Football Friday

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Milano (Italy) Runs Away to their third straight Italian Bowl title

Here’s a recap of this week’s report of American football from around the world:

AMERICAN 7s FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The A7FL, which is a 7-on-7 full-contact football league in which players do not wear hard pads or helmets, is in the playoff round of its 2019 season that featured a 16-team North East Division of teams located in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The A7FL is in its fifth season and eventually hopes to expand with various regional divisions across the United States. The 2019 regular season ran from early April to late June with each team playing seven or eight games.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

The owner of the Wheeling-based West Virginia Roughriders stated there is no truth to rumors the team will fold, but it is uncertain whether the team will return to the AAL next season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Balitmore Brigade (6-4) became the third team in the AFL to clinch a playoff berth and will be in the postseason for the third consecutive season.  The Brigade secured their position on Saturday, July 6 after the Atlantic City Blackjacks lost to the Philadelphia Soul.  Read more….

Current Standings:

  1. Albany Empire (8-2)
  2. Philadelphia Soul (7-4)
  3. Baltimore Brigade (6-4)
  4. Washington Valor (5-5)
  5. Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-7)
  6. Columbus Destroyers (1-9)

ELITE INDOOR FOOTBALL

The EIF recently announced two more new teams called the Northern Nemesis (Springfield, IL), and the Southland Power (Chicago/Palatine, IL) have been added for 2020 as part of the league’s new Mid West Division. The Southland Power was the 2019 champion of the semi-pro Indoor Football Association. The EIF previously announced teams called the Ozarks Mountain Express (Lebanon, MO), Music City Fire (Nashville, TN) and Louisville Kings would also join for the 2020 season.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Indoor Football League’s 2019 -United Bowl will be broadcasted on FOX Sports Arizona Plus as they attempt to win their second championship in three seasons. The game will also be streamed live on the free FOX Sports GO app and also on FOXSportsGO.com. Chris Harris and Randy Gatewood will continue to be the announcers for the bowl game as they have been for the Rattlers the entire 2019 season.

The Rattlers will face the Sioux Falls Storm (13-3) for the title. Sioux Falls has gone to the United Bowl in ten straight seasons, while the Rattlers have appeared in their championship game in seven of the last nine seasons. The 2019 United Bowl takes place Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Gila River Arena. Kick off is slated for 6:05 p.m. AZT.

The FOX Sports Arizona Plus broadcast, beginning at 5:30 p.m. AZT, will include a 30-minute pre-game show as well as a 30-minute post-game show.

The United Bowl can also be seen on YouTube. The official IFL channel can be found here: www.youtube.com/IndoorFootballLeague

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The #1 ranked Jacksonville Sharks (10-1) are sailing into Week 14 on a 10-game win streak, their third longest win-streak in team history. They travel to Massachusetts to take on the Pirates (7-4), who are on a streak of their own with six straight wins after defeating the New York Streets 54-52 last Friday night. If the Sharks win, they will clinch the #1 seed and secure home field throughout the playoffs. The Sharks currently lead the regular season series 1-0 against the Pirates after winning in Worcester 55-36 in Week 4.  Read more….

Current Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (10-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (8-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-4)
  4. New York Streets (3-8)
  5. Columbus Lions (3-8)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-9)

NATIONAL GRIDIRON LEAGUE

The indoor professional NGL, which failed to start play as planned in 2019, announced player combines and tryouts will be held in Brunswick (GA) later this month as the league plans for a 2020 season. The NGL has 12 proposed teams aligned in Eastern and Western conferences, each with three-team North and South divisions.

XFL

The new outdoor professional XFL, which plans to start play with eight teams in February 2020, was reported to have registered the Wild, Force, Fury, Dragons and Surge as potential nicknames for the league’s Seattle franchise.

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES

AUSTRIA

The Prague Black Panthers downed the SonicWall Mödling Rangers in a game that was closer than expected while the Danube Dragons got by the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants in a game that was just as close as expected as the Austrian Football League wound up its Wild Card weekend.

Both Prague and the Dragons move to the semifinals this weekend. The Black Panthers will travel to Vienna to face the Dacia Vienna Vikings while the Dragons head to Innsbruck to take on the unbeaten Swarco Raiders.

Read more…

BRAZIL

The Sampa Bowl, the São Paulo Football League championship final, is set! The Corinthians Steamrollers and Rio Preto Weilers will battle for the right to call themselves the best of the state of São Paulo in Brazil!

The Corinthians Steamrollers and Rio Preto Weilers had the best records during the regular season of the São Paulo Football League and now will face each other on July 14th at 13:30 (Brasilia Time) at the Iberapuera Park in São Paulo. The game will be televised by one of Brazil’s top TV station, BAND, and in its international channel, BAND INTERNATIONAL which will televise the game to six countries, including the United States, Argentina, Mozambique, Angola, Uruguay and Paraguay.  Read more…

GERMANY

As the German Football League has hit a four week break with only three games scheduled during that time, let’s take a look at the offensive stats leaders.

After eight rounds of play in the 14 game GFL season, there are still some surprising leaders in the three key offensive categories, passing, rushing and receiving yardage.

