Football Friday (7/19/19)

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Sioux Falls Storm defeats Arizona Rattlers to win United Bowl title

Let’s take a look at what’s going on with American Football being played around the world and the latest news:

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

American Arena League, CEO, Tony Zefiretto released the 2019 American Arena League All Star Team. “The unbalanced schedule presented some uniqueness to the process of owners and coaches nominating the players. We have representation from eight different teams. Although we do not anticipate an All Star game this season, these players deserve to be recognized for their outstanding seasons.”

  • Coach of the Year Ervin Bryson Carolina Energy Mook Zimmerman West Virginia Roughriders
  • Dance Team of the Year First Class Dance Team Jersey Flight Sparks West Michigan Ironmen
  • Mascot of the Year Fe West Michigan Ironmen Richie the Rider West Virginia Roughriders
  • Kicker Jed Solomon Georgia Doom
  • Kick Returner Noel Devine West Virginia Roughriders
  • Offensive Player of the Year Larry Beavers West Virginia Roughriders
  • Quarterback Jarrett Brown West Virginia Roughriders
  • Running Back Dakota Smith West Michigan Ironmen
  • Wide Receiver Larry Beavers Jr. West Virginia Roughriders Gerron “Scooby” Bryant Carolina Energy Carrington Thompson West Michigan Ironmen Antwoine Thorpe Cape Fear Heroes
  • Offensive Line Steven Fluker Cape Fear Heroes Leon Hill Carolina Energy Zach Hooks Carolina Havoc Jesse Somsel West Michigan Ironmen
  • Defensive Player of the Year
  • Ellis Lankster West Virginia Roughriders Fred Williams Carolina Energy
  • Linebacker Cornelius Edmonds Indianapolis Enforcers Brian Price West Virginia Roughriders Fred Williams Carolina Energy
  • Defensive Back Ellis Lankster West Virginia Roughriders Sayyid Muhammad Carolina Energy Kevin Scott Jersey Flight Carlos Thomas Carolina Energy
  • Defensive Line Ryan Armstrong West Michigan Ironmen Harold Love West Virginia Roughriders Josh Smith Carolina Havoc Dequan Harvin Carolina Energy

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Washington Valor (6-5) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (6-5), 47-40, Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson threw for 271 yards and totaled seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. With the win, Washington clinches a postseason berth for the second consecutive season. After closing out the regular season next weekend against Columbus, the Valor will begin postseason play on the weekend of July 26. The 2019 postseason will kick off with a pair of home-and-home series between the top four teams in the league (#1 vs. #4 and #2 vs. #3) with games played on the weekends of July 26 and August 2. Teams will advance to ArenaBowl XXXII based on the aggregate score of the two games played. Unlike the first round of the playoffs, ArenaBowl XXXII will be a traditional single-game matchup on Sunday, August 11 at 3 p.m. ArenaBowl XXXII will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Duke City Gladiators are once again CIF Champions after they beat the Salina Liberty on Saturday night 35-29. The Gladiators are now two-time winners out of just five CIF Champions Bowl games.

“Amazing, we got the toughest young men in the country and I am not saying that because of an emotional win. I am saying that because man, did you see this game, it was all about guts”, said Gladiators Head Coach Dominic Bramante.

The Gladiators and Liberty were tied at 29 with under 30 seconds left in regulation, but 1st year DC running back Romello Brown would punch in the game-winning touchdown from two yards out.

“Right before the play, the running back in front of me, Justin Kelly, he told me to make a nice cutout. The lineman blocked well for me, and I put God first, and it happened man. I am very blessed”, said Romello Brown.

It was a big celebration after this win and Mayor Tim Keller was there to celebrate with the team after their 2nd consecutive CIF Championship victory.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (8-0) win their second-straight divisional crown as they head into the 2019 GDFL Playoffs they won a messy game against the River City Pythons (5-3) on Saturday, a game that was sealed up by Randall “BayBay”Smith two interceptions of Carl Davis.

