarterback Camile Thouary was held to 70 yards passing while Joel Fourn scored the lone touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

The Cougars did to Asnieres what Asnieres has been doing all year to teams. Used a stifling defense and an opportunistic offense. Saint-Ouen rolled out to a 24-0 fourth quarter lead before allowing the Molosses to score.

Saint-Ouen took a 10-0 lead into the break on one of Amoako’s touchdowns, a 29 yard reception and Droissart’s field goal. They added two more touchdowns in the decisive third quarter with Roger picking off a Thouary pass and then Amoako bulling his way into the end zone. Meanwhile, the defense played lights out football for three quarters.

The Cougars will now face the Thonon Black Panthers in the French final. Thonon defeated the Amiens Spartiates 22-7 in the other semifinal.

HUNGARY

Last weekend the Hungarian Football League playoffs kicked off with the wild card round. The Fehérvár Enthroners earned a hard fought 33-28 victory over a very tough Miskolc Steelers squad on Saturday, while one day later the Kiev Capitals had an easy 32-0 road win against the Győr Sharks.

ITALY

The Lazio Ducks survived a furious second half rally in Parma, Italy finally coming away with a 22-20 wild card playoff victory over the Parma Panthers this past weekend in Italy’s Div. 1.

The Ducks had built a 19-0 halftime lead, only to watch as the Panthers roared back in the second half, outscoring Lazio 20-3, but missing a game-tying two point attempt with zeros on the clock.

Game MVP was Ducks receiver and defensive back Lorenzo Melchiorre who was on fire scoring two of the three touchdowns for Lazio and grabbing one interception. He also punted twice for 104 yards.

Ducks quarterback Tyler Johnson threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns, two to Melchiorre who had five catches for 69 yards while teammate Anrea Rinaldi had six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown. Running back Mike Gentili returned from injury and had 15 carries for 79 yards.

ROMANIA

The Bucharest Rebels romped to a 34-14 victory over the Timisoara 89ers in Romanian Bowl X on Saturday night in Ghiroda behind a 269 yard, four touchdown passing performance from Stan Bedwell.

The win marked the fourth Romanian championship for the Rebels and the first since 2016. Bedwell celebrated his fifth European title since arriving in 2008.

The game started ominously for the 89ers as QB Charles Babb fumbled the ball away on the third play from scrimmage after being sacked by Codrin Cuciurea. Radu Ionescu was there to fall on it at the 19 yard line. Three plays later, Bedwell hit Daniel Marcu in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Bedwell’s two-point conversion pass to Bogdan Brindusa gave the Rebels an early 8-0 lead.

Minutes later, the turnover woes continued for Timisoara  as an errant snap on a punt attempt gave the Rebels the ball with favorable field position once again. A 24-yard completion from Bedwell to Brindusa on 4th-and-15 from the 89ers 25-yard line set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Rashad Dillard to give the Rebels a 14-0 lead.

The 89ers finally started to come to life in the second quarter as Valentin Cocrean made a fantastic diving interception on a Bedwell pass. This set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Jeron Jones to mark a halftime score of 14-6 in favor of the Rebels.

After struggling for over two quarters, the Rebels offense came alive late in the game scoring on their final three possessions. First, Bedwell hit Marcu on a 42-yard scoring pass then tossed the conversion pass to Brindusa to take a 22-6 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza, Bedwell threw long touchdown strikes to Brindusa (40 yards) and Silviu Ionut (63 yards) to complete the scoring for the Rebels. In between the Rebels fourth quarter touchdown drives, Babb connected with Cocrean from two yards out and hooked up with Remus Baizath for the two-point conversion to close out the 89ers scoring.

(Thank you to OurSportsCentral.com and AmericanFootballInternational.com for these game reports.)

 

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