What is also clear is that no one team is dominating the stats although two teams remain undefeated, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.  Read more…

HUNGARY

The Fehérvár Enthroners survived a furious second half comeback by the Kiev Capitals to edge Kiev 14-12 to win Hungarian Bowl XIV and capture their first Hungarian title

Both teams were playing in their first ever Hungarian Football League (HFL) final last Saturday. Since the top league in Hungary changed its name to the HFL in 2012, no team based in Western Hungary has ever won the championship. However, Kiev, from the Ukraine, is not the first foreign team to reach the final. The Bratislava Monarchs from Slovakia won the title in 2015.  Read more…

ITALY

The Milano Seamen exploded for four unanswered touchdowns in the last 14 minutes of the Italian Bowl to pull away from a stubborn Firenze Guelfi team to win 62-28 and capture their third consecutive Italian title and fifth in six years.

Wide receiver Xavier Mitchell caught a diving 20 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Zahradka with just over a minute to go in the third quarter to jump out to a 41-28 lead in what had been a see-saw battle. That seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Guelfi, and Milano ran off two more touchdowns and then defensive back Marco Aletti scooped up a fumble with a minute let and raced 53 yards for the final score.  Read more…

SERBIA

The Kragujevac Wild Boars captured their fourth consecutive Serbian championship and ninth overall in beating the SBB Vukovi Belgrade 60-55 in a shootout at the “Čika Dača” field in Serbian Bowl XV.

The Wild Boars jumped out to a 40-27 halftime lead and boosted it to 46-27 before Vukovi mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback.  Read more….

SWEDEN

The Stockholm Mean Machines proved once and for all that they are for real in defeating the Carlstad Crusaders 49-35 to win their second straight Swedish championship this past weekend

If there were any doubters left, they are now on the bandwagon. Stockholm is back on top. They downed the eight-time champion Crusaders for the fourth time in four games although Carlstad kept it close until late in the fourth.  Read more…

(Thank you to American Football International and Our Sports Central for these reports.)

 

Football Friday

Let’s take a look at American Football news from around the world this week:

WVRoughriders

West Virginia Roughriders win AAL Title

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Staring a 15-0 deficit in the face, the West Virginia Roughriders (13-0) didn’t blink as Jarrett Brown overcame a terrible start to account for more than 200 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in a 55-29 triumph over the Carolina Energy Saturday inside a raucous WesBanco Arena crowd estimated at nearly 4,500.

Brown got the Roughriders going with a 14-yard touchdown scamper with 90 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Placekicker Anthony Prevost, the smallest player on the roster, took a pitch from holder Steve Penasuk and bulled his way into the end zone for a 15-8 reading.

A 7-yard scoring strike from Brown to Chad Walcott in the back of the end zone put the hosts back ahead 27-22 with 47 ticks left before the half. A safety on Carolina for holding in the end zone 21 seconds later bumped the count to 29-22. The first series of the third quarter summed up the second half as defensive end Shawn Oakman sacked Colon and forced a fumble he recovered at the Energy 1. Three plays later, Brown speared Beavers Jr. in traffic for a 35-22 lead.

This marks the second championship for the franchise as it won the 2017 Arena Pro Football title as the Richmond Roughriders. It’s also the third championship for the City of Wheeling as the Ohio Valley Greyhounds won the National Indoor Football League crowns in 2003 and 2004, going 14-0 the second season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Darius Prince scored three touchdowns as the Soul beat the Albany Empire, 54-43, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center to improve to 6-4. With the win, the Soul clinched their eighth straight playoff berth.  Facing a tough Albany defense, the Soul scored eight touchdowns in as many red zone trips as quarterback Dan Raudabaugh passed for 231 yards and seven touchdowns.

Current standings:

  • Albany Empire (8-2)
  • Philadelphia Soul (6-4)
  • Baltimore Brigade (6-4)
  • Washington Valor (5-5)
  • Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-6)
  • Columbus Destroyers (1-9)

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Duke City Gladiators are now headed to the CIF Champions Bowl for a second consecutive year, as they beat the Amarillo Venom on Saturday 70-62 for the Southern Conference Championship. The Gladiators trailed at the half and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and defense but they were able to turn things around in the second half though, as they scored 44 points and held off the Venom for the win. The Gladiators will now host the Salina Liberty in the CIF Championship game on July 13th in Tingley Coliseum.

The Salina Liberty are now one win away from accomplishing that goal, but not until after a few heart-stopping moments during a 44-42 victory over the Omaha Beef on Saturday night in the CIF playoff semifinals at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. What looked to be an easy victory turned into a nail-biter as Omaha scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes and attempted a two-point conversion play with no time left that could have sent the game into overtime. Linebacker Dontra Matthews was at the right place at the right time, knocking down Omaha quarterback Derrick Bernard’s pass to give the Liberty the win and send them into the league championship game.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Erie moves up from # 2 to the # 1 spot in the Nation after the # 1 team in the nation the Oklahoma Thunder tumbles to # 3 after losing to the #4 Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who move up to # 2. The #3 Huntsville Rockets drop a road game fall to # 4 after losing to the Thunder a week ago!!! Tri_City Outlaws remain idle at # 5.

