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.

 

 

Atlanta Havoc, Duke City Gladiators Win Indoor Titles

Atlanta_Havoc_Helmet_Logo_2018

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE:  ATLANTA HAVOC 58, RICHMOND ROUGHRIDERS 50

Unlike their NFL neighbors in Super Bowl 50, the Atlanta Havoc put up 32 unanswered points, thanks in part to five second-half interceptions that proved costly as the Havoc stunned the Richmond Roughriders 58-50 in the American Arena League championship game.

The Roughriders, who won the Arena Pro Football League title last season, went into the half with a 43-26 lead.

Havoc QB Darren Daniel found Thyron Lewis Sr. for a 26-yard touchdown to open the second half and make it a 43-33 game, as the Havoc began closing in.

Richmond sent former Virginia Tech standout Bryan Randall out at quarterback in the second half. On the Roughriders’ first possession of the half, Randall was picked off by Micheaux Robinson, who ran in for a score to cut the Richmond lead to three, 43-40, with 10:46 to play in the third quarter.

Randall was intercepted by Robinson again on the next Richmond possession. And the Havoc went on to score on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Daniel to Lewis to take its first lead, 47-43, with 6:07 left in the third quarter.

Richmond added a 30-yard touchdown from Kent to Rashaad Carter with two minutes to play, to cut the Atlanta lead to 58-50.

Richmond was set to have one final possession, but the Roughriders were penalized for an illegal defense on a play where Atlanta took an intentional safety to run additional clock. The Havoc got the ball back and were able to run out the clock and claim the title.

dukecity

Duke City QB Caleb Holbrook Leads Gladiators to Champions Bowl IV title

 

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL:  DUKE CITY GLADIATORS 31, SIOUX CITY BANDITS 27

Caleb Holbrook completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns as the Duke City Gladiators defeated the Sioux City Bandits 31-27 in the Champions Bowl IV at Tingley Coliseum here Saturday.

Duke City, who sported the top passing offense and the best rushing defense in the CIF, held the Bandits to 65 yards rushing on the evening. Sioux City, tops in the league in rushing offense and passing defense, ends its season at 11-4.

Duke City outscored the Bandits 17-3 in the third quarter. The Gladiators took the lead for good on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Holbrook to Sedrick Johnson, giving Duke City a 24-20 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter.

After Duke City extended its lead to 31-20 with 1:02 left in the third quarter on a Clifton Rhodes touchdown run, the Bandits responded with a touchdown drive of their own. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Bandits a third and 21 situation from their own 8, Liam Nadler completed a screen pass to Darren Miller that went for 39 yards and gave Sioux City first and goal from the Duke City three.

Miller scored on a 3-yard run on the next play to trim the Duke City lead to 31-27 with 12:42 left in the game.

This is Duke City’s first title in their four-year history.  They defeated Wichita (44-39) and Texas (41-28) in the playoffs.

Indoor Football Update (6/27/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders will host the Atlanta Havoc this weekend for the AAL championship.  The Roughriders won the Arena Pro Football title last year over the Florida Tarpons.  For more information:  American Arena League

Arena Football League (AFL) –  The Albany Empire defeated Baltimore Brigade 56-49 on Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore’s regular-season home finale. The Brigade dropped to 7-3 with only their second loss in the past seven games. Baltimore leads the Empire and Philadelphia Soul , both 6-4, by a half game in the AFL with two games remaining in the regular season. It was the Brigade’s first loss at home this season. Brigade wide receiver Brandon Collins finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Randy Hippeard was 24-for-41 passing for 292 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Quarterback Tommy Grady completed 14 of 20 passes for 199 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Empire. The Brigade will take on the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday followed by a game against the Washington Valor on July 7.  For more information:  Arena Football League

