New York, Indianapolis, Dallas and San Diego seek AUDL title

audlThis weekend will be the final four in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the New York Empire, Indianapolis Alley Cats, Dallas Roughnecks and San Diego Growlers play for the championship at San Jose, California.

The champions of the Midwest and South will join the New York Empire and San Diego Growlers in San Jose on August 10-11 weekend. The teams have been re-seeded as follows: New York Empire (1), San Diego Growlers (2), Dallas Roughnecks (3), Indianapolis AlleyCats (4).

The Empire and AlleyCats will go head to head in the first semifinal game on Saturday, August 10 at 4:00 PM/PT. Then the Roughnecks will take on the Growlers immediately following the first game at 7:00 PM/PT. The championship game will be played by the two semifinal winners on Sunday, August 11 at 12:00 PM/PT.

San Diego defeated Los Angeles 25-21 for the West Division title to make their first appearance in the final four.  San Diego is led by Travis Dunn who is a five-year veteran who notched 33 goals this season along with 48 assists.

New York, the only undefeated team in the finals, edged the Toronto Rush 19-16 for the East Division title.  This is New York’s second trip to championship weekend.  The Empire lost to Toronto in the 2014 semifinals.   The key player for New York is Ben Jagt.  In 12 regular season games, he has scored 54 goals with 54 assists and an average of nine goals per game.

Dallas advanced to their fourth straight finals with a 21-17 win over the Raleigh Flyers in the South Division final.  The Roughnecks lost to Madison in last year’s championship game.  They last won the title in 2016.  Jay Froude leads Dallas with 18 blocks in 12 career playoff games.  Froude is the only player at the 2019 final four who will be competing in his fifth consecutive Championship Weekend, the first two of which came as a member of the Madison Radicals.

Indianapolis punched their ticket to the finals after defeating the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 23-17 to represent the Midwest Division.  The Alley Cats are in the finals for the first time since the AUDL’s first season in 2012.  They lost to the Philadelphia Spinners 29-22 in the championship game.  Indy will look to Keegan North and Travis Carpenter to lead them to the title.  Carpenter led the Alley Cats with 56 assists.



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.

How ‘Bout Them Dawgs, ArenaBowl and Frisbee Final Four


Bulldawgs Win, Washington Wins ArenaBowl, Final Four set in AUDL

This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs.  I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday.  Never heard of these Bulldawgs?  I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed.  Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score.  They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title.  The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football.  I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me.  Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.

The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55.  The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason.  The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format.  Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.

MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery

Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance.  Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18.  The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego.  Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016).  Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).


2018 AUDL Playoffs Take Flight

audl-2018The post-season of the 2018 American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) season takes off this weekend with 11 teams entering July Madness as they hope to make it to the final four in Madison during the weekend of August 11-12.

Let’s take a look at this year’s playoff teams:

  • Dallas Roughnecks (13-1) – The Roughnecks won the title in 2016.  They hope to add yet a second title having won the South Division title and a first-round bye.
  • Toronto Rush (13-1) – Their only loss of the season came against DC on June 9.  The Rush will have a bye this weekend awaiting the winner of DC-New York. The Rush have ruled the East Division having won each season since they began play in 2013.
  • Madison Radicals (12-2) – The Radicals have always been the bridegroom and never the bride in the postseason.  They are making their fifth straight playoff appearance but have yet to win the title having lost in the 2013 and 2015 finals.  They will have a bye this week as they await the Indy-Minnesota winner.
  • Los Angeles Aviators (11-3) – The league’s top scorer, Sean McDougall (58 goals) leads the Aviators as they won their first division title.  Their only loss in the division was to the San Diego Growlers.
  • Indianapolis AlleyCats (11-3) – The Cats were a hot team this season in the AUDL with their best regular season ever.  Rick Gross (56 goals) and Cameron Brock (56 goals) lead the attack for Indy.
  • Raleigh Flyers (10-4) – The Flyers host Austin in the playoffs this weekend.  They won a thrilling 25-23 overtime game at Austin in their last meeting.  Reigning league MVP Jonathan Nethercutt and teammate Jack Williams leads the Flyers.
  • DC Breeze (8-5) – Rowan McDonnel leads the Breeze as they hope to repeat their 10-goal win against the New York Empire in their last meeting.  The Breeze won the regular season series against the Empire 2-1.
  • New York Empire (8-6) – The Empire battled through a roller coaster season lead by Ben Jagt (51 assists) and Harper Garvey.
  • Minnesota Wind Chill (8-6) – No stranger to the postseason making their third-straight appearance.  They will travel to Indianapolis this weekend.  They tied the regular season meeting 1-1.
  • San Diego Growlers (7-7) – San Diego qualifies for the postseason for the first time in their four-year history.   Should they win against L.A. they would have their first winning season.
  • Austin Sol (7-7) – The Sol are also making their first postseason appearance in franchise history.  They will play the Raleigh Flyers in the division semifinal round.  The Sol squeaked into the playoffs as a result of a forfeited win over the Tampa Bay Cannons in Week 15.