  1. Erie Express
  2. Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
  3. Oklahoma Thunder
  4. Huntsville Rockets
  5. Tri-City Outlaws
  6. River City Pythons
  7. Cleveland Cobras
  8. Joplin Crusaders
  9. Georgia Crush
  10. Howard Huskies

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

UNITED CONFERENCE:  SIOUX FALLS STORM 52, IOWA BARNSTORMERS 50

The Sioux Falls Storm played the Indoor Football League’s reigning champions Iowa Barnstormers on Saturday, June 29 in the United Conference Championship. The Storm won their 15th Conference Championship after defeating the Iowa Barnstormers 52-50. Quarterback Lorenzo Brown completed 15 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three rushing touchdowns. Wide receivers Damian Ford tallied 144 yards for two touchdowns, Kent Shelby had 22 yards and one touchdown, Damond Powell had 22 yards and one touchdown and Brandon Sheperd had 11 yards for one touchdown. Kicker Parker Douglass made four extra points. Defensive back Trey Wafford led the Thunder Defense with 10 tackles and one pass break-up. Defensive lineman Charles Williams had one pass break-up. Defensive back Joseph Blount had one fumble recovery.

INTENSE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:  ARIZONA RATTLERS 62, NEBRASKA DANGER 45

The six-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (15-0) moved one step closer to their seventh title on Saturday as they defeated the Nebraska Danger (8-8) 62-45 in the Intense Conference Championship in front of 13,579 fans at Gila River Arena.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

Thomas Owens caught three touchdowns and returned an onside kick for a score to lead visiting Massachusetts (6-4) to a 61-37 win over Columbus as the Pirates increased their winning streak to five games. Quarterback Sean Brackett completed 20 of 30 passes for 205 yards and five touchdowns, while Owens was his top target with eight catches for 110 yards. Defensive back Lawrence Austin led the Massachusetts defense with 4½ tackles and two interceptions. Austin’s first interception set up the Pirates at the Lions’ 6-yard line, and four plays later Mardy Gilyard rushed into the end zone from 3-yards out for his 24th touchdown of the season to put Massachusetts up, 7-0. After Columbus (3-7) took a 10-7 lead to start the second quarter, Brackett found Owens for a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates back on top, 14-10. The Lions rallied for another score to retake the lead, but the Massachusetts offense got in gear, as Devonn Brown reeled in a 22-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates up, 21-17. Austin’s second interception on the next Columbus play from scrimmage set up a Mike Waver 44-yard field goal to send the Pirates into halftime up, 27-17. Massachusetts kept up the scoring in the second half, as Owens added a 27-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and a 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Mitchell Bell grabbed a 7-yard touchdown pass and Quayvon Hicks added a 5-yard touchdown run before Owens capped the scoring with his onside kick return from 7-yards out.

Current Standings:

  • Jacksonville Sharks (9-1)
  • Carolina Cobras (7-3)
  • Massachusetts Pirates (6-4)
  • New York Streets (3-7)
  • Columbus Lions (3-7)
  • Orlando Predators (2-8)

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES

AUSTRIA
The Austrian Football League playoffs kick off this weekend with the Wild Card Round. The Swarco Raiders finished the regular season in first place with an undefeated 10-0 record and earned a bye into the semifinals. Their arch rivals, the Dacia Vienna Vikings wound up second at 7-3 and also earned the right to play in the semifinals. The Vikings three losses came at the hands of Swarco to whom they lost twice, and the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants. The four teams battling it out in the wild card playoffs this weekend are the third place Prague Black Panthers, the Danube Dragons who finished fourth, the Giants and the SonicWall Mödling Rangers.

HUNGARY
The Fehérvár Enthroners will face the Kiev Capitals in Hungarian Bowl XIV on Saturday, July 6 at Hidegkuti Nandor Stadion in Budapest. The game is historic. This is the first time ever that a team from Budapest did not make it to the HFL championship game. On top of that, both teams are preparing to play in their first ever title game.

POLAND
The Wroclaw Panthers overcame mistakes and a stubborn battle from the defending champion Bialystok Lowlanders to down the Lowlanders 28-14 and capture Polish Bowl XIV at Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw this past weekend. Panthers quarterback Tony Dawson was a key to the win after throwing three touchdown passes and running another one in himself. Wide receiver and Game MVP Przemysław Banat along with Benji Barnes and Kacper Fiedziuk also scored for Wroclaw. For Bialystok, quarterback Rex Dausin scored on a one yard plunge and rookie kick returner Rafał Królewski scored on a kickoff return.

SWITZERLAND
The Swiss Federation of American Football – SAFV – National League semifinals kick off this weekend. The defending champion and 9-1 Calanda Broncos who finished first during the regular season will take on the fourth place 4-6 Basel Gladiators in one semifinal. The other features the second place Geneva Seahawks who finished with an 8-2 record against the 6-4 Bern Grizzlies who ended the season in third place in the SAFV National League standings.

 

 

Football Friday – 6/28/19

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QB Luke Zahradka threw 3 TD passes to lead Milano to Italian Bowl

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Championship week is finally here for the American Arena League title game. The Roughriders (12-0) will host the Carolina Energy, Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at WesBanco Arena.

