Football Chatter

wr-romeI was thinking about my football teams today and I’m not sure how this season is going to end.  Let me start with the high school level…

My “adopted” Georgia High School football team, Warner Robins, is playing the Rome Wolves for the third year in a row in the postseason.  Three years ago, Rome demolished Warner Robins 38-0 in the state final.  Last year, Warner Robins got revenge with a 45-28 win in the state semifinals.  This season they are meeting in the second round.  I’m really not sure how this one is going to go.

I live about a mile from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  I haven’t been to any of the games and I really don’t know much about Tennessee high school football like I do in my history with Georgia but I know this week is a big deal as the Blackman Blaze play cross-town rivals Oakland Patriots in the quarterfinals.  Oakland is the defending state champion.  Blackman hasn’t had a great season from what I have seen but they are on a roll.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset here.

I took a peek at the national high school football rankings and here is the latest top 10 teams in the nation:

  1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  3. Duncanville (Duncanville, TX)
  4. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
  5. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
  6. Saint Louis (Honolulu, HI)
  7. Katy (Katy, TX)
  8. De La Salle (Concord, CA)
  9. Allen (Allen, TX)
  10. Lakeland (Lakeland, FL)

In college football, the Georgia Bulldogs are ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings but they have struggled on offense in recent weeks.  I know that worries folks but a win is still a win.  A one-point win is still as good as a 30-point win.  This week the Bulldogs play Texas A&M.  The Aggies are 7-3 so they won’t be a pushover for the Bulldogs and will probably play them tough.   Texas A&M leads the series with a 3-2 record but have lost the last two games in the series.

I attempted to go to a Middle Tennessee State University football game this year but the Saturday I had tickets for a game, I had a flat tire and spent the day dealing with that.  I haven’t tried since but maybe it’s a good thing since the Blue Raiders are having a down year.  They lost to a previously winless Rice University last week.  They play their last home game this Saturday when Old Dominion comes to town.  Old Dominion is 1-9 on the season so who knows which Blue Raider team will show up?  MTSU is 3-7 on the season so there are no bowl games possible this season.

The Tennessee Titans are 5-5 and coming off a bye-week after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago.  They host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday in an AFC South battle.  The Titans have a golden opportunity to make things happen as they play AFC South teams in four of their last six games.  I’m still not sure how far the team can go with Ryan Tanneyhill at quarterback and the pass defense still scares me.

The Atlanta Falcons have won two games in a row since their bye week as they have actually played solid defense in their two wins over the Saints and Panthers not allowing a touchdown in those games.  Whatever they have done has worked and a few more wins could possibly save Dan Quinn’s job.   Don’t get excited and start thinking playoff possibilities because I’m not sure a 9-7 finish would get them in.

That’s all of my thoughts on football this week.

 

 

 

 

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Arena Football League Sacked

aflIt appears that the crazy version called the Arena Football League (AFL) has folded.  The AFL, which was a condensed, indoor version of football has been lighting up the scoreboard with pinball football since 1987.

If the AFL were a cat, it is on it’s 9 1/2 life.  While the league office suggested that the league might continue in some form as a “travel/touring” league, most football experts believe that this is the final blow.  The news came as a surprise to many players and fans of the AFL.

In a statement released Tuesday, the league office said it is still searching for ways to continue operations in the future, but also acknowledged it is laying off employees.

“These closures have resulted in the elimination of various staff positions and is a direct consequence of the current financial constraints facing the AFL, which include extensive legacy liabilities and a recent multimillion dollar litigation filed against the league by an insurance carrier that provided coverage for the AFL between 2009 and 2012,” the league said in a statement. “Those liabilities, which are all related to prior league operations, severely constrain the league’s ability to expand and operate.”

The litigation that spurred the move was filed against Arena Football One by National Union Fire Insurance Company two weeks ago in New York Supreme Court in an effort to compel arbitration, alleging the league did not pay insurance premiums when National Union was the insurer from 2009 to 2012.

The suit alleges Arena Football One owes National Union over $2.4 million.