This weekend’s playoff schedule:

  • Saturday, July 21
    • Minnesota at Indianapolis
    • San Diego at Los Angeles
    • New York at DC

Playoff Notes:

  • To save on travel, the Raleigh Flyers play at Austin Sol on Saturday, July 27th with the winner playing at Dallas on July 28th.
  • With only five teams in the West Division this year, only two teams qualified for the playoffs scrapping the divisional semifinal round.
  • Last year’s champion, San Francisco FlameThrowers, failed to make the playoffs.
  • The Stadium Network will broadcast the following games:
    • July 21 – New York at DC (7 pm ET)
    • July 28 – Raleigh-Austin winner at Dallas (8 pm ET)
    • August 11 – Semifinal games
    • August 12 – Championship game


AUDL Update (4/27/18)


Jacob Fairfax (Raleigh) leads AUDL with 17 goals


In the battle for Texas, the Austin Sol started out strong in their game against the Dallas Roughnecks.  The Sol took an early lead and held it throughout the first half with an 11-9 lead.  The Roughnecks came out and went on a 4-0 run to take control and held on for a 23-21 win.  Carson Wilder was the leading player for the Roughnecks with four goals and five assists.


The women’s game had quite a show between the Raleigh Radiance and Nashville Nightshade.  The Radiance scored the game winning goal by Carmen Tormey in sudden death overtime for a 15-14 win.

In Detroit, the Riveters hosted the Indy Red.  Detroit fell behind 11-5 at halftime and could never catch up as Indy cruised to a 20-11 win.

League Leaders:

  • Goals:  17 – Jacob Fairfax (Raleigh)
  • Assists:  26 – Mark Burton (Seattle)
  • Blocks: 12 – Sean McDougall (Los Angeles)
  • Completions:  319 – Bobby Ley (Tampa Bay)

Last week’s scores:

  • Saturday, April 21
    • Madison Radicals 27, Detroit Mechanix 12
    • Minnesota Wind Chill 24, Chicago Wildfire 23
    • Atlanta Hustle 19, Tampa Bay Cannons 18
    • Philadelphia Phoenix 26, Montreal Royal 21
    • Toronto Rush 28, San Francisco FlameThrowers 18
    • Raleigh Flyers 31, Nashville Nightwatch 26
    • San Diego Growlers 26, Seattle Cascades 25
    • New York Empire 28, Ottawa Outlaws 16
    • Indianapolis Alleycats 27, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 18
  • Sunday, April 22
    • Dallas Roughnecks 23, Austin Sol 21
    • DC Breeze 26, Ottawa Outlaws 21
    • Los Angeles Aviators 25, San Jose Spiders 16

AUDL Standings

  • Eastern Division
    • Toronto 3-0
    • Philadelphia 1-1
    • New York 1-1
    • Montreal 1-1
    • DC 1-1
    • Ottawa 0-2
  • Southern Division
    • Atlanta 3-0
    • Dallas 3-0
    • Raleigh 3-1
    • Austin 1-1
    • Nashville 0-2
    • Tampa Bay 0-4
  • Midwest Division
    • Madison 2-0
    • Indianapolis 2-1
    • Minnesota 1-1
    • Chicago 1-1
    • Pittsburgh 1-2
    • Detroit 0-3
  • Western Division
    • San Diego 2-1
    • Los Angeles 2-2
    • San Jose 1-2
    • San Francisco 1-2
    • Seattle 1-2

This week’s schedule:

  • Friday, April 27
    • Raleigh at Austin
    • San Diego at San Jose
  • Saturday, April 28
    • Montreal at Ottawa
    • Pittsburgh at Madison
    • DC at Philadelphia
    • San Diego at San Francisco
    • Raleigh at Dallas
    • Nashville at Tampa Bay
    • Indianapolis at Chicago

Professional Disc League Opens 6th Season


Raleigh Opens With Win Over Tampa Bay


The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) had the opening pull of their sixth season this weekend with two games on the schedule.

Indianapolis AlleyCats 24, Detroit Mechanix 12

The AlleyCats (1-0) are coming off an 8-6 record from last season and got off to a good start with a convincing win over the Mechanix (0-1).  Detroit is hoping to improve of last seasons’ 4-10 record.

