Category: Sports

Obscure Sports News

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Scores from Week 3:

  • Charlotte Energy 90, Peach State Cats 0
  • Carolina Predators 23, Carolina Cowboyz 14
  • Cape Fear Heroes 40, Georgia Doom 37

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

Antonio Bray rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third to lead Omaha to a 44-21 win over Wichita at Ralston Arena in Champions Indoor Football action on Saturday night. The win vaults Omaha back into 1st place in the CIF Northern Division.

The Beef (2-1) also had five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Chris Perry opened the scoring with a 28-yard return four minutes into the game, and Trey Dudley-Giles capped it with a 44-yard score with 36 seconds left.

The Beef led 30-7 at halftime after Bray scored from 1 yard out. But the Force (1-3) cut the lead to 30-21 midway through the fourth quarter when Mikhail Lindsay scored on a 1-yard run of his own.

The Beef answered with a four-play, 37-yard drive, with Bray rushing 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 remaining to put the game away.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Green Bay Blizzard defeated the Nebraska Danger on Saturday night at the Resch Center by a score of 60-50.

In a game that saw 30 total points scored in the last 2 minutes and 25 seconds of the game, the Blizzard were able to hold on to win. With the score at 45 to 35 in favor of the Blizzard, Danger quarterback Tommy Armstrong made his only poor throw when defensive back Bakari Triggs stepped in front of a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. As the Green Bay holder as well, Bakari took the bad snap and ran it in for the 2-point conversion. The Blizzard took an 18-point lead at 53 to 35. The Danger answered back on the next drive to score and add the 2-point conversion to bring the score back to a 10 point difference at 53 to 43. The Danger then recovered the on-side kick and 2 plays later scored on a pass from Armstrong to John Jackson for 24 yards. With the extra point good, the Danger were within 3 points with 15 seconds to play. The next on-side kick attempt was recovered by the Blizzard and 2 plays later, running back Rameses Owens ran in the final score of the game with only 6 seconds to play.

MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE

The Ron Newman Cup Playoff season begins on Thursday in Kansas City as the Comets host the Milwaukee Wave in the opening game of the South Central Division Championships. This is the eighth playoff meeting between these two teams in the past nine years. The Southwest and Pacific Divisions begin on Friday night as the RGV Barracudas host the Monterrey Flash and the Tacoma Stars host Landon Donovan and the San Diego Sockers.  The Eastern Division regular season champion Utica City FC travel to open their series against the Baltimore Blast on Saturday afternoon, one of three games that day.  The Divisional Championship round of the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs feature a home-and-home series between the two teams. If the series is tied after two games, a 15-minute Mini Game is played immediately after Game Two to decide the winner.

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Seattle’s Brock Staller is MLR Player of the Week

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY

The San Diego Legion battled RUNY in MCU Park and became the first team to leave New York victorious, winning 29-19 and earning the Week 12 Team of the Week Award. Seattle Seawolves wing Brock Staller spearheaded a 52-point offensive onslaught in victory over the Houston SaberCats, scooping Week 12 Player of the Week and becoming the 2019 season’s first two-time award winner.

Rugby United had yet to lose at home in their inaugural season, relying on one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Seven minutes into Sunday’s match, the San Diego Legion faced an early 12-0 deficit on the road in a game with huge playoff implications. But after half-time, the esteemed San Diego defense exerted control and swung the match, not allowing a single second-half point. The Californians’ well-rounded offensive unit won 100-percent of their scrums and saw five different players score a try, Joe Pietersen’s show-and-go solo effort a particular highlight. The Legion climb to third in the standings with the win, propelled by the league’s best point differential. Meanwhile, RUNY are on the outside looking in for the playoffs following the loss, sitting at fifth.

The Houston SaberCats and Seattle Seawolves played out a tight opening half at the newly opened AVEVA Stadium, only the second full-time rugby venue in the United States. But the second half was the Brock Staller show. After drilling two penalty kicks to extend Seattle’s lead to 19-5, in the 57th minute the speedy Staller intercepted an errant offload and ran over untouched from 60 meters for his fifth try of the season. By the final whistle, Staller had accumulated 22 points, a 2019 MLR single game record, and stuffed the stat sheet in the Seawolves’ 52-10 victory, piling up 127 meters on nine carries, four conversions, three penalty kicks and a try. Staller tops the league by a sizable margin in individual points scored, recording 128 points so far, 17 points ahead of second place JP Eloff of the NOLA Gold. This is Staller’s second MLR Player of the Week Award of the season, the first occurring in Week 5.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Orlando Predators’ franchise returned to the field after two years and started another chapter in a new league with a 43-40 win over the Columbus Lions.  Robert Brown Jr. intercepted the first pass of the season and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.  Orlando quarterback Kyle Israel had five touchdown passes including two to L.J. Castile in the final minutes as the Predators edged the Lions.