The Riders advanced to the final with a 45-6 win over the West Michigan Ironmen in the Northern Conference Championship. The Energy come in at 9-0 following their 52-38 win over the Carolina Havoc in the Southern Conference Championship Game.

The Roughriders have been just as dominant in the playoffs as they were during the regular season outscoring their two opponents, 102-19. The Roughriders defeated the Energy last season in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Columbus Destroyers fell to the Philadelphia Soul, 42-35, on Saturday night in front of 7,604 fans at Nationwide Arena, the largest crowd of the season. With the loss, the Destroyers drop to 1-8 on the season. Quarterback Grant Russell completed 23 of his 39 passes for 237 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in the loss. Wide receiver Fabian Guerra hauled in nine passes for 75 yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Paul Browning caught two more scores.

Current Standings:

  • Albany Empire (8-1)
  • Baltimore Brigade (5-4)
  • Philadelphia Soul (5-4)
  • Washington Valor (5-4)
  • Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-6)
  • Columbus Destroyers (1-8)

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Columbus at Baltimore
  • Albany at Philadelphia
  • Atlantic City at Washington

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Omaha Beef (8-4) defeated the Sioux City Bandits (7-5) 60-50 in a win to get in scenario Saturday night. The win put them in position to play Salina for the third time this season and a shot to play in the CIF Championship.

During the third quarter, the scoring amongst both teams went back and forth with a quarterback duel in the air and on the ground. Both Derrick Bernard and Turner had two passing touchdowns in the quarter, but the legs of Bernard changed the game after his 26-yard rushing touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Omaha took the lead for the first time since the second quarter (39-34). The Bandits battled back after scoring a touchdown and recovering an onside kick to take the lead right after. Bernard was able to keep his composure and lead the Beef to another score and Jermicheal Williams closed the game with his second onside kick recovery for a touchdown on the season.

Current Standings:

  • Northern Division
    • Salina Liberty (8-4)
    • Omaha Beef (8-4)
    • Sioux City Bandits (7-5)
    • Wichita Force (2-10)
  • Southern Division
    • Duke City Gladiators (9-3)
    • Amarillo Venom (8-4)
    • Oklahoma Flying Aces (2-10)

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Omaha at Salina
  • Amarillo at Duke City

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF RESULTS:
SIOUX FALLS STORM 50, TUCSON SUGAR SKULLS 47
The Sioux Falls Storm moved to 12-3 after defeating the Tucson Sugar Skulls 50-47 on Sunday, June 23. The Sugar Skulls would be the first to score in the fourth quarter after a six-yard touchdown pass by Jake Medlock to Jeremiah Harris to bring the score to 36-34. The Storm answered with a six-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown to put the Storm up 43-34. The Sugar Skulls would respond with a 12-yard touchdown pass by Jake Medlock Shaquan Curenton to bring the score to 43-41. The Storm answered with a seven-yard rushing touchdown by Calen Campbell to give the Storm a 50-41 lead. The Sugar Skulls would end the game with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Matt Behrendt and an unsuccessful two-point conversion to bring the final score to 50-47.

NEBRASKA DANGER 45, GREEN BAY BLIZZARD 40
In the Blizzard’s first playoff appearance since 2012 they played tight all the way through, but ultimately came up short losing 45-40. The Blizzard defense stopped the Danger twice on the goal line in the closing minutes to give the Blizzard the ball with a 39-40 lead and just seconds remaining on the clock. However, an untimely fumbled snap gave the Danger the ball once more and they took advantage. Running Back Davonte Sapp-Lynch found the end zone with a 2 yard score giving the Danger a 45-40 lead with just 35 seconds remaining on the clock. Following a return by veteran B.J. Hill, the Blizzard had great field position, but were unable to convert as a last second heave from Quarterback Lenorris Footman was knocked away by the Danger defense as time expired.

This Week’s Schedule:

  • United Conference Championship:  Sioux Falls at Iowa
  • Intense Conference Championship:  Nebraska at Arizona

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Massachusetts Pirates (5-4) extended their win streak to four games defeating the Columbus Lions (3-5) 59-50. The win puts the Pirates over the .500 record mark for the first time this season. Sean Brackett led the Pirates offense, completing 25 of his 37 passes with 273 yards through the air and six total touchdowns. Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard caught 11 balls for 113 yards and four touchdowns, and also added a rushing score. The Lions were guided by Luke Collis, who went 21-43 with 305 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions.

The Lions started the fourth quarter with another Collis-to-Mack touchdown, which marked the fourth time the duo connected for six points in the contest. The score put the Lions within three points of the Pirates, as they then trailed 46-43. However, Brackett led his offense downfield and completed the drive by doing his best Tom Brady impression as he went up-and-over the linemen to sneak it in from one-yard out on fourth and goal. Collis responded with another touchdown, this time finding receiver Chris Sanders-McCullum from three yards out. The Pirates put the game out of reach on their following drive when Gilyard rushed for a three-yard touchdown with under a minute left in the game. The Pirates defense put the nail in the coffin on the final Lions possession of the game when linebacker Tavarus Dantzler hit Collis as he released a pass, causing the ball to spring up into the air and land into the hands of Toby Johnson for the interception to seal the nine point win.