Raleigh Flyers 27, Tampa Bay Cannons 22

The Cannons (0-1) challenged the Flyers (1-0) for the first three quarters before the home team Flyers pulled away at the end to win 27-22 in their opening night matchup. The Flyers have won five straight against their divisional rivals dating back to 2016.  Jacob Fairfax had eight goals in the game for the Flyers which was the second highest single-game total of his career.

The league begins the 2018 season with 23 teams divided into four geographic regions (East, Midwest, South and West).  The league lost the Charlotte Express and Cincinnati Revolution, the Jacksonville Cannons initially moved to Orlando and then landed in Tampa.  The Vancouver Riptide moved to Portland and will play in 2019.   The Nashville Nightwatch are under new ownership.

According to the AUDL website’s “Tuesday Toss”, here are the top five places to watch an AUDL game:

Long considered a great ultimate town, the Sol have quickly built up a loyal following of fans, making their home atmosphere among the best in the league. Plus, the Sol’d Out crew has officially become the greatest unofficial media outlet in AUDL history.

Washington DC
The Breeze have a new home in 2018, moving about four miles north from Gallaudet University to Catholic University. It’s reasonable to expect the fans to follow, considering that DC has steadily supported its team over the past couple seasons, in which the team has gone 20-8. Pregame concerts and lucrative halftime promotions have become commonplace for the Breeze, who count DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as a fan.

Los Angeles
Three words: Ace the Aviator. Without question, LA has the league’s best mascot. Ace is the perfect mix of entertainment and engagement, without overshadowing the game. Aviators ownership deserves a lot of credit for building a brand in a town that is overflowing with activity.

Speaking of building a brand, no team in the league has done so like the Radicals. Often, they are featured on local news alongside the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers. As a result, Radicals players now get recognized more and more frequently around town. With a great home stadium, excellent concessions, passionate fans, and a fun and convenient postgame hangout destination, it makes all the sense in the world for Championship Weekend to return to Madison for the second time in three years.

Last year’s Final Four destination is certainly worthy of hosting another Championship Weekend down the road. Since the team’s inception in 2014, the Royal have delivered an exemplary gameday product, attracting fans and building a grand ultimate atmosphere. Their loyal followers are devoted to the home team, but appreciate of brilliant ultimate from either side. And their fans’ love can be attracted via great marketing, like when the Toronto Rush took the field wearing old-school Expos t-shirts last August.

This weekend’s games:

  • Saturday, April 7
    • Minnesota at Seattle
    • San Diego at Los Angeles
    • Detroit at Pittsburgh
    • Montreal at DC
    • San Jose at San Francisco
    • Atlanta at Tampa Bay
    • Dallas at Raleigh
    • Madison at Indianapolis
  • Sunday, April 8
    • Montreal at Philadelphia

Playoffs Set In AUDL


The 2017 regular season of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) wrapped up this weekend and here are the final standings:

East Division

  1. Toronto Rush (13-1)*
  2. DC Breeze (10-4)*
  3. Montreal Royal (9-5)*
  4. New York Empire (6-8)
  5. Philadelphia Phoenix (4-10)
  6. Ottawa Outlaws (2-12)

Midwest Division

  1. Madison Radicals (12-2)*
  2. Minnesota Wind Chill (11-3)*
  3. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (9-5)*
  4. Indianapolis Alley Cats (5-9)
  5. Chicago Wildfire (3-11)
  6. Detroit Mechanix (1-13)

Southern Division

  1. Raleigh Flyers (13-1)*
  2. Dallas Roughnecks (11-3)*
  3. Jacksonville Cannons (10-4)*
  4. Atlanta Hustle (5-9)
  5. Austin Sol (4-10)
  6. Nashville Nightwatch (0-14)

West Division

  1. San Francisco Flamethrowers (10-4)*
  2. Los Angeles Aviators (9-5)*
  3. San Jose Spiders (8-6)*
  4. Seattle Cascades (7-7)
  5. San Diego Growlers (7-7)
  6. Vancouver Riptide (1-13)

This weekend’s divisional playoffs will be Montreal at DC, Pittsburgh at Minnesota, Jacksonville at Dallas and San Jose at Los Angeles.

Pittsburgh edged Minnesota in the divisional round last year with a thrilling 20-18 win.  The Thunderbirds have won in this round the past two seasons but have failed to advance past the divisional final.

Toronto and Madison have qualified for their fifth straight postseason.

Montreal will host the AUDL championship weekend August 26-27.




Nightwatch Finishes Season Winless

nightwatchI did NOT think I would be writing that headline.