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE

Here are the current standings:

Eastern Division

  1. Buffalo Bandits (12-4)
  2. Georgia Swarm (12-5)
  3. Toronto Rock (11-6)
  4. New England Black Wolves (8-8)
  5. Rochester Knighthawks (5-11)
  6. Philadelphia Wings (3-14)

Western Division

  1. Saskatchewan Rush (10-6)
  2. San Diego Seals (9-7)
  3. Calgary Roughnecks (9-8)
  4. Colorado Mammoths (6-10)
  5. Vancouver Warriors (5-11)

NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LEAGUE

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath has been voted Week 1 NWSL Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association.

Heath tallied a goal and an assist to propel the Thorns ahead of the Orlando Pride 2-0 on Sunday.

Heath’s assist came in the 45th minute after receiving a pass in the 18-yard-box from Christine Sinclair. Heath pulled her defender wide and then backheeled a pass to teammate Caitlin Foord, who drove the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the match.

Heath’s goal came in the 49th minute when Foord returned the favor, sending a low cross to Heath, who pulled off a behind-the-back touch with the inside of her right foot to redirect the ball into goal.

Heath finished the game with four total shots, three on goal and eight chances created.

This is the second time Heath has been named NWSL Player of the Week. She last earned the honors in Week 6 of 2016.

PRO CHESS LEAGUE

The Baden-Baden Snowballs and Armenia Eagles rounded out the four teams have booked their ticket to the live PRO Chess Leagues semifinals in San Francisco this May. The Snowballs and the Eagles join St. Louis and Chengdu in qualifying for the event.  With Tuesday’s action coming to a close, the results mean that three of the four contestants will be returning to the semifinals, as Ljubljana was relegated during regular season play. The semifinals will see a rematch between St. Louis and Armenia, as Chengdu will take on newcomer Baden-Baden.

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Toothless Predators Enter The Playoffs

Toothless PredatorsI will save you the suspense.   No, the Nashville Predators will not win the Stanley Cup.

Don’t judge me.  I am fan of the Predators but after coming within two games of winning the Stanley Cup two summers ago, the Predators have not had that “it” factor since the bitter defeat in Game 6 against Pittsburgh.

It is amazing that the Predators managed to squeak past the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues to win the Central Division title on the last day of the season.  This season has been quite frustrating to watch the Predators.   They started the season on fire by going 9-3 in the first month of the season but injuries, lack of scoring and a season-long disability on the Power Play kept them from being the same team in the past two seasons.

The main problem with the Predators is scoring.  They can’t seem to find consistency with putting the puck into the net.  Aside from Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg, the Predators have no scoring punch.  The acquisitions of Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds have not fixed an inept power play either.  The defensive effort has been a glaring weakness at times with defenders giving up the puck in their own end too many times.  I have lost count the times I have heard the play-by-play announcers tell us that P.K. Subban  has turned over the puck.  If not for the awesome goaltending of Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, the Predators would have been sunk.

One of the announcers made a painfully obvious statement in one of the games when he said “you can’t score unless you shoot the puck”.   The Predators have driven us crazy with passing way too many times before taking a terrible shot attempt.  I have joked during the season that maybe we can get a banner for that too.   Stop looking for the perfect shot.  Take the shot!

One thing that we have also wondered about the team is if there are some problems in the locker room.  I haven’t heard or read about any rumors of any personality issues in there but there is definitely a problem as the team seems to be out-of-synch.  That “it” factor or “mojo” they have had in the past is definitely not there now.  They need to figure out how to get it back or they could be done early this season.

Tonight they open the playoffs with the Dallas Stars.  The Predators were 2-1-1 against the Stars this season.  If there’s anything we have learned about the Predators this season is that they play better on the road than they do at home and no lead is ever safe.