If the petition of arbitration is declined by a court, National Union has requested it be viewed as a complaint for breach of contract by the court, potentially leading to a lawsuit. The next appearance date for the petition is Dec. 18.

The AFL launched in 1987 with four teams and eventually as many as 19 teams in 2001.  The league even created their own second-tier league called AF2 which played from 2000-2009.  I attended many of the Macon Knights’ AF2 franchise.  The game was exciting to watch and high scoring.  Arena football was played on artificial turf over a hockey-rink sized field with “rebound nets” on each end where the ball was still in play when it bounced off of them.  The league also played in the winter/spring so as not to compete with college football or the National Football League (NFL).  The NFL never totally used the AFL as a developmental league which would have probably saved them.

The AFL had just four teams in 2018 but expanded to six before the 2019 season. Those six teams are based out of Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington. The league went bankrupt in 2009 and even had to cancel the season before ultimately being brought back.

It doesn’t appear that there is much hope that the AFL will rebound to play again.  While there are still other indoor leagues, the AFL was always the “major league” among them.  It is doubtful that another league could rise to a major league caliber indoor league.  Even the other indoor leagues are in a state of flux with mergers and teams jumping to other leagues.  The only way a league could get a good footing on the indoor game would be with the backing of NFL financing and that is not likely to happen.

 

 

From Falcons to Titans: One Fan’s Transition

Falcons-TitansFor most of my life my favorite NFL team was the Atlanta Falcons.  I think you can clearly pick out the key word in that last sentence.

Since moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2014, I have slowly transitioned to having my allegiance changed to the Tennessee Titans.  My allegiance was confirmed yesterday while I was watching the Titans-Falcons game yesterday.  I could sense I was pulling for the Titans.

The Falcons have been a disappointment.  I think the final straw was the historic collapse in Super Bowl LI when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to lose to the New England Patriots.  I sensed my loyalties making the shift after that game.

There were some good moments – but there were many disappointments.  Before the stunning failure in the Super Bowl, the lingering pain was from the 1980 NFC Divisional Playoff game when the Falcons folded against the Dallas Cowboys.  Unlike SOME fans, I was never a “fair weather” fan.  With the Falcons you couldn’t be one of those because there wasn’t much “fair weather” to enjoy anyway.  There were many lean years but I hung in there with them.

There were a few happy moments such as the 1998 NFC Championship Game when the Falcons stunned the heavily-favored Minnesota Vikings for their first trip to the Super Bowl.  I watched the game from the conference room at the office where I worked because my former in-laws were visiting that weekend and they did not want to watch a football game so I decided that I needed to “work” that day.   When Morten Anderson kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime to win the game, I was laid out in the floor overcome with emotions.

Another highlight that stands out in my memory was in a game between the Falcons and New Orleans Saints.  It was in 1978 and the Falcons were down 17-13 with 19 seconds left in the game.  Falcons’ quarterback Steve Bartkowski aired what they call a “Hail Mary pass” down to the end zone.  The ball was tipped by Falcons receiver Wallace Francis into the hands of his teammate Alfred Jackson to give the Falcons a 20-17 victory.  That win propelled the Falcons to their first playoff appearance.

I even wrote to the Falcons years ago asking them to please change their logo from that of the Falcon with its wings in a down swing motion.  I thought that image set the tone for negativity.  They eventually did alter the logo slightly a few years ago but I’m sure it had nothing to do with my suggestion.

So, now I have transitioned to the Tennessee Titans.  Some would say it’s not much better.  Probably not.  The Titans have not been the model of consistency in recent years.  They have a record of 34-50 since I have lived here and one playoff win.  I needed a change.

I do still cheer for the Falcons when they are playing anyone else but it is no longer a dilemma when they play the Titans.

Yeah, I could probably do like most do and cheer for the Cowboys or Patriots.  It’s always funny to see the Cowboy “fans” come out when the team is playing well as if they had always been a fan of the team.  It’s easy to be a fan when a team is winning.  It’s even tolerable when they have bad seasons but it’s agonizing when they are losers more than they are winners.

It’s a game.  That’s all it is anyway.  It isn’t going to matter which team I support.

