Football Friday (7/26/19)

unicorns
Germany’s Schwabisch Hall Unicorns are Europe’s Top Team

Here’s a recap of American football leagues around the world:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Albany Empire enters the AFL playoffs as the top seed.  Returning home for the first time in nearly a month, the Empire made a statement in the team’s tenth win of the season, handling the Philadelphia Soul, 72-27 in the regular season finale. Albany dominated from start to finish and ended the game with the largest margin of victory in Empire history and the most points scored by one team in a game in 2019. The Empire remain home this weekend for the first game of a home-and-home playoff series against the Baltimore Brigade. The Philadelphia Soul (7-5) begin their quest for a fourth ArenaBowl title this Sunday at 3:30 pm against the defending champion Washington Valor (7-5) at Capital One Arena. Having fallen to the three seed after a loss to the Empire in the regular season finale, the Soul will host the second leg of the home-and-home series at the Wells Fargo Center on August 4th at 4 pm.

Final Regular Season Standings:

  1. Albany Empire (10-2)
  2. Washington Valor (7-5)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (7-5)
  4. Baltimore Brigade (7-5)
  5. Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-8)
  6. Columbus Destroyers (1-11)

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

Champions Indoor Football announced that the Duke City Gladiators had submitted a petition for a voluntary release from their league commitment. This afternoon, the CIF of Board of Directors voted unanimously to honor Duke City’s petition and release the team from the CIF effective immediately. All six remaining teams also reaffirmed their commitment to the CIF for the upcoming 2020 season.

“The owners of the six current teams of the CIF are working hard this off-season and are dedicated to the growth of the league as we enter our sixth season,” CIF Commissioner

Ricky Bertz said. “Our owners are dedicated to the CIF and continuing the league’s growth moving forward. We have six solid teams and will also continue to evaluate possible expansion options as we proceed towards the 2020 season.”

Champions Indoor Football announced today that the Duke City Gladiators had submitted a petition for a voluntary release from their league commitment. This afternoon, the CIF of Board of Directors voted unanimously to honor Duke City’s petition and release the team from the CIF effective immediately. All six remaining teams also reaffirmed their commitment to the CIF for the upcoming 2020 season.

“The owners of the six current teams of the CIF are working hard this off-season and are dedicated to the growth of the league as we enter our sixth season,” CIF Commissioner

Ricky Bertz said. “Our owners are dedicated to the CIF and continuing the league’s growth moving forward. We have six solid teams and will also continue to evaluate possible expansion options as we proceed towards the 2020 season.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (9-0) defeated the Tri-City Outlaws (4-5) 12-6 in a game that was continued after being postponed due to a torrential downpour this past Saturday. With 1:57 left in the first half, Bulldawg defensive back Randall “Bay Bay” Smith scored from the “Dawg-Cat” position on the first play from scrimmage. His run of 17 yards tied the game.  Read more…

The Oklahoma Thunder are looking to do something that’s never been done in before in minor league football, win four straight national championships. They’re well on their way to doing that after a convincing win in round one of the playoffs. Oklahoma took down the Joplin Crusaders with a 28-6 final score. With that, one step closer to returning to the national championship.  Read more…

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The owner of the IFL’s Grand Island-based Nebraska Danger announced the team will most likely be put up for sale. It is hoped a new ownership group would keep the team in Grand Island, but if that is not possible the team could be sold and moved to a new location. The Nebraska Danger joined the IFL as an expansion team for the 2011 season and just completed its ninth season.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Columbus Lions (5-8) stormed back from a 43-20 deficit to beat the Orlando Predators (2-12) in overtime 52-46. In doing so, the Lions clinched a playoff berth for the 3rd straight year and set up a future date with the Jacksonville Sharks.  Read more here…

Current Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (12-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (10-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-6)
  4. Columbus Lions (5-8)
  5. New York Streets (3-10)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-11)

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES:

CANADA

The Saskatchewan Roughriders came out on top in a back-and-forth battle against the BC Lions on Saturday Night, combining big offensive plays and relentless defensive pressure to claim the 38-25 home win.  A thrilling 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from Marcus Thigpen gave the Riders a one-point lead heading into the second half, but the Lions continued to stick around until three consecutive touchdown drives from the Riders in the second half sealed the victory.  Read more…

GERMANY

The German Football League returns this weekend with a full schedule of games after a four-week July break for most of the teams.

Two teams remain unbeaten so far as the GFL has reached the midpoint of the season. The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, winners of four of the last six German championships, and the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns who have won the last two titles.

There were a total of three games during four week break but this weekend, all 16 teams will be back in action.