Oh I want to Predators to prove me wrong and win the Cup but honestly there are better teams in the playoffs with more offensive power than Nashville.  If the Predators can miraculously revive their 29th-ranked power play in the playoffs it might change things.   If they can build on the momentum from their come-from-behind win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the regular season finale, maybe they can regain that “it” thing.

I’m being a realist here and say that I expect the Dallas Stars to eliminate the Predators in six games.

 

Tale of Four Football Cities

4citiesWith the abrupt demise of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) this week, four cities once again are dealt with yet another football team to add to their defunct graveyards.  The cities of Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas have often been the victims of failed teams in just about every football league that attempts to offer their version of professional football.  Each one of these cities should get an honorary membership into the National Football League (NFL) for the pain they have endured over the years.

From the World Football League (WFL) to the Alliance of American Football (AAF), these cities have heard the promises of football only to see their teams disappear as quickly as they appeared.   Let’s take a look at each city, their teams and outdoor football leagues the have played in:

BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA3

Memphis Tennessee3a

Orlando Florida3a

San Antonio Texas3

Week 8 And Done – AAF Folds

AAF-foldedAfter eight weeks of the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) the league has suspended operations.  For weeks there had been rumors of the league folding before the end of the season and yesterday it was made official.  Tom Dundon, owner of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, stepped in early in the season with a $250 million investment to give the AAF some financial stability but after trying to force the National Football League Player’s Association (NFLPA) into a working agreement with the AAF, Dundon pulled the plug which ended the season in a week that saw the Birmingham Iron clinch a playoff spot and the Arizona Hotshots winning their third straight.

BIRMINGHAM IRON 17, ATLANTA LEGENDS 9

Birmingham Running Back Trent Richardson rushed for 83 yards and scored the game’s only touchdown to lead the Iron to a 17-9 victory over the Atlanta Legends to clinch a playoff berth.  The Iron only gained 177 total yards, but took advantage of four turnovers by Atlanta including two late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.  Set up by the Iron’s fumble recovery near the goal line, Richardson snapped a 3-3 tie with a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter. Quinton Patton added a two-point conversion on a pass from Luis Perez.

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 23, SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS 6

Led by two touchdowns from running back Tim Cook, the Hotshots beat the San Antonio Commanders 23-6 for their third straight win on Sunday.  John Wolford threw for 216 yards and a touchdown to Rashad Ross, who led Arizona receivers with 78 yards.  Trailing by nine points midway through the fourth quarter, Marquise Williams led the Commanders into the red zone before being stripped on a sack to give possession back to the Hotshots.  Cook capped the ensuing six-play, 69-yard drive for the Hotshots with a 20-yard touchdown to push the game out of reach.  The Commanders announced an attendance of 23,504 — the lowest of San Antonio’s four home games but higher than any other team in the Alliance has drawn for a game this season. The Alamodome was hosting a Sunday night game for the first time and also clashing with a San Antonio Spurs home game for the first time. The Commanders have averaged 27,720 fans for their four home games, while the rest of the league averages 13,524 fans through 28 games.

SALT LAKE STALLIONS 8, SAN DIEGO FLEET 3

The Salt Lake Stallions scored the game’s only touchdown near the end of the first half, converted the required two-point try, and that’s all they needed for an 8-3 victory over the visiting Fleet.  The only touchdown of the game came with Salt Lake at the San Diego 2-yard line with 4:18 left in the second quarter, Salt Lake quarterback Josh Woodrum bobbled the snap from center and even went to one knee before managing to hand the ball off to running back Joel Bouagnon.  As he crossed over the goal line, Bouagnon lost control of the ball. But the fumble, after review, was ruled after the ball crossed into the end zone and the touchdown stood. Woodrum then found Jordan Leslie in the back of the end zone for a completion on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.   The teams combined for six turnovers while the offenses failed to do much as San Diego had 264 yards of offense to 250 yards for Salt Lake.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 34, MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31

The Apollos took advantage of late Express miscues and scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to earn a 34-31 road win Saturday and clinch home-field advantage during the first round of the Alliance of American Football playoffs.  During the game, Johnny Manziel appeared ready to come off the bench and serve as a spark for the Express, but he suffered a concussion while trying to stop Will Hill III during an interception return.  The Express threatened to upset the Apollos (7-1) and led 31-28 with less than three minutes remaining amid heavy rain at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium when Memphis punter Ryan Winslow fumbled a snap inside his own 30.  Orlando took over and De’Veon Smith eventually rumbled to the end zone from the 1-yard line to give the Apollos a lead they would not relinquish.