The pick halted a late Pythons’ drive and ended the game at 24-0 for the Bulldawgs. The Pythons have struggled to score for the 2nd time this season against the Bulldawgs only managing six points out of two games and the Pythons offense hit rock bottom at home against the Bulldawgs, while Carl Davis was just 4 of 11 for 60 yards and threw 6 interceptions Ramon Stevens was the Pythons’ leading rusher he only manged 40 yards on the ground.

That’s saying a lot, especially considering The Bulldawgs forced a team high of 8 turnovers in one game which is a franchise record, both teams went into halftime tied 0-0 but the excitement about the game for the Pythons might have been dampened though, quite literally, by the fact that the second half of the game was played in an absolute downpour. Head Coach Derek Baker,said It was like a monsoon out there.

There was widespread flooding reported throughout the south as Hurricane Berry made land fall in Louisiana and the effects where felt as far away as Decatur,Alabama.

The game suffered a bit from the conditions, as sloppy passes, lost footing, and general sogginess slowed down play and hindered execution. In the end, the Bulldawgs got it done though, grabbing the Xtreme Division and handing the Pythons their third loss of the season and costing them the Impact South Division crown.

Middle Tennessee relied on their running game and defense to get them through the weather conditions, the Bulldawgs ran the ball by committee and ended up with 300 yards rushing and 3 rushing touchdowns with 5 different backs getting touches Keon Bohannon had 10 rushes for 55 yards and Tae Bradley had 15 for 65 yards add in Rahiim Muhammad the Black Rhino coming back off an injury since February,he had 9 rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown and lead all backs.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Sioux Falls Storm claimed their 11th National Championship after defeating the Arizona Rattlers in the 2019 United Bowl 56-53.

The Storm would strike first after a seven-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Damian Ford to take an early 7-0 lead. The Rattlers responded by scoring back to back touchdowns to take a 7-14 lead; the first was a three-yard rushing touchdown by Jarrod Harrington and then a two-yard rushing touchdown by Jamal Miles. The quarter would end with a score of 14-14 after a 40-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Brandon Sheperd.

The second quarter was a back and forth battle where the Rattlers would take a 14-21 lead after a one-yard rushing touchdown by Drew Powell. The Storm tied it up after a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Brandon Sheperd. The Rattlers would take a 21-28 lead after a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Anthony Amos. The Storm tied the game after a six-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown. The Rattlers would end the half with a score of 28-31 after a 31-yard field goal by Jimmy Camacho.

The Rattlers would be the first to strike in the third quarter and take a 28-38 lead after a eight-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Jamal Miles. The Storm would score back to back touchdowns to take a 42-38 lead; the first was a three-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Kent Shelby and then a two-yard rushing touchdown by Calen Campbell. The Rattlers would end the quarter with a score of 42-45 after a 58-yard kickoff return Jarrod Harrington.

The Storm opened the fourth quarter by scoring back to back touchdowns to take a 56-45 lead; the first touchdown was a 26-yard pass by Lorenzo Brown to Calen Campbell and then a nine-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Kent Shelby. The Rattlers would end the game with a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Drew Powell but failed the two point conversion, bringing the final score to 56-53.

Quarterback Lorenzo Brown completed 15 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns, he also had 19 rushing yards and one touchdown. Running back Calen Campbell had 28 yards and one touchdown, he also had 28 receiving yards and one touchdown. Wide receivers Brandon Sheperd accumulated 115 receiving yards for one touchdown and 21 rushing yards and one touchdown, Damian Ford had 38 yards and one touchdown, Kent Shelby had 19 receiving yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 30 yards. Kicker Parker Douglass was perfect on the night after hitting all eight extra points. Linebacker T.J. Neal led the Thunder Defense with eight tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass break-up. Defensive backs Lorenzo White had one tackle for loss while Jermaine Robinson had one pass break-up. Defensive linemen Charles Williams had 1.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery while Claude Davis had .5 tackle for loss.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

In three years there had only been one shutout in NAL history until two week ago when the Cobras travelled to Orlando and beat the Predators (2-10) 60-0, but home cooking is good the second time around as the Cobras outperformed the first matchup, this time winning 72-0 in Greensboro to run their record to 9-3 and with the Pirates losing the Cobras now will host a playoff game as they locked up the #2 Seed in the NAL Playoffs. Jordan Jolly also set a NEW NAL record for yardage on the year with 1,119 yards for the season, beating the old record of 1,085 set by Durron Neal of the Columbus Lions last season. Charles McCullum tied the NAL record with nine TD passes, and I believe the Cobras defense set an NAL record allowing only five first downs and 66 net yards passing.

