Obscure Sports Report

marbles
Sierra Ricci win the girls championship of the 94th Annual National Marbles Tournament

 

PENNSYLVANIA TEAM WINS THIRD NATIONAL MARBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Allegheny County residents Sierra Ricci, 12, of Shaler and Eli Murphy, 14, were crowned national champions at the 94th National Marbles Tournament on Thursday in Wildwood, N.J.   This is the third time since 2008 that both girls and boys champions come from Allegheny County. The marble shooters, called “mibsters” played over 1,200 games during the four-day championship tournament competing for national honors, scholarships and prizes. Allegheny County’s marbles program has produced 32 national champions since 1922, 13 since 2004.

IMMORTALZ TO MEET CHIEFS IN NO-HELMET, NO-PADS FOOTBALL LEAGUE TITLE

The Pennsylvania Immortalz cruised past New Jersey Paterson U, 51-15 and the New Jersey Chiefs defeated the Pennsylvania Dynasty, 40-20 last weekend to set up the American 7’s Football League championship this weekend.

BIG 3 LEAGUE MAKES STOP IN CHARLOTTE

The Tar Heel state welcomed the new Big 3 basketball league this weekend as 10,651 watched the four games this weekend at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.  The Trilogy became the first team to go to 2-0 with a 50-37 win over the 3-Headed Monsters.  Al Harrington led the Trilogy with 20 points and seven rebounds.   The Power also joined the Trilogy at 2-0 with a 50-45 win over the Killer 3s.  The Power overcame a 39-26 deficit when DeShawn Stevenson connected on a 3-pointer to start an 11-0 run.   The next stop for the league will be this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

OUTLAWS SHOOT DOWN BLAZE IN INDEPENDENCE DAY GAME

The Outlaws became the first team in MLL to score at least 20 goals in a game this season, doubling up the Blaze in a 24-12 win at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Tuesday night in the annual Fourth of July game. The 24 goals were Denver’s most in a game since a 24-14 win against Boston on May 31, 2013. Mark Matthews’ goal for the Blaze 2:41 into the second quarter made the score 7-5 in favor of the Outlaws. Denver followed that goal with eight straight goals to build a 15-5 cushion. The Blaze scored the next four goals, but goalie Jack Kelly scored a full-field, two-point goal as time expired in the third quarter to give the Outlaws a 17-9 advantage.

MARSHALL KENT WINS PBA OKLAHOMA OPEN

Marshall Kent earned his second title of the season after winning the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open on Sunday.Kent topped Chris Barnes 194-188 after both players struggled early in the match. The Yakima, Washington, native delivered four consecutive strikes in the ninth and tenth frames to edge Barnes.

Obscure Sports Page

The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game.  The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park.   NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett.   The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch.  This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto.  The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco.  After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back.  The current division leaders are:  South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)

Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history.  He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.   The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).

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Richmond Roughriders win the APF title over the Florida Tarpons

 

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61.  On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver.  Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season.  Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger.  Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center.   The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.  The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) –  The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title.  Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:

  1. Oklahoma Thunder
  2. Alabama Sabers
  3. Chattanooga Eagles
  4. Missouri Cyclones
  5. Huntsville Rockets
  6. North Mississippi Road Warriors
  7. Starkville Steeldogs
  8. River City Pythons
  9. Tri-City Outlaws
  10. Georgia Crush

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.  Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 71 yards.  Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.

Major League Futsal (MLF) –  Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points.  The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points.  Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago.  Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter.  The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half.   The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) –  Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season.  Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists.    This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.

National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games.  The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4).   The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:

  1. USSSA Pride (8-2)
  2. Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
  3. Chicago Bandits (9-7)
  4. Texas Charge (7-6)
  5. Akron Racers (5-7)
  6. Beijing Eagles (0-9)

North American Soccer League (NASL) –  Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer.  The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven.  On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points.  The Charge will play Boston this weekend.  Boston is in 9th place in the standings.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs.  The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.

United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  In the second round of the playoffs:

  • St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
  • Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
  • Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
  • Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
  • Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
  • Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
  • Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
  • Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
  • Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
  • Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
  • San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
  • Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14

This week’s schedule for the third round:

  • Chicago at Boston
  • San Diego at Dallas
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal
  • Mile High at St. Louis
  • Orlando at Toledo
  • Arkansas at S. Oregon

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78.  Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.

Obscure Sports Report

The Obscure Sports Report is a weekly report of obscure sports leagues in the United States.  An obscure sport/league is one that gets little or no attention from the media.  Here is this week’s report:

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The 2017 Championship Bracket is set.  The Round 1 matchups will be:  New Jersey Paterson U vs. New Jersey Savage, Pennsylvania Immortalz vs. New Jersey BIC, New Jersey Chiefs vs. Baltimore Kings and Baltimore Gators vs. Pennsylvania Dynasty.  The games will be played on June 25th.