Current Standings:

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

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Massachusetts at Columbus
  • Jacksonville at New York
  • Carolina at Orlando

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES:

AUSTRIA

Europe’s American football community will be keeping a close eye on Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium Saturday, June 29 when the current Austrian and CEFL Champion, the Swarco Raiders, will host the Dacia Vienna Vikings, Austrian Bowl record holders and five time European Champions, for the 2019 ECTC championship title.

The European Club Team Competition has reached its final and most important event in its very first year of existence. Organized by IFAF Europe, the ECTC started with a total of 13 teams from 11 different countries – Austria, France, Sweden, Serbia, Finland, Turkey, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Poland – and has now been whittled down to two.

Vienna’s road to the ECTC Final saw them defeat the Badalona Dracs from Barcelona, Spain 38-8. They had soundly defeated Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks in the opening game of the tournament. With that victory, the Vikings won the ECTC Central Division.

The Vikings were to have faced the Helsinki Roosters, winners of the Northern European Football League crown, to decide the ECTC final, but Helsinki was unable to play in the final leaving the Vikings with a walkover.

Swarco needed a late-game rally to defeat the Calanda Broncos 46-42 in CEFL Bowl XIV to capture their third straight title and qualify for the ECTC final. They had previously defeated France’s Thonon Black Panthers who they dominated 41-7. They then manhandled the Milano Seamen from Italy, 50-23.

Dacia Vikings Head Coach Chris Calaycay, Swarco Raiders HC Shuan Fatah and IFAF Europe Director Gregor Murth presented their views prior to this important match-up.

CANADA

Lucky Whitehead scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 28-21 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in their first home game of 2019.

The first-year receiver dazzled a crowd of 25,336 at IG Field in Winnipeg, scoring a 75-yard touchdown in the first half and eluding defenders for a highlight-reel 41-yard catch and run in the third quarter.

The Bombers, meanwhile, survived a late-game turnover on a fumble by Andrew Harris — one of two fumbles on the night — forcing three straight incompletions to hold off a late rally from the Eskimos and preserve the victory.

GERMANY

The 5-2 Stuttgart Scorpions withstood a late rally to edge the Munich Cowboys (2-4) 21-19 in German Football League seventh round action at GAZi-Stadion in Stuttgart this past weekend.

The Cowboys, trailing 21-6, dominated the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns but missing a 42 yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

Stuttgart had built a 21-6 lead early in the fourth when the Cowboys mounted their furious comeback.

Stuttgart quarterback Michael Eubank threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 29 passing. Wide receiver Pascal Flöser had four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown while Tyler Cooperwood had two receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. while rushing for another. Flöser kicked all three extra points.

ITALY

The Milano Seamen are headed to their sixth Italian Bowl in seven years and third straight after shutting out the Lazio Ducks 38-0 in Milan this past weekend in Itay’s Div. 1 semifinals.

There was no doubt in this game as the Seamen jumped out to a 27-0 first half lead and never looked back as Lazio’s offense sputtered all game long. While Milano recorded modest numbers totaling 242 yards of offense, they didn’t need to do more as the Ducks could only muster 96 yards of offense, only 30 in the air.

Milano’s stifling defense was too much for a Lazio team that coughed up the ball time and again. The Ducks fumbled three times, all of which led to scores. They also had a punt blocked on the goalline and that too led to a touchdown.

Seamen quarterback Luke Zahradka was an efficient 15 of 23 for 206 yards and three touchdowns with Gianluca Santagostino catching four passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Claudio Buccellato caught the third. Danilo Bonaparte rushed for one touchdown and Arnaud Mboutcha recovered a fumble in the end zone for the fifth Milano touchdown. Stefan Di Tunisi had a quiet day on offense but kicked a field goal and four extra points.

So the Seamen will now face the Firenze Guelfi in the Italian Bowl, July 6.

POLAND

Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego championship game this Saturday pits the 2018 champion Bialystok Lowlanders against the 2017 Polish champions, the Wroclaw Panthers in a rematch of the 2018 final.

Bialystok edged the Panthers 14-13 in the 2018 final winning their first ever Polish title.

To reach this year’s final, the Panthers, playing in the South Conference, finished the eight-game regular season without a loss. They then cruised to an easy 52-6 win over the Gdynia Seahawks in the semifinals.

Bialystok topped the North Conference with a 6-2 record and in the semifinal round shocked the Tychy Falcons, beating them 49-19.

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:

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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:

nal

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.)

 

Henning Named Boot Scooters Coach

The Nashville Boot Scooters introduced Kevin Henning as their coach for the X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) franchise.

Henning formerly coached the Boston Night Riders of Major League Qudditch (MLQ). He had led Boston to league titles in 2015 and 2016.  He has a record of 29-12 over four seasons.

“I am excited to be here and to be a part of this unique league. It will be fun putting this team together and giving the fans a team they can be proud of.”

Nashville team manager Ryan Cooper was happy to snag Henning as the franchises’ first coach.