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – The Duke City Gladiators broke open a close game in their semifinal playoff game against the Texas Revolution.  With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, it appeared the Gladiators were on the way to a comfortable victory with a 35-21 lead and had the ball at the Texas 5 with a first down. QB Caleb Holbrook then threw toward receiver Dello Davis but Davis lost a tug-of-war for the ball, the Revs defender Frankie Solomon II who  wrestled it from Davis and returned the ball to the Gladiators’ 12. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Texas failed to execute an onside kick and the Gladiators took over at the Revs’ 21 and kept possession until the late score, a 20-yard pass from Holbrook to Juwan Lewis for a 41-28 win.   The Sioux City Bandits edged the Salina Liberty, 45-39, in their semifinal game to advance to the Champions Bowl this weekend in Albuquerque.  For more information:  Champions Indoor Football

storm

Sioux Falls Storm Advances To 9th Straight United Bowl

Indoor Football League (IFL) – In the IFL semifinals, the Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Arizona Rattlers by a score of 69-68 in front of 16,479 fans in Phoenix.  A blocked extra point following a Rattlers touchdown became the difference, as the Storm were able to score and convert the point after to escape with a one-point win. At the start of the fourth quarter, Sioux Falls regained the lead with a two-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs, bringing the score to 59-55.  A two-yard run by Verlon Reed put the Arizona back in the lead 62-59.  Sioux Falls tied the game at 62 with a 30-yard field goal with 3:30 remaining.  The Rattlers took over in Storm territory after a late hit penalty by Sioux Falls. With eight-seconds remaining, kicker Sawyer Petre missed the potential go-ahead field goal to force overtime.  Arizona started overtime with the ball, and Reed connected with Dezmon Epps for a 16-yard touchdown on fourth down. The point-after attempt was blocked by Sioux Falls, keeping the Rattlers lead at six.  The Storm scored on their first play, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Damien Ford. The point-after attempt was good, giving the Storm the win.  The Storm will play the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend in the United Bowl in Des Moines.  The Barnstormers defeated the Nebraska Danger 48-17 in the other semifinal game.

A new ownership group has taken over the IFL’s Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans franchise and plans to keep the team in the city for the 2019 season. The Titans joined the IFL as a 2012 expansion team. The team’s previous ownership also owned the Cedar Rapids Rampage of the Major Arena Soccer League. That Rampage’s future in the city is over if a new owner does not come forward, since its ownership will be operating a new Orlando-based MASL expansion team for the 2018-19 season.

For more information:  Indoor Football League

National Arena League (NAL) – A three touchdown night from fullback Derrick Ross helped the Jacksonville Sharks reach the franchise’s 100th win.  Ross and the Sharks broke the game open with 37 unanswered points and routed the Maine Mammoths 51-21 to earn the team’s 100th all-time victory Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks (7-4) have reached 90 regular-season victories combined in the National Arena League and its former home, the Arena Football League, to go with 10 postseason wins.  Ross, who had devastated the Mammoths (2-8) in two previous matchups this season, brought his touchdown total against Maine to eight on the year.  Quarterback Adrian McPherson rebounded from his previous loss to Carolina, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Gilchrist. Former University Christian standout Jenson Stoshak led the Sharks with eight receptions for 56 yards.  For more information:  National Arena League

National Gridiron League (NGL) – The NGL is a proposed new spring indoor football league that plans to start play in 2019 with 12 teams aligned in 2 divisions. The NGL currently lists an Eastern Division with the Virginia Redbirds (Roanoke) and five teams called the Destroyers, Blue Bombers, Pioneers, Stampede and Firebirds with no assigned markets. The Western Division has the Kansas Kapitals (Topeka) and five teams called the Bighorns, Twisters, Mudcats, Outlaws and Redsticks with no assigned markets.  For more information:  National Gridiron League