FINAL STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • xy-Orlando Apollos (7-1)
  • x-Birmingham Iron (5-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-6)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-6)

Western Conference

  • Arizona Hotshots (5-3)
  • San Antonio Commanders (5-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-5)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (3-5)

x – clinched playoff spot, xy – clinched home field

STATEMENT FROM THE AAF:

“I am extremely disappointed to learn Tom Dundon has decided to suspend all football operations of the Alliance of American Football,” Bill Polian said in a statement Tuesday. “When Mr. Dundon took over, it was the belief of my co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, and myself that we would finish the season, pay our creditors, and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all.  “The momentum generated by our players, coaches and football staff had us well positioned for future success. Regrettably, we will not have that opportunity.”

STATEMENT FROM THE ORLANDO APOLLOS:

On behalf of everyone with the Orlando Apollos organization, we were shocked and incredibly disappointed to learn of the decision to suspend football operations in The Alliance of American Football. The Alliance produced a quality professional football product, and it’s been our privilege to build the Orlando Apollos into a championship team with a league-best 7-1 record. The Greater Orlando community embraced our team from the beginning. Enthusiasm continued to grow throughout the season as large crowds of passionate fans supported us at Spectrum Stadium for our home games, and many others watched and rooted for the Apollos’ success from afar. While all startups encounter some challenges, we believed we could address ours in the offseason after bringing the City of Orlando a championship and a successful completion to the league’s first season. We are extremely grateful to our players, coaches, staff, corporate partners and especially our fans who fervently supported us as Orlando’s professional football team. We hope to be able to share information from The Alliance about ticket refunds in the future. Thank you for your support and for believing in us.

Sincerely,
Steve Spurrier, Head Coach
Tim Ruskell, General Manager
Michael Waddell, Team President

PERSONAL COMMENTARY:

Once again the cities of Orlando, San Antonio, Birmingham and Memphis are burned by yet another failed football league.  The AAF showed a lot of promise and had the opportunity to be a viable spring league.  It is unfortunate that the survival of the league depended upon one rich investor, Tom Dundon, who tried to strong-arm the NFL into accepting the AAF as its developmental league.  It is also disappointing that Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian failed to prepare to sustain the league for an entire season.  They should have needed Dundon.  That is a result of poor planning on their part and now coaches, players and fans are out of a job.  The AAF had the best shot in years to survive with the caliber of players and coaches in the league.   To be clear it was Tom Dundon’s money so he had a right to control things but it was ridiculous for him to use his investment to force the NFLPA into an agreement.  Future leagues should learn this important lesson and not allow one rich investor to call the shots.  Dundon becomes the Donald Trump of the AAF.  Trump did the same thing to the United States Football League (USFL) in the early 80s.  But, you know, if I had $250 million no one would tell me how to spend it either.  It’s just too bad that the AAF’s survival hinged on one man.   The XFL should take note as it plans to re-launch next spring.

 

 

AAF Week 7: First Overtime & First Playoff Spot Clinched

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John Wolford Leads Arizona To A Big Win

Week 7 of the first season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) had a little bit of everything.  Just when you thought you had seen all the first of the new league, this week gave us a few more.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 36, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6

Led by running back De’Veon Smith’s three rushing touchdowns, Orlando beat the Atlanta Legends to clinch the first spot in the Eastern Conference championship game.  Any hope of a close game disappeared in the second half, when Atlanta turned the ball over twice to end promising drives. The first came in the third quarter, when Apollos cornerback Deji Olatoye intercepted a pass from Legends quarterback Aaron Murray and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to give Orlando a commanding 28-6 lead.  Murray threw another interception on the Legends’ next possession, to cornerback Cody Riggs at the Apollos’ goal line.  Garrett Gilbert added a touchdown pass to wide receiver Charles Johnson in the fourth quarter.