“He is a well known coach in the quidditch community. He knows how to put together a competitive team. Nashvillans don’t know it now but they will see the results on the field later.”

So what’s the next step for the Boot Scooters?

“We need to fill the roster and start practicing,” said Henning. “It is very important to get players playing together and in sync. You can’t just throw people out there and expect them to play well. This isn’t a playground league.  It requires timing, stamina and you have to be able to take the contact.”

Henning is known for his blunt comments but is also a fun coach. After winning back-to-back titles with Boston, he took his players to Fenway Park to give Red Sox players a chance to try quidditch.

Henning was also asked about Nashville Mayor’s threat to ban electric scooters.

“I think the city has more pressing problems to worry about than scooters. I mean that’s my personal opinion. To be fair, I am just visiting Nashville for the first time so I really don’t know the frustration people are having with it. I just think the mayor needs to concentrate on other things.”

Henning plans to take advantage of the open tryouts as well as experienced players from MLQ to fill the Boot Scooters roster.

Cooper also announced that the XSQL has reached a deal with the SciFi Network to televise weekly league games this season.  The network will feature a game-of-the-week of one live game on a weekend night during the season.  More details will be released when the league reveals the regular season schedule.  The regular season will be played in October.  Each team will play 14 regular season games followed by the playoffs.

The Boot Scooters are also narrowing down locations for their “home” field with Centennial Park, Bicentennial Park and a location in the Gulch in consideration.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

Pro Scooter League Reveals Rules

XSQL_photoThe new X-treme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) has hinted about the rules of this new hybrid sport since announcing their launch in the Spring. League officials have stated that the new sport would feature rules which are a variation of the fictional sport of quidditch. The most obvious difference, of course, is that the players will ride electric scooters instead of flying on broom sticks.

The use of electric scooters will add a twist to the game but fans should expect the same excitement as the game that was shown in the Harry Potter movies with the exception of the aerial maneuvers.  XSQL Commissioner Mark Rockwell says that the scooters will be the key component to make it work.

“We are currently working with a company to design special scooters for the league,” he said.

Rockwell would not reveal the company name at this time.

“The main difference will be the steering so that players will not need to keep both hands on the scooter if they are in possession of quaffle, bludgers or snitch.”

Yes, all those terms will be a challenge for anyone not familiar with quidditch.

The field will be SportCourt which is a form of artificial turf used by some college field hockey teams.  The surface is flat and will not impede scooters like natural grass fields would.  The field is rectangular with rounded corners (60 yards by 36 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at each end.  The ultimate goal is to score more points than the other team by the time the snitch is caught.  The snitch is a tennis ball placed at the bottom of a yellow long pouch which is attached to the back of the player’s shorts as if it were a tail.

XSQL Rules“We still have some work to do on the rules but we will do our best to stick to the original quidditch game.  Obviously some variations are needed with using electric scooters,” Rockwell added.

The game will be shorter with four 10-minute quarters rather than traditional quidditch so that players can keep their scooters charged.  Quick chargers will be available between quarters to allow players to keep sufficient charge.

In response to Mayor Briley’s threat to ban scooters, the Nashville Boot Scooters conducted their first educational party last weekend.  Thousands attended the party as the XSQL gave out hundreds of helmets to scooter riders in an attempt to help with safety issues raised by the mayor.  The party also included scenes from Harry Potter of quidditch as a way to attract attention to safety tips for riding scooters downtown.

“We hope it will be effective,” said team manager Ryan Cooper.  “I have seen a few riders whiz by me this morning wearing the helmets and abiding by the rules but there are many more who are not.  I’m not sure if we are going to be able to meet the mayor’s demands or not but we are doing what we can.”

The Boot Scooters are planning to hold another open tryout this weekend as they will be in Centennial Park on Saturday from 1-5.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY.  IT IS ONLY INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

 

Battle of the PKs

In-Ground-Basketball-HoopsIn the late spring of 1981, there was an epic basketball clash which took place that you may have not known about.  While the Boston Celtics with Larry Bird were facing the Houston Rockets led by Moses Malone in the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals, the unofficial Preacher’s Kid Basketball Association championship was being played out in the backyard of my house on Ogeechee Road in Savannah, Georgia.

My dad was the pastor of a church in Savannah.  During one week in late May, he scheduled a revival with a traveling evangelist at our church.  The evangelist arrived with his camper in tow along with his wife and son.  They were a big-time husband and wife team back then and my dad had snagged a revival.

The son – who I will call “Harold” – was a brat.  I don’t know any nice way to put it.  I tried to get along with him but he would kick and punch me when our parents weren’t looking.  When I would try to retaliate or defend myself,  he would curl up in a ball and call out for his mommy.  Yep, I knew it was gonna be a long week.

During this time, I was a junior in high school.  Harold was two years younger than me and was home schooled by his mommy in their little camper.

Harold was annoying and I was warned to play nice.

I had basketball goal that I had in the backyard and thought this might be a good distraction for him so we started with shooting some hoops and talking about the NBA finals.  He was good at trash talking and making fun of the fact that I liked Moses Malone and the Rockets.  I think he would have picked the opposite of whatever I had said anyway.   Did I mention he was annoying?