Obscure Sports News (6/20/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders and Atlanta Havoc won close games to advance to the title game.  The Roughriders jumped out to a 22-0 lead on the Carolina Energy in the first quarter then had to rally from a 29-22 deficit in the third quarter as the Roughriders scored on five consecutive possessions for a 57-43 win.  The Atlanta Havoc was the higher seeded team in their semifinal matchup with the Cape Fear Heroes but due to scheduling conflicts they had to play in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The Havoc scored with 22 seconds left to take a 61-54 win as Quarterback Chris Wallace scored from three yards out.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Philadelphia Soul (5-4) defeated the Albany Empire (5-4) in a thrilling game at the Times Union Center in front of 9,534 fans with a final score of 75-74 and are now tied with Albany for 2nd place. With 0.4 seconds left in the game, Soul QB Shane Austin found WR Darius Prince in the end zone to score the game-winning 10-yard touchdown. Although the Empire led the entirety of the second half, the Soul made the comeback of the year as they scored 12 points in the last minute of the game.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – Top-seeded Duke City Gladiators opened the playoffs with a 50-39 win over the Wichita Force to claim their first postseason win in franchise history.  With 4:30 left in the game trailing 39-31, the Gladiators outscored the Force 19-0 including a fumble recovery in the end zone as time expired.  In other playoff games:   Texas Revolution 56, Amarillo Venom 45; Sioux City Bandits 54, Quad Cities Steamwheelers 46; Salina Liberty 81, Bismarck bucks 51.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion Arizona Rattlers (11-3) defeated the Nebraska Danger (4-10) in the final game of the regular season by a score of 59-23 at Eihusen Arena in Grand Island, Nebraska. The win earns the Rattlers home field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. The Rattlers took command of the game early, scoring 13-straight points, and never relented. Arizona’s offense, defense, and special teams all put points on the board in a 36-point win. The Rattlers offense consisted mostly of the run game, with RB Darrell Monroe leading the way with 88 yards and three touchdowns. QB Verlon Reed, who came in for QB Jeff Ziemba midway through the second quarter, also had a big night on the ground, rushing for 77 yards and four touchdowns.  Other scores from last weekend:  Sioux Falls Storm 69, Green Bay Blizzard 61 (3 ot); Iowa Barnstormers 54, Cedar Rapids Titans 21.  This weekend’s playoff matchups:  Nebraska Danger at Iowa Barnstormers;  Sioux Falls Storm at Arizona Rattlers.

Dallas

Dallas Rattlers take over sole possession of first place in the MLL

Major Lacrosse League (MLL) – The Dallas Rattlers defeated the Ohio Machine by a score of 17-16 on Sunday night to take sole possession of first place in Major League Lacrosse. The Rattlers started off the first quarter with a strong three-goal run that opened with Jordan Wolf recording his 150th MLL career goal. Another milestone came with the second goal as Ty Thompson netted his first goal of the evening to make it 18 straight appearances with at least one goal. Thompson’s streak dates back to May 6, 2017. The Rattlers defense held the Machine to a scoreless final period of play. With the 17-16 win, the Rattlers are now in sole possession of first place and are the only MLL team to be undefeated at home.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league is taking a break this week due to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup which is being held June 27-July 2 in Florence, Italy.  Australia is the defending World Cup Champions.  The MLQ will resume league play on July 7th.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – In the largest match of the inaugural Major League Rugby season, the Glendale Raptors stood tall. The first-place Raptors (7-0) put their undefeated record on the line against the second-place Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night at Infinity Park in a match that decided the top of the MLR standings two weeks ahead of the MLR Playoffs. With so much to play for right in front of them, the Raptors knocked off the Seawolves (6-2) 33-11. Glendale swept the season series and kept their record unblemished.