Current standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (11-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (9-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-5)
  4. Columbus Lions (4-8)
  5. New York Streets (3-9)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-10)

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

AUSTRIA

The Dacia Vienna Vikings scored two second half touchdowns and solved a riddle in beating the Prague Black Panthers in the Austrian Football League semifinals to advance to Austrian Bowl XXXV.

The riddle was simple. How do you stop the Prague running attack in the second half while mounting your own running attack? The answer. Play harder and smarter. And they did just that.

Prague running back Herbert Gamboa had a field day in the first half against the Vikings, rushing for 143 yards and scoring two touchdowns while his quarterback Dylan Potts rushed for 47 and another score.

In the second half, Gamboa was held to seven yards, Potts eight. And zero touchdowns.  Read more…

CANADA

Current Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Hamilton Tigercats (4-1)
    • Montreal Alouettes (2-2)
    • Ottawa RedBlacks (2-2)
    • Toronto Argonauts (0-4)
  • Western Division
    • Winnipeg Bluebombers (4-0)
    • Edmonton Eskimos (3-1)
    • Calgary Stampeders (2-2)
    • Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-3)
    • British Columbia Lions (1-4)

Last Week’s Results:

  • Edmonton 33, British Columbia 6
  • Winnipeg 48, Toronto 21
  • Montreal 36, Ottawa 19
  • Hamilton 30, Calgary 23

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Toronto at Calgary
  • Ottawa at Winnipeg
  • Edmonton at Montreal
  • British Columbia at Saskatchewan

SWITZERLAND

The Calanda Broncos played extremely effective football this past weekend in shutting out the Geneva Seahawks 31-0 to win Swiss Bowl XXXIV, claiming their third straight title and 10th overall.

With a smothering defense that snagged two interceptions, forced a fumble and made three key fourth down stops, the Broncos stunned the visitors and the rest of the Swiss football community.

It wasn’t the win but the way they won that surprised everyone.

Geneva had beaten the defending champs once during the regular season and had looked solid all year. Experts were expecting an exciting, close-fought final.

On this day though, Calanda simply took it up a notch.  Read more…

TURKEY

The unbeaten and defending champion Koc Rams (7-0) will be looking to win their fourth straight Turkish title Sunday, July 14 when the take on the 6-2 METU Falcons in the Turkish Bowl.

The Rams downed the ITÜ Hornets 35-27 in the semifinals to advance to the title game while METU qualified by edging the Bogazici Sultans 28-26.

In the only meeting between the two teams this season, the Rams came out on top 33-23.

The Rams are making their sixth consecutive trip to the Turkish final while the Falcons are appearing for the second time in their history.  Read more…

(Thanks to oursportscentral.com and American Football International for their reports.)

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.)

 

AAF Week 7: First Overtime & First Playoff Spot Clinched

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John Wolford Leads Arizona To A Big Win

Week 7 of the first season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) had a little bit of everything.  Just when you thought you had seen all the first of the new league, this week gave us a few more.

ORLANDO APOLLOS 36, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6

Led by running back De’Veon Smith’s three rushing touchdowns, Orlando beat the Atlanta Legends to clinch the first spot in the Eastern Conference championship game.  Any hope of a close game disappeared in the second half, when Atlanta turned the ball over twice to end promising drives. The first came in the third quarter, when Apollos cornerback Deji Olatoye intercepted a pass from Legends quarterback Aaron Murray and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to give Orlando a commanding 28-6 lead.  Murray threw another interception on the Legends’ next possession, to cornerback Cody Riggs at the Apollos’ goal line.  Garrett Gilbert added a touchdown pass to wide receiver Charles Johnson in the fourth quarter.