Finally, he threw down a challenge.

“I bet I can beat you in a game,” he said.

“Oh really,” I looked at him sideways.  There was no way this brat could beat me.

Although he was big for his age, I knew I could beat him and I wanted to shut his mouth.

“You’re on.  Let’s make it a best-0f-seven series like the NBA,” I proposed.  “We will play every day when I get home from school.”

The battle was on.

Each game was played to 21.  I thoroughly trounced him in the first two games.  He was no competition.   His trash talking grew silent as I was dribbled around him on the dirt court and cut to the basket like Moses Malone would have.  He couldn’t block any of my shots unless he fouled me.  I relished in the way I was easily scoring on him.

Midway through the third game of our championship series, I could see the light leave his face and the arrogance was being drained from him.

This is when I made a crucial mistake.  I felt sorry for the brat.

It wasn’t much fun beating the crap out of him and I wanted some kind of competition so I did the unthinkable – I let him score a few baskets to make the game close.

Then I let him win the next game – huge mistake.  I now led the series 3-1.

In game 5, he resorted to fouling – a lot.  I still let him stay close and he hit some impossible shots with his awkward style – if you can call it that – and he pulled out a stunning win to pull the series back within 3-2.

The light was back in his face and the trash talking returned.  I was intent on ending the series in game 6.  Dispose of him and be done with it.

He played the best game of our series and I couldn’t hit anything.  He won another close game and now the series was tied 3-3.

Our game 7 was played on a Saturday so I didn’t have school and had all day to get ready.  I felt some nerves and felt the pressure of the do-or-die finale with the bratty preacher’s kid.  The nerves showed in my game.  My usual moves failed me and my shooting percentage was way off.  I couldn’t hit the side of a barn.  Meanwhile, everything was falling for Harold.  He got more vocal with each score.  The game went back and forth.  I wasn’t going to show any mercy or let him score anything.  My game failed me.  Harold hit the game winning basket.

Harold won.  I dropped my head in defeat while Harold jumped around me and yelled in my face something about being the best and beating me.

To make matters worse, he bragged about it to the entire church that night – the final night of the revival.

Everyone looked at me, then looked at him.  They were puzzled.

How was this possible?

I didn’t bother with the “I let him win” explanation.   That would certainly be the loser’s claim in any defeat.

I never saw Harold again.  I never wanted to.

A rematch?  What good would that do?

Boston defeated Houston in six games to win the NBA title in 1981.

I lost to a bratty P.K. in seven games.

The agony of defeat still stings as much as the stupidity over the decision to let him win a few games.

 

XSQL Responds To Nashville Mayor Threat to Ban Scooters

Last week, Nashville Mayor David Bailey issued an ultimatum to scooter companies operating downtown to get control of scooter issues in 30 days or he would push for them to be banned.

The Xtreme Scooter Quidditch League (XSQL) is hoping to broker the problems between the mayor’s office and scooter companies to resolve the issues.

“We want to bring a solid resolution to the concerns brought up by the mayor and help the scooter companies in meeting the 30-day deadline,” said XSQL Commissioner Mark Rockwell.

Responding to downtown complaints, Briley has raised concerns over the clutter of scooters on the city streets as well as the safety issues of riders not wearing helmets or riding scooters in the appropriate areas.

Nashville Boot Scooters Team Manager, Ryan Cooper agrees with the mayor.

“He’s absolutely correct. Things have gotten out of hand with the management of the scooters. There have been too many too fast and it has overwhelmed the city. Now is the time to get a handle on it.”

The Boot Scooters are already proactive with the helmet issue by distributing free helmets to riders. Cooper, who formerly worked with the Nashville Predators, also got 100 Predators’ hockey helmets donated to distribute to riders.

“Most scooter riders have this idea that wearing helmets aren’t cool,” Cooper said. “By having the Predators donate some helmets we are hoping they will think it is the cool thing to wear a Predators’ helmet,”

The Boot Scooters are also providing their own helmets hoping to promote the new team and league. Other businesses such as Tootsies and Acme Feed ‘n Seed have also sponsored helmets.

Rider safety is another hot topic on the Mayors concern.

The Boot Scooters are going to hold rider parties over the next few weeks with the goal of enforcing the rules of the road for scooter riders. The local XSQL franchise is working with the league to sponsor the “educational parties” with free giveaways and merchandise to encourage attendance and get the attention of scooter riders. Several local sports personalities have agreed to participate in the parties.

“We’re hoping that the party atmosphere along with some local celebrities will help bring in scooter riders and spread the word about safety and the proper use of electric scooters.”

The Boot Scooters have already teamed up with Bird and Lime to provide sponsorship to the events.

“I think it’s great that this new league is working with us and the mayor’s office to help us to meet the demands by the city,” said local Bird representative Eric Wallace. “We really don’t need any bad press over this so the XSQL’s involvement is key.”

The first “educational electric scooter” party will be held at the plaza in front of Bridgestone Arena on Friday at 6 p.m.

The Nashville Boot Scooters are one of eight teams scheduled to play in the XSQL’s first season in October. The sport is a hybrid merging of electric scooters and quidditch. Instead of broomsticks, players will “fly” around on scooters.