Next:

  • Orlando at Memphis
  • Atlanta at Birmingham

MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31, BIRMINGHAM 25 (ot)

With all the hype surrounding the signing of Johnny Manziel, it was Memphis Quarterback Brandon Silvers who led the Express to their second win of the season Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron in the first overtime game in AAF history.  Silvers went 24-for-35 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to wide receiver Dan Williams on a 10-yard slant in overtime.  The Memphis Express scored the final 17 points of the game after trailing 25-14 with 9:01 left in regulation. The performance of Silvers, the Express defense getting pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez and big plays on special teams carried Memphis to its second win of the season.  The momentum of the game started to change late in the third quarter when DeMarquis Gates blocked an Iron punt and defensive back Terrell Bonds ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown. It was the first blocked punt and blocked punt touchdown in the history of The Alliance.

Next:

  • Memphis will host Orlando
  • Birmingham will host Atlanta

SAN ANOTNIO COMMANDERS 19, SALT LAKE STALLIONS 15

Trey Williams’ 36-yard touchdown reception and Greg Ward Jr.’s two-point conversion catch with less than six minutes left gave San Antonio the win over Salt Lake in front of an Alliance-record 30,345 fans at the Alamodome. Williams took a short pass from reserve quarterback Marquise Williams – who entered the game in the fourth quarter for injured starter Logan Woodside – sprinted down the right sideline and leaped into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Marquise Williams then found Ward Jr. for a successful two-point conversion to put San Antonio up 17-9 with 5:29 left to play. On the ensuing possession, the Stallions drove 75 yards to make it a two-point contest after Terrell Newby’s 21-yard TD reception from Josh Woodrum on the first play following the two-minute warning. Salt Lake had a chance to tie the score on the two-point try but De’Vante Bausby stepped in front of Woodrum’s pass in the left flat and returned it untouched to make it 19-15.

Next:

  • San Antonio hosts Arizona
  • Salt Lake hosts San Diego

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 15

Behind Hotshots quarterback John Wolford, Arizona emerged from a back-and-forth first half with a slight lead and pulled away with a fourth-quarter surge to defeat San Diego, 32-15, on Sunday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium. The victory pushed the Hotshots (4-3) into second place in the Western Conference — a game behind San Antonio (5-2) — and into fourth place in the league with four postseason spots up for grabs. San Diego felWolford completed an efficient 15 of 19 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns to one pick, while adding 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Rashad Ross, a stellar receiver all season for Arizona, had three catches for 53 yards.

Next:

  • Arizona at San Antonio
  • San Diego at Salt Lake

AAF STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (6-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-5)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (5-2)
  • Arizona Hotshots (4-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-4)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-5)

AAF NEWS AND NOTES:

  • The AFF is moving its championship game from Las Vegas to Frisco, Texas. The new eight-team spring league said last week that the April 27 title game will switch to The Ford Center at the Star, which is owned by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys and is the indoor practice arena for the team.
  • Johnny Manziel’s first game in the AAF with the Memphis Express drew solid TV ratings. Over 250,000 tuned in for Manziel’s game against the Birmingham Iron on the NFL Network. Johnny Football slung it for 48 yards and rushed for 20 yards coming in off the bench in the winning effort for Memphis.
  • Tom Dundon, who just injected $250 million into the Alliance in February. Speaking with USA Today Sports, Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, said the start-up league could be in danger of folding without the cooperation of the NFLPA in acquiring young talent. “If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

 

Orlando Suffers First Loss In AAF

week6
Hotshots Bring Down Apollos in Week 6

Through five weeks into the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), it looked like Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos were unbeatable.  In week 6 they were beaten.  Here’s a recap of the games from Week 6:

Arizona Hotshots 22, Orlando Apollos 17

The Hotshots reminded the Apollos that no one was perfect as they held the Apollos to a season-low 17 points as the offense never really got on track.   The Hotshots were the ones calling the shots on offense, especially on the ground.  Tim Cook had 11 carries for 71 yards, Jhurell Pressley ran for 57 yards and Justin Stockton added 37 yards which wore down the Apollos’ defensive line while controlling the line-of-scrimmage.  Arizona was 2-of-2 in the red zone.  The win snaps the Hotshots’ three game losing streak.

Next:  Orlando plays at Atlanta, Arizona hosts San Diego.