 

 

 

Football Friday (7/26/19)

unicorns

Germany’s Schwabisch Hall Unicorns are Europe’s Top Team

Here’s a recap of American football leagues around the world:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Albany Empire enters the AFL playoffs as the top seed.  Returning home for the first time in nearly a month, the Empire made a statement in the team’s tenth win of the season, handling the Philadelphia Soul, 72-27 in the regular season finale. Albany dominated from start to finish and ended the game with the largest margin of victory in Empire history and the most points scored by one team in a game in 2019. The Empire remain home this weekend for the first game of a home-and-home playoff series against the Baltimore Brigade. The Philadelphia Soul (7-5) begin their quest for a fourth ArenaBowl title this Sunday at 3:30 pm against the defending champion Washington Valor (7-5) at Capital One Arena. Having fallen to the three seed after a loss to the Empire in the regular season finale, the Soul will host the second leg of the home-and-home series at the Wells Fargo Center on August 4th at 4 pm.

Final Regular Season Standings:

  1. Albany Empire (10-2)
  2. Washington Valor (7-5)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (7-5)
  4. Baltimore Brigade (7-5)
  5. Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-8)
  6. Columbus Destroyers (1-11)

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

Champions Indoor Football announced that the Duke City Gladiators had submitted a petition for a voluntary release from their league commitment. This afternoon, the CIF of Board of Directors voted unanimously to honor Duke City’s petition and release the team from the CIF effective immediately. All six remaining teams also reaffirmed their commitment to the CIF for the upcoming 2020 season.

“The owners of the six current teams of the CIF are working hard this off-season and are dedicated to the growth of the league as we enter our sixth season,” CIF Commissioner

Ricky Bertz said. “Our owners are dedicated to the CIF and continuing the league’s growth moving forward. We have six solid teams and will also continue to evaluate possible expansion options as we proceed towards the 2020 season.”

Champions Indoor Football announced today that the Duke City Gladiators had submitted a petition for a voluntary release from their league commitment. This afternoon, the CIF of Board of Directors voted unanimously to honor Duke City’s petition and release the team from the CIF effective immediately. All six remaining teams also reaffirmed their commitment to the CIF for the upcoming 2020 season.

“The owners of the six current teams of the CIF are working hard this off-season and are dedicated to the growth of the league as we enter our sixth season,” CIF Commissioner

Ricky Bertz said. “Our owners are dedicated to the CIF and continuing the league’s growth moving forward. We have six solid teams and will also continue to evaluate possible expansion options as we proceed towards the 2020 season.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (9-0) defeated the Tri-City Outlaws (4-5) 12-6 in a game that was continued after being postponed due to a torrential downpour this past Saturday. With 1:57 left in the first half, Bulldawg defensive back Randall “Bay Bay” Smith scored from the “Dawg-Cat” position on the first play from scrimmage. His run of 17 yards tied the game.  Read more…

The Oklahoma Thunder are looking to do something that’s never been done in before in minor league football, win four straight national championships. They’re well on their way to doing that after a convincing win in round one of the playoffs. Oklahoma took down the Joplin Crusaders with a 28-6 final score. With that, one step closer to returning to the national championship.  Read more…

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The owner of the IFL’s Grand Island-based Nebraska Danger announced the team will most likely be put up for sale. It is hoped a new ownership group would keep the team in Grand Island, but if that is not possible the team could be sold and moved to a new location. The Nebraska Danger joined the IFL as an expansion team for the 2011 season and just completed its ninth season.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Columbus Lions (5-8) stormed back from a 43-20 deficit to beat the Orlando Predators (2-12) in overtime 52-46. In doing so, the Lions clinched a playoff berth for the 3rd straight year and set up a future date with the Jacksonville Sharks.  Read more here…

Current Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (12-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (10-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-6)
  4. Columbus Lions (5-8)
  5. New York Streets (3-10)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-11)

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES:

CANADA

The Saskatchewan Roughriders came out on top in a back-and-forth battle against the BC Lions on Saturday Night, combining big offensive plays and relentless defensive pressure to claim the 38-25 home win.  A thrilling 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from Marcus Thigpen gave the Riders a one-point lead heading into the second half, but the Lions continued to stick around until three consecutive touchdown drives from the Riders in the second half sealed the victory.  Read more…

GERMANY

The German Football League returns this weekend with a full schedule of games after a four-week July break for most of the teams.

