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.

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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.

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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)

 

 

 

 

 

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.