Last week’s scores:

  • NOLA Gold 46, Utah Warriors 43
  • Glendale Raptors 33, Seattle Seawolves 11
  • San Diego Legion 31, Austin Elite Rugby 17

This week’s schedule:

  • Houston SaberCats at Utah Warriors
  • Glendale Raptors at San Diego Legion

National Arena League (NAL) – The Maine Mammoths (2-7) took on the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (0-8) for the second time this season. This victory is the Mammoths’ first victory in front of their home crowd and second win overall in the 2018 season. Their first victory was against the Steelhawks in Week Three with a 45-24 score. Quarterback Jonathan Bane returned to the Mammoths after suffering a minor injury. During the course of the game, he was 15-of-22 for 218 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception on the night. His top receiver was Devin Wilson, totaling eight receptions for 142 yards and five touchdowns. Wide Receiver Robert Brown Jr. made five receptions for 63 yards. On the defensive side for Brown Jr., he recovered a fumble and returned it all the way inside the five yard line, setting the Maine offense up to score. On special teams, he returned the opening kickoff 44 yards. Edgar Poe Jr. made one catch for 20 yards. On the rushing game, Desmond Maxwell had two rushes for three yards and one touchdown. Jackson Dallas rushed one time for two yards and one touchdown. Kicker Henry Nell was 7-of-7 on PAT’s, 0-for-1 on FG’s, and successfully made two deuces.

Last week’s scores:

  • Massachusetts Pirates 62, Columbus Lions 55
  • Maine Mammoths 62, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 36

This week’s schedule:

  • Columbus Lions at Carolina Cobras
  • Maine Mammoths at Jacksonville Sharks
  • Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at Massachusetts Pirates

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – One big inning was all the USSSA Pride needed to end Cleveland’s three-game win streak. The Pride scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to defeat the visiting Comets, 4-0, in the first of a three-game series at Space Coast Stadium.  Jailyn Ford picked up the pitching victory for the Pride. She allowed just one hit and struck out four in five innings of work. Jolene Henderson struck out four of the seven batters she faced in the final two innings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association for Week 11 and 12 of the 2018 NWSL season.Bledsoe, 26, recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the season leading the Spirit to back-to-back scoreless draws against Sky Blue FC on June 8 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ and Seattle Reign FC on June 16 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played against the Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks. This is the 13th player of the week honor of Delle Donne’s career. In Washington’s 95-91 win over the Sun, Delle Donne scored a season-high 36 points, shooting 13-for-22 from the field and grabbing six rebounds. Against the Los Angeles Sparks, she scored 18 points and had seven rebounds to go along with four steals. Delle Donne averaged 27 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the week.

Current Standings:

  • Eastern Conference
    • Connecticut Sun (7-4)
    • Washington Mystics (6-5)
    • Atlanta Dream (6-5)
    • New York Liberty (3-6)
    • Chicago Sky (3-7)
    • Indiana Fever (1-10)
  • Western Conference
    • Los Angeles Sparks (8-2)
    • Phoenix Mercury (10-3)
    • Seattle Storm (8-3)
    • Dallas Wings (5-4)
    • Minnesota Lynx (4-6)
    • Las Vegas Aces (3-9)

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure Sports Report (6/13/18)

rush

Third NLL Title for Saskatchewan Rush in Four Years

The Saskatchewan Rush won their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) title in Game 3 of the championship series against the Rochester Knighthawks.  Jeff Shattler scored four goals in the series-deciding game in the 15-10 win.  For the Rush, the win was particularly sweet redemption after having their two-year reign atop the NLL come to a gut-wrenching conclusion last year as they lost the final to the Georgia Swarm especially losing the deciding Game 2 at home in overtime. But the Rush were determined to get back to the top and they rumbled through the regular season with a 14-4 record which earned them home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. They wound up needing it and using it to their full advantage with a raucous crowd of 13,645 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon watching the Rush hoist the newly minted NLL Cup.

The American Arena League (AAL) wrapped up their regular season but the playoff schedule is a little blurry.  The Georgia Doom defeated the Atlanta Havoc on Saturday, 48-42, to clinch a playoff berth but the Doom owners decided not to participate in the playoffs.   Don’t expect the league’s website to be much help either.  According to the standings, the top teams are:  Richmond Roughriders (10-1), Atlanta Havoc (9-2), Georgia Doom (6-2) and Carolina Energy (6-3).