Next:

  • Orlando at Memphis
  • Atlanta at Birmingham

MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31, BIRMINGHAM 25 (ot)

With all the hype surrounding the signing of Johnny Manziel, it was Memphis Quarterback Brandon Silvers who led the Express to their second win of the season Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron in the first overtime game in AAF history.  Silvers went 24-for-35 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to wide receiver Dan Williams on a 10-yard slant in overtime.  The Memphis Express scored the final 17 points of the game after trailing 25-14 with 9:01 left in regulation. The performance of Silvers, the Express defense getting pressure on Iron quarterback Luis Perez and big plays on special teams carried Memphis to its second win of the season.  The momentum of the game started to change late in the third quarter when DeMarquis Gates blocked an Iron punt and defensive back Terrell Bonds ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown. It was the first blocked punt and blocked punt touchdown in the history of The Alliance.

Next:

  • Memphis will host Orlando
  • Birmingham will host Atlanta

SAN ANOTNIO COMMANDERS 19, SALT LAKE STALLIONS 15

Trey Williams’ 36-yard touchdown reception and Greg Ward Jr.’s two-point conversion catch with less than six minutes left gave San Antonio the win over Salt Lake in front of an Alliance-record 30,345 fans at the Alamodome. Williams took a short pass from reserve quarterback Marquise Williams – who entered the game in the fourth quarter for injured starter Logan Woodside – sprinted down the right sideline and leaped into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Marquise Williams then found Ward Jr. for a successful two-point conversion to put San Antonio up 17-9 with 5:29 left to play. On the ensuing possession, the Stallions drove 75 yards to make it a two-point contest after Terrell Newby’s 21-yard TD reception from Josh Woodrum on the first play following the two-minute warning. Salt Lake had a chance to tie the score on the two-point try but De’Vante Bausby stepped in front of Woodrum’s pass in the left flat and returned it untouched to make it 19-15.

Next:

  • San Antonio hosts Arizona
  • Salt Lake hosts San Diego

ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 15

Behind Hotshots quarterback John Wolford, Arizona emerged from a back-and-forth first half with a slight lead and pulled away with a fourth-quarter surge to defeat San Diego, 32-15, on Sunday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium. The victory pushed the Hotshots (4-3) into second place in the Western Conference — a game behind San Antonio (5-2) — and into fourth place in the league with four postseason spots up for grabs. San Diego felWolford completed an efficient 15 of 19 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns to one pick, while adding 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Rashad Ross, a stellar receiver all season for Arizona, had three catches for 53 yards.

Next:

  • Arizona at San Antonio
  • San Diego at Salt Lake

AAF STANDINGS:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (6-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-3)
  • Memphis Express (2-5)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (5-2)
  • Arizona Hotshots (4-3)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-4)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-5)

AAF NEWS AND NOTES:

  • The AFF is moving its championship game from Las Vegas to Frisco, Texas. The new eight-team spring league said last week that the April 27 title game will switch to The Ford Center at the Star, which is owned by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys and is the indoor practice arena for the team.
  • Johnny Manziel’s first game in the AAF with the Memphis Express drew solid TV ratings. Over 250,000 tuned in for Manziel’s game against the Birmingham Iron on the NFL Network. Johnny Football slung it for 48 yards and rushed for 20 yards coming in off the bench in the winning effort for Memphis.
  • Tom Dundon, who just injected $250 million into the Alliance in February. Speaking with USA Today Sports, Dundon, the owner of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, said the start-up league could be in danger of folding without the cooperation of the NFLPA in acquiring young talent. “If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”

 

Orlando Suffers First Loss In AAF

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Hotshots Bring Down Apollos in Week 6

Through five weeks into the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), it looked like Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos were unbeatable.  In week 6 they were beaten.  Here’s a recap of the games from Week 6:

Arizona Hotshots 22, Orlando Apollos 17

The Hotshots reminded the Apollos that no one was perfect as they held the Apollos to a season-low 17 points as the offense never really got on track.   The Hotshots were the ones calling the shots on offense, especially on the ground.  Tim Cook had 11 carries for 71 yards, Jhurell Pressley ran for 57 yards and Justin Stockton added 37 yards which wore down the Apollos’ defensive line while controlling the line-of-scrimmage.  Arizona was 2-of-2 in the red zone.  The win snaps the Hotshots’ three game losing streak.