The Nightwatch closed out their 2017 season with a 33-24 loss to the Jacksonville Cannons on Saturday in Jacksonville.

At the end of last season, the Nashville Nightwatch rallied to win their final two games as well as their best performance in team history when they topped Jacksonville in their regular season finale 30-26 and scored the most goals in team history.  The future looked bright.

Then came the 2017 season.  A new home field.  A slow start.

The Nightwatch finished their third season at 0-14 and had -141 in goal differential which was the worst in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).  In three seasons, the Nightwatch is 5-37.

I would be surprised to see the Nightwatch return next season.  When a team shows no signs of improvement, it is very difficult to keep a team.  The surprising thing is the Nightwatch gets hundreds of players at their tryouts every year but they never seem to be able to get the right mix of talent to be truly competitive in the AUDL.  There may need to be some coaching changes in order to put a better team on the field.

Speaking of the field…..

Worst decision ever to move home games from Overton High School in Franklin to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville.  The field is terrible.  For day games, the sun is shining directly into the fans’ eyes and just not a good game experience.   Obviously, the team isn’t going to play in Nissan Stadium but a location closer to more fans would be ideal such as closer to Vanderbilt.  A practice field at Vanderbilt?  Find a better location that’s CLOSER to Nashville.  I have always told my wife that if we were to ever win the lottery that we would buy the team and build them a stadium.

I’m not going to be down on the players.  They played hard this season.  It is frustrating for them as well to play an uphill battle the entire season.  The closest game was a 14-11 loss to Jacksonville on April 23rd.

I didn’t cover much of the Nightwatch this season because, well, there wasn’t much to cover.   When you are going through a winless season, it is difficult to write positive things.   The excitement over the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup playoff run was a difficult shadow to play in.  The Nightwatch is already invisible to the media.  No coverage.  No support.  That makes a winless season even more difficult.

Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting game to watch and lots of action.  If you have never been to a game, you need to make the effort to go to one if you have an AUDL team near you.  There are some very talented players.

I really hope the Nightwatch will return but if they don’t improve their quality of play on the field – on a good home field – I don’t know how much longer they can survive.


Nightwatch Drop Home Opener To Atlanta

The Nashville Nightwatch hosted the Atlanta Hustle in their American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) home opener on Saturday night at Hunter Lane High School in front of over 175 fans.  After playing even in the first quarter, 9-9, the Nightwatch had some key turnovers to allow the Hustle to open up an 18-14 lead at halftime which the Nightwatch could never overcome.  The Nightwatch fall to 0-2 on the season.  

The Nightwatch looked promising in the first quarter with some tight play but was unable to sustain it throughout all four quarters in the loss.  The team also looked out-of-synch at times and not the fluid play they had at the end of the 2016 season.

The Nightwatch will host the Jacksonville Cannons next Sunday at noon.

I’m not really a fan of the move to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville.  The field is awful and the home side must deal with looking directly into the sun until the sun sets.  We ended up moving over to the shade on the visitors side.  It also seems a lot further away from downtown.  Last years’ Overton High School location was better but still too close to the interstate.  Let’s just say that I am glad I didn’t get season tickets.

Also, I was totally not a fan of the announcer and the music.  The music was almost unbearable and a terrible selection to play.  The Mario Brothers and Simpsons sound effects are totally outdated and would do better to calm it down.  Honestly, I almost left before the game even started because of the annoying loudness of the music.  

My observation after the first home game is that much improvement is needed on and off the field.  

Nashville Nightwatch Release 2017 Schedule


The Nashville Nightwatch will be back for the 2017 season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).   The Nightwatch will open their third season at Jacksonville then opens at home two weeks later against Atlanta.  The defending AUDL champions, Dallas Roughnecks, will come to Nashville on April 29th.  Here is the complete schedule (home games in bold):

  • April 1 – at Jacksonville
  • April 15 – Atlanta
  • April 23 – Jacksonville
  • April 29 – Dallas
  • May 6 – at Dallas
  • May 7 – at Austin
  • May 13 – at Atlanta
  • June 3 – Austin
  • June 10 – at Raleigh
  • June 18 – Raleigh
  • July 1 – Austin
  • July 8 – Raleigh
  • July 14 – at Atlanta
  • July 15 – at Jacksonville

The Nightwatch finished 3-11 last season to exceed their win total from 2015.  They closed out the season with an impressive 30-26 win over the Jacksonville Cannons.  They scored a franchise-high with 30 goals in the game.

If you have not attended a Nightwatch game and live in the Nashville area, please mark your calendar and at least try one game.  The sport is very exciting to watch and usually lots of scoring.  This could be a break-out year for the team.