Washington Valor defensive back Fred Obi has been named the Arena Football League (AFL) Week 9’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Soul. In his first game with the Valor, Obi recorded three solo tackles, one pass break-up and a pair of interceptions, the second of which occurred with just 18 seconds left in the game and sealed the Washington win.

The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league begins their playoffs this weekend with eight teams entering the postseason.

  • Duke City Gladiators vs. Wichita Force
  • Amarillo Venom vs. Texas Revolution
  • Salina Liberty vs. Bismarck Bucks
  • Sioux City Bandits vs. Quad Cities Steamwheelers

Champions Bowl IV will be played the weekend of June 30th, with the location of the game to be determined during the playoffs.

The Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Iowa Barnstormers in a week 16 Indoor Football League (IFL) showdown.   The Storm would begin the third quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Miles Bergner, cutting the Barnstormers lead to 35-31. The Barnstormers would extend their lead to 49-31 after scoring on back to back drives. The first score was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Skyler Scott and then a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Brady Roland. The Storm would end the third quarter with a team safety, trailing 49-33.  The Sioux Falls Storm would be the only team to score in the fourth quarter to earn their tenth win of the season with a 51-49 victory. The first score was a one-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown along with a successful two-point conversion where Lorenzo Brown found Damond Powell, next Lorenzo Brown would get a two-yard rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion after Lorenzo Brown hit Damian Ford and then the Thunder Defense would block the game winning field and earn a safety from it.

The Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night in the National Arena League (NAL). The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year.  Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.

In the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), the DC Breeze had a thrilling 25-24 overtime win over the Toronto Rush to hand the Rush their first loss of the season.  Toronto had the disc with 38 seconds remaining in overtime with a chance to send the contest to the sudden death 2nd OT; however, the DC defense held on and frustrated Toronto’s offensive push.

The revival of the XFL, which plans to start in 2020 with eight teams is considering St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The BIG3 Basketball League is coming back again this summer and the 3-on-3 league starts on June 22nd with live streaming the league’s game for a nine-week period with one game being shown each Friday.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) has begun its fourth season with 16 teams.  The Austin Outlaws are the defending champions.

 

 

The State of Indoor Football

The indoor version of football is at a crucial point of its existence in my opinion. Whether it is called arena or indoor football, it has been with us since 1987 when the Arena Football League (AFL) gave us a Reader’s Digest version of professional football. Since then, dozens of leagues have come and gone. In the early years, other leagues were not allowed to copy the AFL’s version of the game because they had a copyright enforced which prohibited other indoor leagues for having the rebound nets and even using the term “arena football”. That copyright expired several years ago and other leagues sprouted up. Today, there are seven leagues in existence. They are:

• Arena Football League (1987)

• Indoor Football League (2008)

• Legends Football League (2009)

• Champions Indoor Football League (2015)

• China Arena Football League (2016)

• American Arena League (2018)

• National Arena League (2017)

Aside from the Legends Football League listed above, the other leagues are legitimate indoor football leagues. The LFL is a sad gimmick to exploit women players in my opinion.

The Arena Football League was once considered the major league of indoor football but the league is barely staying afloat as they began this season with four teams all located in the Northeast. The league once had 19 teams in 2007 as well as a minor league system known as AF2 which played from 2000-2009. The AFL is at a critical stage of their existence. The league recently named Randall Boe as their new commissioner last month and former Philadelphia Eagles’ Quarterback Ron Jaworski as Chairman of their Executive Committee. They have promised to being committed to the sport. There have been rumors that the league will expand over the next few seasons and possibly reclaim some of their best markets.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) looked like they were going to step in and take over as the sports’ top league when Arizona Rattlers, one of the AFL’s top franchises defected to the IFL in 2016. The IFL has failed to take advantage of the AFL’s instability with their own issues. On July 25, 2017, the IFL announced that only the Arizona Rattlers, Cedar Rapids Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, and Nebraska Danger had committed to play for 2018. On August 30, the Sioux Falls Storm announced that they had joined the Champions Indoor Football League after winning six consecutive IFL championships from 2011 to 2016. The Storm was shortly followed by the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.