Next:  Orlando plays at Atlanta, Arizona hosts San Diego.

Salt Lake 22, Memphis 9

Salt Lake started out strong offensively in the opening quarter jumping to an early 16-0 lead at the hands of QB Josh Woodrum completing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Nick Truesdell on the game’s opening drive. Continuing with the league’s highest 2-point conversion rate, Woodrum capitalized the drive when hitting WR Jordan Leslie for the two-point conversion.  Salt Lake continued with their first quarter flurry by capping off a 44-yard scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown from Woodrum to TE Anthony Denham. RB Terrell Newby caught a pass from Woodrum to convert their second consecutive two-point conversion to take a 16-0. Following a key defensive stop following on a surprise Memphis fake-punt, K Taylor Bertolet kicked a 26-yard field goal to put the Stallions up 19-0.

Next:  Salt Lake travels to San Antonio, Memphis hosts Birmingham

San Antonio 37, Atlanta 6

The San Antonio Commanders scored early and never trailed as they defeated the Atlanta Legends 37-6 in front of 10,619 at Georgia State Stadium. The Commanders (4-2) set a season-high in points by scoring 37, and the defense matched its best performance of the year by holding the Legends (2-4) to just six points.  The San Antonio defense led the way by forcing four turnovers, marking the third straight week with three or more turnovers. De’Vante Bausby, Zack Sanchez and Derron Smith all tallied an interception and Duke Thomas recovered a fumble in the victory. Offensively, Logan Woodside completed 17 of his 23 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – one to Mekale McKay and another to Evan Rodriguez.

Next:  San Antonio will host Salt Lake, Atlanta is at home against Orlando

Birmingham 32, San Diego 29

Quarterback Luis Perez came off the bench for injured starter Keith Price and threw three touchdowns, and he led a final drive that ended with Nick Novak’s 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to lift the Birmingham Iron to a victory over the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The win ends Birmingham’s two-game losing streak.

Next:  Birmingham plays at Memphis, San Diego is at Arizona.

AFF News and Notes:

  • Johnny Manziel has joined the Memphis Express.   There has been no indication on when Manziel might see his first action in the AAF.
  • The Birmingham Iron’s front office has undergone a midseason shake-up.  Iron President Tom Ward and Vice President for Marketing Randy Campbell are no longer with the team. It’s unclear if they were fired or left the organization voluntarily.
  • Offensive player of the week: Birmingham WR L’Damian Washington. Washington had four receptions for 128 yards and two touchdowns in The Iron’s 32-29 week six win. The performance marks team single-game records in receiving yards and touchdown catches, while Washington became the first player in Alliance history with at least 125 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in the same game.
  • Defensive player of the week: Salt Lake DE Karter Schult. Schult tallied five total tackles, two sacks and four QB hits in The Stallions’ 22-9 victory last week. Schult, who leads The Alliance with seven sacks this season, anchored a Salt Lake defense that held Memphis to nine points and 239 total yards while racking up seven team sacks in the win.
  • Special teams player of the week: San Antonio PR Greg Ward, Jr. Ward, Jr., a highly-accomplished quarterback at the University of Houston before transitioning to wide receiver/returner after college, set an Alliance record with a 79-yard punt return-touchdown in The Commanders’ 37-6 win in week six.

AAF Standings:

Eastern Conference

  • Orlando Apollos (5-1)
  • Birmingham Iron (4-2)
  • Atlanta Legends (2-4)
  • Memphis Express (1-5)

Western Conference

  • San Antonio Commanders (4-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (3-3)
  • Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
  • Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)

 

 

SW Florida To Debut New Arena League

ALeagueA new arena “football” league is set to begin play in four Southwest Florida cities in 2019.  I put the word “football” in quotes because one of the unique rules will be no kicking.  No punts, field goals or extra points will be allowed.  The league has been organized by the ownership group of the Lakeland Tarpons.  Other teams will include the Sarasota BigCats, Gulf Coast Fire (Ft. Myers) and Manatee Neptunes (Bradenton).