Two teams remain unbeaten so far as the GFL has reached the midpoint of the season. The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, winners of four of the last six German championships, and the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns who have won the last two titles.

There were a total of three games during four week break but this weekend, all 16 teams will be back in action.

EUROPE’S TOP 10

  1. Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (9-0 GFL) – Germany (Last poll: #1)The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns have passed the halfway point of the 2019 season and look just as dominant as ever. The Unicorns are on a 43 game winning streak stretching back to the 2016 German Bowl and show no signs of letting up. This year they have beaten the Marburg Mercenaries 52-9, the Ingolstadt Dukes 24-0, the Munich Cowboys 35-3, Kirchdorf Wildcats 51-12, Stuttgart Scorpions 63-13, Frankfurt Universe 31-0, Stuttgart again, 63-21, Kirchdorf Wildcats 56-0 and Ingolstadt Dukes 51-0.  Next up: Munich Cowboys, July 27.
  2. Swarco Raiders (14-0 – AFL: 11-0 CEFL: 4-0 Int.) – Austria (Last poll: #2)The defending Austrian champs have looked just as impressive as ever in running their record to 14-0 overall (4-0 in CEFL play) They ran through the AFL without a loss and then downed the Danube Dragons in the Austrian semifinals. . They defeated the Dacia Vienna Vikings in the ECTC final and then got by Switzerland’s Calanda Broncos to capture the CEFL title. In the other international games, Swarco disposed of France’s Thonon Black Panthers, beating them 41-7 in Central European Football League action and then beat up on the Italian champions, the Milano Seamen, 50-23.  Next up: Austrian Bowl XXXV vs Dacia Vienna Vikings, July 27.
  3. New Yorker Lions (7-0 ) – Germany (Last poll: #3)The Lions have looked every bit as impressive as their championship years. They have won all their games but were pushed to the limit by both the Dresden Monarchs, finally beating them 34-31 and also by the Hildesheim Invaders who they rallied to defeat 35-28, in the last game before the break. They had opened the year beating the Cologne Crocodiles in a back-to-back series, 23-6 and 45-7, and then took care of the only team that defeated them in the regular season last year, the Berlin Rebels. Braunschweig beat the Rebels 29-12. The Lions downed the Potsdam Royals 35-14.  Next up: Berlin Rebels, July 28.
  4. Hildesheim Invaders (6-1) – Germany (Last poll: #6)Hildesheim is so far the most improved team in the league and have won six of their seven opening games. They edged the Dresden Monarchs 31-27 and finally were beaten by the New Yorker Lions 35-28 in the last game before the break. Most of their other wins were by lopsided scores as they beat the Potsdam Royals 50-28, took care of the Dusseldorf Panther 49-17, downed the Cologne Crocodiles 31-14, outlasted the Berlin Rebels 56-41.and beat the Panther again 46-10.  Next up: Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, July 27.
  5. Dresden Monarchs (5-2) – Germany (Last poll: #5)The Monarchs had opened the season with three straight wins – 49-13 over the Dusseldorf Panther ,42-14 over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and then a 17-0 shut out of the Cologne Crocodiles – before dropping two close games in a row, 34-27 to the New Yorker Lions and then 31-27 to Hildesheim. They rebounded beating Cologne again, 42-7 and then the Potsdam Royals, 33-13. Their two close games against the Lions and Invaders show they are definite contenders.  Next up: Dusseldorf Panther, July 27.
  6. Frankfurt Universe (6-1) – Germany (Last poll: #4)Frankfurt has opened the 2019 with four wins, – downing the Ingolstadt Dukes 37-13 and then getting by the Munich Cowboys 24-17, after beating the Allgau Comets 20-0 in their opening game and then downing the Marburg Mercenaries 20-14. They were brought down to earth with a thud, getting shut out 31-0 by the Unicorns. They came back and defeated Ingolstadt 63-13 and the Comets 34-7  Next up: Kirchdorf Wildcats, July 28.
  7. Calanda Broncos (14-2; NL: 11-1, CEFL: 3-1) Switzerland (Last poll: #9)Calanda put on a strong showing in the second half of the season, winning the Swiss Bowl in emphatic fashion, beating the Geneva Seahawks 31-0. They were oh so close to winning the Central European Football League title losing in the championship game 46-42 to Austria’s Swarco Raiders after leading much of the game. In rest of international CEFL play, the Broncos overwhelmed Turkey’s Koc Rams a few weeks ago whipping them 55-17 in Istanbul and last week beat the Kragujevac Wild Boars from Serbia 37-33.. Calanda opened the tournament with a big 27-3 road win over Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers.  Next up: Season over, Swiss champions
  8. Dacia Vienna Vikings (10-4 – AFL: 8-3, ECTC: 2-1) – Austria (Last poll: #7)The Dacia Vienna Vikings have reached the Austrian Bowl but needed a strong second half against the Prague Black Panthers in the semifinal to win 21-14.. They won all but four games during the year, three to the Swarco Raiders, the last one a 35-10 loss in the ECTC final. The only other team to beat them was the Graz Giants early in the season. In international play, they had big wins in European Club Team Competition (ECTC) action downing the Badalona Dracs 38-8 and Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks 60-0.  Next up: Austrian Bowl vs Swarco Raiders, July 27.
  9. Wroclaw Panthers (12-1; LFA: 10-0, CEFL: 2-1) – Poland (Last poll: #10)                  The Wroclaw Panthers dominated the opposition in Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego, finishing the regular season with an 8-0 record and then beating the Gdynia Seahawks in the semifinals 52-6 and downing the Bialystok Lowlanders 28-14 to win the title. In international play, the Panthers dropped a 27-3 decision to the Calanda Broncos early on but rebounded with big wins over the Kragujevac Wild Boars from Serbia and Turkey’s Koc Rams.  Next up: Season over, Polish champions
  10. Danube Dragons (7-5) – Austria (Last poll: #14)   The Danube Dragons came close to reaching the Austrian Bowl, losing a tough semifinal game to the Swarco Raiders 49-43. Danube had beaten the Graz Giants 24-17 in the wild card playoffs to earn the right to play in the semis.  The Dragons had fashioned a solid 6-4 regular season record with their only losses coming against the Raiders, as well as the Dacia Vienna Vikings and the Prague Black Panthers (34-31). Their performance against Swarco in the semis earned them their 10th place.  Next up: Season over, Austrian semifinalists.