American Hockey League (AHL) –  After an ugly 5-1 loss in Game Five, the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to clinch the Calder Cup at home in Game Six.  Griffins goalie Jared Coreau gave up five goals in the first period.  The third-year veteran will try to regroup this week against the Syracuse Crunch.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – Scores from last weekend:

  • Jacksonville 27, Atlanta 23
  • Raleigh 32, Nashville 20
  • San Diego 21, Seattle 20
  • Los Angeles 25, Seattle 20
  • San Francisco 27, San Jose 19
  • Madison 23, Minnesota 22
  • Montreal 16, Ottawa 13
  • Toronto 35, Philadelphia 28
  • DC 25, Toronto 17

Arena Football League (AFL) –  Philadelphia Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh became the youngest in AFL history to pass for 30,00o yards in his career.  Raudabaugh now has 667 touchdowns and has a career record of 85-31.   The Soul defeated the Cleveland Gladiators, 59-49, to stay undefeated on the season at 8-0.

CAN-AM Indoor Football League (CAN AM) – The Vermont Bucks defeated the Rochester Kings, 61-41, to win the title.  Quarterback Steffen Colon threw for three touchdowns and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.  Cabrinni Goncalves ran for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.  The Bucks’ defense picked off the Kings several times in the rout and returned one for a touchdown.

vbucks
Vermont Bucks defeat the Rochester Kings, 61-41, for their first indoor title.

 

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  In the final weekend of the regular season, the Amarillo Venom demolished the Duke City Gladiators 70-41 and the Sioux City Bandits took care of the Bismarck Bucks 82-43.   In other games:  Omaha 43, Bloomington 30; Texas 63, Dodge city 59.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) – The Missouri Cyclones (4-0) remained unbeaten as they edged the Missouri Valley Pitbulls (2-2), 19-17.  Impact East Division leaders, Tri-City Outlaws (2-1) had no trouble with the Gateway Spartans (0-4), 54-0.  The Chattanooga Eagles (4-0) rolled past the Georgia Knights (0-3), 64-6.   The Huntsville Rockets (3-0) blasted the Nashville Storm (0-2), 63-6.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Arizona Rattlers (11-4) knocked off the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-14) by a score of 56-24 in their final home game of the regular season in front of 13,251 fans.  With the win, the Rattlers extended their winning streak to seven games.  Arizona’s offense was led by RB Ketrich Harmon who ran for 73 yards on 12 attempts and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Cody Sokol went five-for-nine with 43 yards and two touchdowns.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Chesapeake Bayhawks attackman Josh Byrne was named the Cascade Rookie of the Week for Week 8. The Bayhawks fell to the Rattlers in overtime on Saturday night, 17-16.  Byrne, 23, scored seven goals for the Bayhawks in his first game as a professional, the most goals in a pro debut since at least 2010. The Hofstra product sparked a comeback for the Bayhawks after a 21-minute scoreless drought by scoring his first goal on the man advantage. Byrne also had a highlight-reel goal as he successfully scored a one-handed shot while falling to the turf off of an illegal check. Chesapeake selected Byrne with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 MLL Collegiate Draft.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – Yes, believe it or not there is a major league for this sport and I found the information on the season.  Scores from last weekend:  Boston Night Raiders defeated New York Titans 130-40, 190-70 and 201-90.  Austin Outlaws over Kansas City Stampede 190-20, 200-20, 220-60.  Los Angeles Guardians topped Phoenix Sol 180-80, 170-90, 150-50.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – Aaron Kovar scored in the third minute and Zach Mathers added a second-half penalty kick, leading the Seattle Sounders  to a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.  Seattle jumped on top off a finish from Kovar that was set up by a pinpoint cross from left back Nouhou. Portland’s Augustine Williams would equalize with a headed finish in the 38th, but Mathers’ PK after a handball in the box in the 54th would prove to be the dagger, sending the Sounders through to the Open Cup quarterfinals.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) rallied in the second half to finish off the regular season with a win against the Georgia Firebirds Saturday night. The team hit the road and found a way to win as they defeated the Georgia Firebirds (2-7), 51-26.  The Steelhawks sit in second place behind the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks (11-0).