The Tarpons have bounced around several leagues since they were an expansion team in the Ultimate Indoor Football League (UIFL) in 2012.  They moved to Arena Indoor Football (AIF) in 2016 and then Arena Pro Football (APF) in 2017.  They played this past season in the American Arena League (AAL).

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Lakeland Tarpons will have a league of their own in 2019

The A-League will feature several unique innovations.   There will also be new rules designed to speed up game play and enhance the fan experience. Teams will only carry 16-man rosters, which must include at least two players who play both offensive and defense. Dubbed “The Deuce”, these two way players must play all 60 minutes on both sides of the ball.

There will also be no kicking in the game. The elimination of the kicking game dramatically improves the pace of the game and eliminates many dead ball fouls and timeouts. Teams will scrimmage from their own five-yard line, or if turned over on downs, will scrimmage from that spot.

A totally unique element of the A-League is the scheduled double header game concept. All four teams will host a regular-season doubleheader where all teams will play in the same arena in back-to-back games.

The A-League season will run from May to the end of July, 2019. All teams are owned and operated by A-League Sports with teams located in a tight footprint of local Florida markets including, Lakeland, FT Myers, Sarasota and Bradenton. Plans are in place for the addition of two to four new teams for the 2020 season. Each team will play an eight-game regular season with four home games in each team’s home venue.

The A-League is developing partnerships with regional semi-pro teams to develop talent for their rosters.

The A-League will join the Arena Football League (AFL), Indoor Football League (IFL), Champions Indoor Football (CIF), American Arena League (AAL), National Arena League (NAL) and National Gridiron League (NGL) on the indoor turf next season.

For more information on the A-League you can click here.

 

Names/Logos Set For Alliance of American Football Teams

AAF TeamsOkay, the wait is over (if you were really waiting for this).  The newest professional football league has now released their team names and logos.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is scheduled to kickoff on February 9, 2019.

So here they are.  These are your 10 teams:

  • Orlando Apollos
    • Stadium:  Spectrum Stadium
    • Coach:  Steve Spurrier
  • Atlanta Legends
    • Stadium:  Georgia State Stadium
    • Coach:  Brad Childress
  • Memphis Express
    • Stadium:  Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Singletary
  • Birmingham Iron
    • Stadium:  Legion Field Stadium
    • Coach:  Tim Lewis
  • Salt Lake Stallions
    • Stadium:  Rice-Eccles Stadium
    • Coach:  Dennis Erickson
  • Arizona Hotshots
    • Stadium:  Sun Devil Stadium
    • Coach:  Rick Neuheisel
  • San Diego Fleet
    • Stadium:  San Diego County Credit Union Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Martz
  • San Antonio Commanders
    • Stadium:  Alamodome
    • Coach:  Mike Riley

I don’t love or hate any of these names/logos for these proposed teams.  They didn’t pick any of the names I had expected such as Memphis Hound Dogs, Orlando Wizards, Birmingham Bulls, San Diego Breakers and San Antonio Outlaws.  Hopefully they will not end up in the graveyard of failed leagues.  Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham and San Antonio have had teams in many of the failed leagues in the past so it will be interesting to see if the fans of these cities will embrace the newest teams or will wait to see their teams fold again.  Arizona and Atlanta are the only teams with active National Football League (NFL) teams in the same city but with the spring schedule, they will not compete head-to-head.  I was a little surprised that the AAF failed to place a franchise in St. Louis.  Maybe that is in their future plans as well as expansion into the Northeast U.S.

So how will the AAF be different than the NFL?

  • AAF will get rid of kicking the extra point.  Instead, teams will go for two.
  • Play clock will be reduced to 30 seconds
  • No kickoffs.  Teams will start with the ball at the 25 to begin play.
  • Instead of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards.

So will the AAF survive where the USFL, WFL, CFL and other leagues failed?  It seems they are off to a good start and have some legitimate people running the league.  The last sustained attempt at an alternative spring league was the United States Football League which lasted from 1983-1986.  The league folded when the plans were made to move to the fall and compete head-to-head with the NFL.  Maybe the AAF will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  If it works, we may have access to football year-round.  That’s enough to make football haters cringe.