(Thanks to Oursportscentral.com and American Football International for these news stories.)

Football Friday (7/19/19)

071319-United-Bowl-2019-Main

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.)

 

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)

 

 

Unlucky 11 For AAF Teams in Week 4

Former UGA QB Aaron Murray Leads Legends To First Win

The San Antonio Commanders spoiled a potential showdown of unbeatens as they edged the Birmingham Iron 12-11 to leave the Orlando Apollos as the Alliance of American Football (AAF) only remained undefeated team.  Week 4 was an unlucky week to score 11 points as three teams scored 11 points and lost their games this week.

Orlando Apollos 20, Salt Lake Stallions 11

The Stallions and Apollos played in the snow in this one. The Stallions did their best to knock off the unbeaten Apollos but Orlando got it done with quarterback Garrett Gilbert passing for 244 yards. with a 20-yard touchdown to receiver Donteea Dye Jr.  Receiver Charles Johnson also had a big day, hauling in nine catches for 105 yards and Apollos running back Akeem Hunt had a touchdown on the ground.

San Antonio Commanders 12, Birmingham Iron 11

Trey Williams scored a touchdown from 12 yards out in the third quarter and the San Antonio Commanders’ defense held strong to beat the Iron. Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow ran for 142 yards on 30 carries, while quarterback Logan Woodside completed 11 of 25 attempts for 106 yards. Birmingham outgained San Antonio 283-256 but scored just one touchdown on a 1-yard rush from Trent Richardson with less than two minutes to play. The Commanders’ Orion Stewart intercepted the Iron’s ensuing onside conversion attempt.