The IFL then attempted to lure the Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen from the CIF. The CIF attempted to sue the IFL, Edge, and Ironmen for leaving the CIF after the two teams had already signed league affiliation agreements with the CIF for 2018. The IFL then threatened to sue the CIF. The CIF then retracted their lawsuit with the IFL but also removed the Storm and Nighthawks from their 2018 schedule. After the IFL meetings in October 2017, the Storm returned to the IFL but the Nighthawks had to suspend operations. While the CIF dropped their lawsuit against the IFL, it filed for an injunction against the Edge and Ironmen teams from participating in the IFL for breaking the terms of their signed affiliation agreements. A temporary injunction from participation in the league was granted on January 31, 2018, with the court ruling determining that both teams had been offered bribes from the owner of the Arizona Rattlers to break their contract with the CIF.

The AFL also had the Jacksonville Sharks to defect to the National Arena League (NAL) in 2017.

Top Ten Indoor Football Teams:

1. Philadelphia Soul (AFL)

2. Arizona Rattlers (IFL)

3. Washington Valor (AFL)

4. Iowa Barnstormers (IFL)

5. Jacksonville Sharks (NAL)

6. Sioux Falls Storm (IFL)

7. Omaha Beef (CIF)

8. Baltimore Brigade (AFL)

9. Columbus (Georgia) Lions (NAL)

10. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (NAL)

In the past two seasons, indoor football has lost some longtime franchises such as the Orlando Predators, Cleveland Gladiators, Spokane Shock and Tampa Bay Storm. The Tampa Bay Storm had a history of success on the field but often struggled for attention in the Tampa Bay Area. When I lived there from 2012-2014, I barely heard a word about the Storm and was very difficult to find any game stories in the local media.

With the AFL slowly sinking into the graveyard of defunct sports leagues, the sport of indoor football needs to get a grip of the situation now in order to save the sport. I think the sport can be saved.

Here are four ideas that I believe could save Indoor Football:

    1. Have a real partnership with the National Football League (NFL). In the past the NFL has had agreements with the AFL but nothing of substantial significance. It would solidify a strong foundation if the NFL subsidized the indoor sport and use it as a development league for referees, coaches and players.
    2. Unity of all the Indoor leagues. If you really want to strengthen the sport, I think the key is to play together. All the teams should be in the same league and then classified by market size. This “Super League” could be divided by classifications such as AAA, AA and A. This would also help lower travel costs and better create regional rivalries.
    3. Revise the rules. The current game puts a lot of emphasis on the passing game and is more of a quarterback league. The game should make the running game more of a part of the game. One way to do this would be to have one back in the backfield to start the play and one receiver in the formation with four linemen. Another idea would to make the field slightly bigger for arenas that would allow the space.
    4. Develop the game at the local level. This is something that has been a huge oversight for indoor football teams. Each indoor team should establish a local indoor league for high school and amateur players so they can get introduced to the game and possibly move up to the pro team. It would serve as a feeder system for the pro team to develop new talent.

Indoor football is a good, off-season alternative to fall football. It is worth saving and preserving. A few major changes are vital to keeping and growing the sport. The leagues have turned into nothing more than semi-pro football leagues with teams that come and go overnight. Stability is important and the sport needs to find it now.

The Obscure Sports Report

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Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws opened the league’s 16th season with a 13-12 win over the Charlotte Hounds in the first week of action.  Mike Bocklet led the defending league champions with four goals and one assist in the win.  Bocklet scored the game winner off of a rebound with 3:57 left.  Other scores from the weekend:  Boston 18, Florida 17 (ot); New York 15, Chesapeake 14 (ot); Ohio 10, Atlanta 9.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Philadelphia Soul remained undefeated and alone atop the league standings with a 49-31 win over the Washington Valor.  Soul WR Shaun Kauleinamoku led the team with 12 receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns.  Kauleinamouku broke open the game in the third quarter with a 13 yard reception from QB Dan Raudabaugh for a 35-31 lead.  In other games:  Tampa Bay 62, Cleveland 61

PRO Rugby (PRO) – There is little hope that the league will return for a second season.  There has been a dispute between the league and USA Rugby in sanctioning the league.  There has been no schedule or any signs of the league’s return after a reasonable first season in 2016.  The league had five teams last year with the Denver Stampede winning the title last July.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) –  With two games left in the regular season, Georgia, Saskatchewan, Colorado and Vancouver have clinched playoff berths.  Georgia currently has the league’s best record at 12-4.  All of the other teams are still in playoff contention except for Buffalo and Calgary.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The Iowa Barnstormers won their fourth straight game with a 31-25 win over the Cedar Rapids Titans in the “Iowa Bowl” last weekend.  The Titans pulled within 24-19 early in the fourth quarter when QB Brion Carnes found Franklyn Williamson for a two-yard TD pass but the Barnstormers came back and answered with a 7-yard run to extend their lead to 31-19.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus (GA) Lions defeated the High Country Grizzlies 57-44 last Saturday to go above .500 on the season at 3-2.  The Lions have struggled after going undefeated last season and winning the league title in another league.  Against the Grizzlies, the Lions receivers dominated the game as Michael Reeve had 104 yards on 10 receptions and two touchdowns and Jarmon Fortson had six receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Arena Pro Football (APF) – The six-team league has announced that it will merge with the Can-Am Indoor Football League in 2018 to form the American Arena League (AAL).  It will initially be split into North and South Divisions.  Here are the current standings in the APF:  Florida Tarpons (3-0), Richmond Rough Riders (2-0), River City Raiders (1-1), Savannah Coastal Outlaws (0-1), Birmingham Outlawz (0-3)

Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) –  The Sioux City Bandits (6-1) and Amarillo Venom (6-0) lead their respective divisions going into this week’s games.  The Bandits will host the Western Michigan Ironmen (3-4) while the Venom will be on the road to play the Texas Revolution (4-2).

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) – The Boston Renegades (2-0) remained on top of Division 1 after a thrilling overtime 26-22 win over the DC Divas (2-1).  The Montreal Blitz (2-0) defeated the Maine Mayhem 49-14 to stay on top of Division 2 and the Maine Mayhem (1-1) continues to be the top team in Division 3 after its loss to Montreal.

Central Basketball Association (CBA) – The Illinois Coal Miners ended Ft. Wayne’s 14-game winning streak with a 100-74 win in Danville last weekend.  Tyron Criswell lead the Miners with 30 points for the win.

NBA D-League (NBDL) – The Raptors 905 have forced a third and decisive game in the NBA D-League finals against the Rio Grand Valley Vipers.  Pascal Siakam scored 32 points to help the Raptors to a 95-85 win.   Game three will be Thursday night on ESPNU.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Jess Fishlock was named the league’s Player of the Week after her performance in a win for the Seattle Reign’s 5-1 win over the Houston Dash.  Fishlock scored the first goal in the 18th minute and then assisted on a Megan Rapinoe’s volley to make it 2-0.  A rebound from another shot led to Beverly Yanez’s goal later to make it 4-0.  Seattle is currently two points behind the North Carolina Courage in the league standings for first place.

Professional Bowler’s Association League (PBA League) – The L.L. Bean PBA League will be playing their tournament over the next few weekends on ESPN.  The teams participating are the Dallas Strikers, New York Kingpins, Philadelphia Hitmen, L.A. X, Motown Muscle, Brooklyn Styles, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, and Portland Lumberjacks