EUROPE’S TOP 10

  1. Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (9-0 GFL) – Germany (Last poll: #1)The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns have passed the halfway point of the 2019 season and look just as dominant as ever. The Unicorns are on a 43 game winning streak stretching back to the 2016 German Bowl and show no signs of letting up. This year they have beaten the Marburg Mercenaries 52-9, the Ingolstadt Dukes 24-0, the Munich Cowboys 35-3, Kirchdorf Wildcats 51-12, Stuttgart Scorpions 63-13, Frankfurt Universe 31-0, Stuttgart again, 63-21, Kirchdorf Wildcats 56-0 and Ingolstadt Dukes 51-0.  Next up: Munich Cowboys, July 27.
  2. Swarco Raiders (14-0 – AFL: 11-0 CEFL: 4-0 Int.) – Austria (Last poll: #2)The defending Austrian champs have looked just as impressive as ever in running their record to 14-0 overall (4-0 in CEFL play) They ran through the AFL without a loss and then downed the Danube Dragons in the Austrian semifinals. . They defeated the Dacia Vienna Vikings in the ECTC final and then got by Switzerland’s Calanda Broncos to capture the CEFL title. In the other international games, Swarco disposed of France’s Thonon Black Panthers, beating them 41-7 in Central European Football League action and then beat up on the Italian champions, the Milano Seamen, 50-23.  Next up: Austrian Bowl XXXV vs Dacia Vienna Vikings, July 27.
  3. New Yorker Lions (7-0 ) – Germany (Last poll: #3)The Lions have looked every bit as impressive as their championship years. They have won all their games but were pushed to the limit by both the Dresden Monarchs, finally beating them 34-31 and also by the Hildesheim Invaders who they rallied to defeat 35-28, in the last game before the break. They had opened the year beating the Cologne Crocodiles in a back-to-back series, 23-6 and 45-7, and then took care of the only team that defeated them in the regular season last year, the Berlin Rebels. Braunschweig beat the Rebels 29-12. The Lions downed the Potsdam Royals 35-14.  Next up: Berlin Rebels, July 28.
  4. Hildesheim Invaders (6-1) – Germany (Last poll: #6)Hildesheim is so far the most improved team in the league and have won six of their seven opening games. They edged the Dresden Monarchs 31-27 and finally were beaten by the New Yorker Lions 35-28 in the last game before the break. Most of their other wins were by lopsided scores as they beat the Potsdam Royals 50-28, took care of the Dusseldorf Panther 49-17, downed the Cologne Crocodiles 31-14, outlasted the Berlin Rebels 56-41.and beat the Panther again 46-10.  Next up: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, July 27.
  5. Dresden Monarchs (5-2) – Germany (Last poll: #5)The Monarchs had opened the season with three straight wins – 49-13 over the Dusseldorf Panther ,42-14 over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and then a 17-0 shut out of the Cologne Crocodiles – before dropping two close games in a row, 34-27 to the New Yorker Lions and then 31-27 to Hildesheim. They rebounded beating Cologne again, 42-7 and then the Potsdam Royals, 33-13. Their two close games against the Lions and Invaders show they are definite contenders.  Next up: Dusseldorf Panther, July 27.
  6. Frankfurt Universe (6-1) – Germany (Last poll: #4)Frankfurt has opened the 2019 with four wins, – downing the Ingolstadt Dukes 37-13 and then getting by the Munich Cowboys 24-17, after beating the Allgau Comets 20-0 in their opening game and then downing the Marburg Mercenaries 20-14. They were brought down to earth with a thud, getting shut out 31-0 by the Unicorns. They came back and defeated Ingolstadt 63-13 and the Comets 34-7  Next up: Kirchdorf Wildcats, July 28.
  7. Calanda Broncos (14-2; NL: 11-1, CEFL: 3-1) Switzerland (Last poll: #9)Calanda put on a strong showing in the second half of the season, winning the Swiss Bowl in emphatic fashion, beating the Geneva Seahawks 31-0. They were oh so close to winning the Central European Football League title losing in the championship game 46-42 to Austria’s Swarco Raiders after leading much of the game. In rest of international CEFL play, the Broncos overwhelmed Turkey’s Koc Rams a few weeks ago whipping them 55-17 in Istanbul and last week beat the Kragujevac Wild Boars from Serbia 37-33.. Calanda opened the tournament with a big 27-3 road win over Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers.  Next up: Season over, Swiss champions
  8. Dacia Vienna Vikings (10-4 – AFL: 8-3, ECTC: 2-1) – Austria (Last poll: #7)The Dacia Vienna Vikings have reached the Austrian Bowl but needed a strong second half against the Prague Black Panthers in the semifinal to win 21-14.. They won all but four games during the year, three to the Swarco Raiders, the last one a 35-10 loss in the ECTC final. The only other team to beat them was the Graz Giants early in the season. In international play, they had big wins in European Club Team Competition (ECTC) action downing the Badalona Dracs 38-8 and Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks 60-0.  Next up: Austrian Bowl vs Swarco Raiders, July 27.
  9. Wroclaw Panthers (12-1; LFA: 10-0, CEFL: 2-1) – Poland (Last poll: #10)                  The Wroclaw Panthers dominated the opposition in Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego, finishing the regular season with an 8-0 record and then beating the Gdynia Seahawks in the semifinals 52-6 and downing the Bialystok Lowlanders 28-14 to win the title. In international play, the Panthers dropped a 27-3 decision to the Calanda Broncos early on but rebounded with big wins over the Kragujevac Wild Boars from Serbia and Turkey’s Koc Rams.  Next up: Season over, Polish champions
  10. Danube Dragons (7-5) – Austria (Last poll: #14)   The Danube Dragons came close to reaching the Austrian Bowl, losing a tough semifinal game to the Swarco Raiders 49-43. Danube had beaten the Graz Giants 24-17 in the wild card playoffs to earn the right to play in the semis.  The Dragons had fashioned a solid 6-4 regular season record with their only losses coming against the Raiders, as well as the Dacia Vienna Vikings and the Prague Black Panthers (34-31). Their performance against Swarco in the semis earned them their 10th place.  Next up: Season over, Austrian semifinalists.

(Thanks to Oursportscentral.com and American Football International for these news stories.)

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