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Lyle Thompson’s pass to brother Miles gave the Georgia Swarm a 15-14 win in overtime against the Saskatchewan Rush to clinch the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup at Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.   The win gives the Swarm their first title.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Nine different players scored for USSSA on Monday night as the Pride dominated the Chicago Bandits (6-3) by a score of 11-1 in game two of the series at JoAnne Graf Field. The Pride won their fourth game in a row and improved to 4-1 on the year.  Chicago used a trio of singles in the first inning, including an RBI base hit up the middle by Sahvanna Jaquish, to jump out to an early 1-0 lead.

North American Soccer League (NASL) – Zach Steinberger of the Jacksonville Armada currently leads the league with six goals.  The Armada has 19 points and in second place in the Spring Season standings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The league is currently on an international break but will resume the season on June 17.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – This weekend the Cap City Bulls (1-5) from Austin, Texas will face the Cape Fear Heroes (4-2) in Fayetteville, North Carolina.    The winner will play the Triangle Torch (6-0) for the league title on June 24th.

United Soccer League (USL) –  The league hopes to have a team in Baltimore approved by the end of the year.  USL president Jake Edwards told The Baltimore Sun that the second-tier professional league hopes to have the city’s prospective ownership group finalized by August and the construction plan for a new venue in place by 2018, with the team’s launch targeted for the 2020 season.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – The Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz will be in the playoffs for the first time in the team’s 7-year history.  The team finished 5-1 in the Mountain West Division.  They will face the South Oregon Lady Gades in the first round of the Division III playoffs.  Here some of the other matchups for the first round:

  • Maine Mayhem at New York Knockout
  • New England Nightmare at Connecticut Hawks
  • Atlanta Phoenix at Pittsburgh Passion
  • Cleveland Fusion at D.C. Divas
  • Kansas City Titans at Minnesota Vixens
  • San Diego Surge at Los Angeles Warriors
  • New York Sharks at Philadelphia Phantoms
  • Miami Fury at Tampa Bay Inferno
  • Everett Reign at Sin City Trojans

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –Chelsea Gray scored 24 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 21 and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Dallas Wings 97-87 on Tuesday night.Gray and Ogwumike combined to make 10 of 11 shots in the first half for 24 points. They finished 15 of 18 from the field as the Sparks shot 57 percent. Candace Parker had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Los Angeles (6-3), which avenged a 96-90 loss at Dallas last Friday. Los Angeles raced out to a 23-6 lead as Dallas went scoreless for nearly five minutes in the first quarter. The Wings were just 4-of-17 shooting in the quarter. Dallas rookie Allisha Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to pull to 36-28 and Kayla Thornton made the Wings’ fifth 3 of the second to get within five points, but Seattle closed on an 8-0 run.  Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 28 points for Dallas (4-7), which has lost five of six.

 

(Don’t) Use Your Head

A7FL

When I was growing up we played tackle football and tackle-the-man-with-the-ball during recess.  I have also heard tales of people playing football against “the crack” in a town where I lived.  These were all games where football was played without helmets, pads or any safety equipment.

There is actually a (semi) professional league playing its second season that plays without any equipment except for a mouth piece.

Dangerous?   At first thought you would think so but then when you look at it more closely you wonder if all the gear traditional football teams wear contribute MORE to players’ injuries.

The American 7s Football League (A7FL) is a no pads, no helmet spring league with 16 teams located in the Northeast.   The A7FL field size is smaller than a standard football field measuring 100 x 37 yards.  The narrower field width increases the pace of the action with fewer players on the field.  The teams play 7-on-7.  The quarterback has four eligible targets and two linemen.  There are no blitz restrictions for the defense.

A7FL claims their game is much safer than traditional football because players are more aware to not use their heads or shoulders for tackling.  There are no helmet-to-helmet collisions as there are in other forms of football.  This teaches players not to lead with their head.   Games also do not include kickoffs or punts.  Instead, the rules implement a unique version of special teams called a 3-on-1 throw off.

a7fl1

I watched some YouTube videos of A7FL games and I still cringe at the hitting and tackling that happens in a game.  It’s a lot like an Americanized Rugby game which is where American football evolved.  Rugby is just as much contact and they do not have helmets either.   So, you wonder if maybe the NFL should rethink the helmet and pads.  In reality I don’t see it happening but with technology, you would think traditional football could develop better protective gear.

Instead of the traditional football helmet, the league is looking at technology to help its players protect themselves.   The league signed a deal with 2nd Skull which makes skull caps integrated with technology which helps absorb the impact of hits.  The cap is very light with a specialized urethane material that lies softly on the player’s head but hardens to guard against impact.

Why not just go back to the leather helmets?

For more information about the A7FL, go to: http://www.a7fl.com

Yeah, I’m still not sure about safety in this version of tackle football.  They have never played a game against guys from “the crack”.