[THIS IS A FICTIONAL SPORTS STORY. IT IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.]

Friday Flashback: 1970 Stanley Cup Final

stanleyIt has taken 49 years for this Stanley Cup rematch between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.  While Boston has had more recent success, winning the title in 2011 and losing in the final in 2013, the Blues have not returned until this season.

In the 1970 final, the Bruins swept the Blues in four games.

Boston, coached by Harry Sinden, finished the regular season in second place in the Eastern Division behind the Chicago Blackhawks but defeated the New York Rangers in six games and swept the Blackhawks in four games to get to the final.  The Blues, led by Scotty Bowman, finished first in the Western Division then dispatched the Minnesota Northstars and Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to make it to their third straight Stanley Cup final.  They had been swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the two previous finals.

The Bruins breezed through the first three games winning 6-1, 6-2 and 4-1.  The most competitive game of the series was the fourth game.  Larry Keenan scored 19 seconds into the third period on a power play goal to give the Blues a 3-2 lead.  The Bruins tied up the game with 7:32 left in regulation on a goal from Johnny Bucyk.   The game went into overtime but not very deep as Bobby Orr scored the game winner – and series winner – just 40 seconds in to complete the sweep.  It was his only goal in the cup final.  Orr was named the Most Valuable Player.

The image of Orr flying through the air, his arms raised in victory — who was tripped by Blues’ defenseman Noel Picard immediately after scoring the goal — is one of the most famous and recognized hockey images of all time.

Click here to watch Orr’s game winning goal.

orr

Since 1970, the Bruins have been in the Stanley Cup final nine times (1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2011, 2013, 2019).  The Blues have not been back until this season.

 

 

Predators Fall Short…Again.

predators-loseJohn Klingberg probably did us a favor when he scored from the left circle in overtime which ended the season for the Nashville Predators.  He put an end to the most frustrating experience I have had since I moved to Nashville four years ago and became a Predators’ fan.

Yes, the Predators did repeat as Central Division champions – and they will probably raise another banner for that one to go with all the others that have fallen short of a Stanley Cup champion.  I honestly don’t know how they won the division this year.  They certainly didn’t make it easy.  This is the earliest exit for Nashville since losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in 2015.

This team once had so much promise but the future is uncertain.  Will the Predators fire Coach Peter Laviolette?  What moves with the team make in the off season?

There is definitely a problem that is hard to put a finger on.  Maybe there are personality issues in the locker room.  Perhaps there is a lack of leadership.  Right now there are a lot of questions about this team.  If they don’t correct it soon, the window of opportunity to win the Stanley Cup may be closing.

After watching the Predators this season here are the glaring weaknesses:

Power Play

The Power Play is awful and ended up doing them in against Dallas.  They were 0 for 11 in the series and had a power play in the final two minutes in Game Six.  I know these guys try to set up the play but at one point I counted seven passes before they turned the puck over without even attempting the shot.  Something has to be done about this.  Oddly enough, it seemed during most of the season that our best scoring chances were when we were shorthanded.  The Power Play must be fixed.  The Predators were the first team in 10 years to qualify for the playoffs with the worst power play in the league.  They finished 33-for-269 during the season and did not score a power play goal in the playoffs.

Lapses on Defense

The Predators used to be the best in the National Hockey League (NHL) on defense but they have gotten awful on defense.  Too many defensive zone breakdowns and turnovers have made goalkeepers Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros’ jobs much harder than it needed to be.  While it is easy to blame the goaltenders for goals, they have kept the team competitive.  Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and P.K. Sabban were once the main guys for defense but they aren’t getting the job done.

Inconsistent Scoring

While Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith are usually pretty reliable in getting the pucks to the net, the others are horribly inconsistent.  This is clearly evident when you get someone like Rocco Grimaldi who comes in and out plays the other “stars” on offense.  Maybe it’s time to trade some of those stars.

So, if I were in charge, what moves would I make?

#1 – Trade P.K. Subban

Yep, I know he’s a fan favorite and all that but his defense has been terrible this season.  I think it’s time for a change.

#2 – Trade Kyle Turris

Turris is one of those offensive stars who was supposed to be the goal scoring machine when he came to Nashville.  Since coming to the Predators in 2017-18, he has only scored 20 goals.  I think he’s expendable.

#3 – Bring up Eeli Tolvanen

There was quite a splash when the Predators signed Tolvanen but what have they done with him?  I don’t think they have given him much of a chance to prove himself.  Bring him up now and insert him into the lineup.

#4 – Restore home ice dominance

Enough with the “someone sucks” chants by the fans.  Bridgestone Arena has not be a good place for the home team to play.  When your team plays better on the road than at home then something is wrong.  Change up the goal songs and get some new energy in the home games.  Make it a feared place for opposing teams to play again.

It’s time to take a break from hockey.

While it has been frustrating to watch the Predators this season, I’m still a fan and always will be.  It’s sad that the season is over but a relief that we can take a deep breath and take a break for the next five months.   Some times it’s easy being a fan because I don’t have to make these difficult decisions and can actually forget about hockey for the summer.