Salt Lake 22, Memphis 9

Salt Lake started out strong offensively in the opening quarter jumping to an early 16-0 lead at the hands of QB Josh Woodrum completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Nick Truesdell on the game’s opening drive. Continuing with the league’s highest 2-point conversion rate, Woodrum capitalized the drive when hitting WR Jordan Leslie for the two-point conversion.  Salt Lake continued with their first quarter flurry by capping off a 44-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown from Woodrum to TE Anthony Denham. RB Terrell Newby caught a pass from Woodrum to convert their second consecutive two-point conversion to take a 16-0. Following a key defensive stop following on a surprise Memphis fake-punt, K Taylor Bertolet kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Stallions up 19-0.

Next:  Salt Lake travels to San Antonio, Memphis hosts Birmingham

San Antonio 37, Atlanta 6

The San Antonio Commanders scored early and never trailed as they defeated the Atlanta Legends 37-6 in front of 10,619 at Georgia State Stadium. The Commanders (4-2) set a season-high in points by scoring 37, and the defense matched its best performance of the year by holding the Legends (2-4) to just six points.  The San Antonio defense led the way by forcing four turnovers, marking the third straight week with three or more turnovers. De’Vante Bausby, Zack Sanchez and Derron Smith all tallied an interception and Duke Thomas recovered a fumble in the victory. Offensively, Logan Woodside completed 17 of his 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – one to Mekale McKay and another to Evan Rodriguez.

Next:  San Antonio will host Salt Lake, Atlanta is at home against Orlando

Birmingham 32, San Diego 29

Quarterback Luis Perez came off the bench for injured starter Keith Price and threw three touchdowns, and he led a final drive that ended with Nick Novak’s 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to lift the Birmingham Iron to a victory over the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The win ends Birmingham’s two-game losing streak.

Next:  Birmingham plays at Memphis, San Diego is at Arizona.

AFF News and Notes:

  • Johnny Manziel has joined the Memphis Express.   There has been no indication on when Manziel might see his first action in the AAF.
  • The Birmingham Iron’s front office has undergone a midseason shake-up.  Iron President Tom Ward and Vice President for Marketing Randy Campbell are no longer with the team. It’s unclear if they were fired or left the organization voluntarily.
  • Offensive player of the week: Birmingham WR L’Damian Washington. Washington had four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in The Iron’s 32-29 week six win. The performance marks team single-game records in receiving yards and touchdown catches, while Washington became the first player in Alliance history with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
  • Defensive player of the week: Salt Lake DE Karter Schult. Schult tallied five total tackles, two sacks and four QB hits in The Stallions’ 22-9 victory last week. Schult, who leads The Alliance with seven sacks this season, anchored a Salt Lake defense that held Memphis to nine points and 239 total yards while racking up seven team sacks in the win.
  • Special teams player of the week: San Antonio PR Greg Ward, Jr. Ward, Jr., a highly-accomplished quarterback at the University of Houston before transitioning to wide receiver/returner after college, set an Alliance record with a 79-yard punt return-touchdown in The Commanders’ 37-6 win in week six.

AAF Standings:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (5-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-2)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-4)
  • Memphis Express (1-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (4-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-3)
  • Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)

 

 

Minnesota Whitecaps Win Isobel Cup With Thrilling Finish

isobelMinnesota’s Lee Stecklein scored 49 seconds into overtime to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) championship final.  The Isobel Cup win comes in Minnesota’s first season in the NWHL.

The game was a defensive battle with both teams scoring goals in the first period.  The Beauts got the first one on a power play goal by Emily Pfalzer.  Minnesota tied it up just 1:22 later when Amy Menke scored on a breakaway.  The goaltenders shut down opposing offenses the rest of regulation.  Amanda Leveille made 22 saves for the Whitecaps while Nicole Hensley made 28 saves playing for the injured Shannon Szabados.  This was the first time since the NWHL switched to a single-elimination playoff system that the final has gone into overtime to be decided.

The Isobel Cup Final was played at TRIA Rink in Minnesota which was the tenth consecutive sellout for the Whitecaps.

Minnesota finished first in the regular season with a 12-4-0 record then defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-1 in the semifinals.  Buffalo finished the NWHL season in second place with an 11-4-1 record and shut out the Boston Pride 4-0 in the semifinals.   This was Buffalo’s fourth straight appearance in the final.  They won the cup in 2017.

The Isobel Cup is the championship trophy awarded to the NWHL champions.  It is named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy who was one of the first known women to play the game and daughter of Lord Stanley.  The National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley.