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.)

 

Nashville Sports Loses Nightwatch gains Power

nightwatch.pngPowerMost people won’t hear about it on the local news but the more obscure sports in the Music City has lost one franchise but gained another recently.

The Nashville Nightwatch professional ultimate frisbee team announced this week that they will no longer field a team in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).  The Nightwatch played four seasons in the AUDL’s Southern Division but never had a winning season.  They showed a lot of promise at times but could only post an 8-44 record and finished last place each season.  In their Facebook announcement this week the team posted:

“We would like to thank our players and supporters from the last 4 years. Going forward we will not be playing in the AUDL. We are going to turn our efforts into building our community through club efforts and focusing on our Professional Women’s team, Nashville NightShade. We will be forming a club team with the goal of competing at the highest level. Our experiences learned in the AUDL will allow us to give our club team a pro experience and grow with our community. More information to come, and thank you for your support.”

The Nightwatch organization has been one of the more influential franchises in promoting women’s ultimate so it appears that the Nightwatch could live on through their female counterparts.  I’m not sure how the club team will work out and competing at the “highest level” will look like but with the AUDL being the only professional ultimate league, this announcement will leave a void.

The Nightwatch could never get the following necessary to sustain a start-up professional franchise, especially in a non-major sport.  The press never really helped the Nightwatch plus the fact that they could not field a competitive team on the field.  The team also could never find a good home as they began at Tennessee State University in their inaugural season then moved to Overton High School in their second season and then a terrible move to Hunter’s Lane High School in North Nashville the following season and finally to an awkward field at Vanderbilt University.  The move to the Vanderbilt area was one I thought would help but the home field was not really a spectator-friendly venue.

With the demise of the Nightwatch, another team has moved into the void as the Nashville Power brings the city their first indoor football team since the Nashville Venom played in 2014-2015 at the Municipal City Auditorium.  The Power will also call the Auditorium home when they kick off their season in the spring of 2019.  The Power will play in the Elite Indoor Football League which is basically a semi-pro type league in comparison to the bigger leagues.  The Power will join 12 other teams located throughout the East and Southeast.

Although they are playing in an obscure league, they will have a local favorite involved.  One of the greatest arena league players of all-time, Cory Fleming, is the Power’s defensive coordinator. Fleming played for the Kats (1997-2001, 2006), Carolina (2002) and Orlando (2003-05). The former Stratford and Tennessee star was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Will this new indoor team make it?  I doubt it.  The league looks pretty weak.  There had been rumors of the return of the Nashville Kats franchise in the National Arena League (NAL) or even a new team in the Arena Football League (AFL) but nothing has been made public.

Don’t be surprised if the Power doesn’t last any longer than the Nightwatch.

Atlanta Havoc, Duke City Gladiators Win Indoor Titles

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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.

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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.

ArenaBowl XXIX:  Strange Place and Time


The Arena Football League has had a strange season with teams folding or reshuffled before the start of the season and the league deciding to include all eight teams in the playoffs.  It should be no surprise that the championship game has a couple of quirks as well.

The Arizona Rattlers will host the Philadelphia Soul on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.   The game will be played at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

ESPN, which has broadcast rights to the game, dictated the time and day for the ArenaBowl.   The scheduling demand meant that the Rattlers can’t play at their home arena because the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team is playing at Talking Stick Arena.  The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. because ESPN is broadcasting the California vs. Hawaii college football game at 7 p.m.

As for the game, both teams are entering the ArenaBowl with 15-3 records.  The Rattlers beat Portland (84-40) and Cleveland (82-41) while the Soul disposed of Tampa Bay (63-41) and Jacksonville (55-50) to play for the title.  The Rattlers are looking to win their sixth title while the Soul are searching for their second.  The Soul won it in 2008 but came up short in the 2012 and 2013 title games (both to Arizona).

The game will feature the two top quarterbacks in the league.  Arizona quarterback Nick Davila led the league with 111 touchdown passes while Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was second with 101.

In a game not known for defense, the Rattlers are first in the league with 29 sacks while the Soul are the leaders in picks with 25 interceptions.

The Rattlers are 7-1 all-time against the Soul with Philadelphia winning earlier in the season 65-58.  The Rattlers evened the season series a month later winning 80-63 at home.

MILTON’S ARENABOWL PICK:   Arizona 72, Philadelphia 65