Memphis Express 26, San Diego Fleet 23

The Express finally got their first victory as they rallied against the Fleet. Memphis quarterback Zach Mettenberger led two impressive drives in the game. Mettenberger finished the game completing 18-of-25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown while he also ran in another score on the ground. Reece Horn was again his go-to receiver, hauling in all four of his targeted passes for 63 yards.

Atlanta Legends 14, Arizona Hotshots 11

The Legends outlasted the Hotshots and despite a late touchdown to Rashad Ross and 2-point conversion attempt tied the game at 11 with 5:20 left, the Legends marched down the field for a Younghoe Koo game-winner with 1:03 left on the clock. They held Hotshots QB John Wolford to little success on their comeback attempt late in the game for the first win in franchise history. Former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray replaced starter Matt Simms and. finished the game completing 20-of-33 passes for 254 yards while also leading the team with 54 rushing yards on just seven attempts.

News and Notes:

  • Atlanta scored the first safety in AAF history in their game against the Hotshots.
  • Orlando has the most explosive offense averaging 385 yards and 29.5 points per game.
  • Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the only quarterback with more than 1,000 yards passing.
  • Memphis Express linebacker Drew Jackson had 13 tackles and an interception for his team’s first win of the season.
  • Nasty weather gave the AFF a blow in attendance as Birmingham and Salt Lake dropped.

Current AAF Standings:

Eastern Division

  • Orlando Apollos (4-0)
  • Birmingham Iron (3-1)
  • Atlanta Legends (1-3)
  • Memphis Express (1-3)

Western Division

  • Arizona Hotshots (2-2)
  • San Antonio Commanders (2-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (2-2)
  • Salt Lake City Stallions (1-3)

Week 5 Schedule:

  • Orlando at Birmingham
  • Salt Lake at San Diego
  • Memphis at Atlanta
  • San Antonio at Arizona

 

New Football League Has Successful Kickoff (without a kickoff)

The new Alliance of American Football (AAF) made its debut over the weekend and was surprisingly successful. The league, which features a few different rule changes including no kickoffs, had higher television ratings than other sports they were competing with. Early reviews have been favorable as they drew 2.9 million fans for the Saturday televised game for CBS. It’s still early to decide what that means but it is always good to get off to a good start.

Here are the results of the games that were played:

Orlando Apollos 40, Atlanta Legends 6

The Apollos were led by their coach Steve Spurrier and a defense that stifled the Legends. They held Atlanta to just 162 yards after the opening drive of the game, forced four turnovers and never let Legends’ quarterback Matt Simms to get in sync.

San Antonio Commanders 15, San Diego Fleet 6

The Commanders opened their season in front of 27,857 fans at the Alamodome as quarterback Logan Woodside completed 18 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two interceptions. The Commanders’ defense had six sacks and snagged three inceptions while limiting the Fleet to 295 yards of total offense.

Birmingham Iron 26, Memphis Express 0

The Iron and Express started out as a defensive struggle for about three quarters before they took control with the running of former NFL running back Trent Richardson scoring twice and the Iron defense shutting down Express quarterback Christian Hackenberg. It was announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers have become an affiliate of the Iron. This means that former NFL players who most recently played for the Steelers will be allocated to the Iron.

Arizona Hotshots 38, Salt Lake Stallions 22

With most of the other AAF games being defensive games, the Hotshots and Stallions put up the points. The Hotshots pulled away in the third quarter to take a 35-16 lead. Hotshots quarterback John Wolford and receiver Rashad Ross connected for 103 yards along with two touchdowns in the games. Wolford’s touchdown pass to Jhurell Presley made it a 19-point game as the Hotshots pulled away.

Week 1 Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Orlando (1-0)
    • Birmingham (1-0)
    • Atlanta (0-1)
    • Memphis (0-1)
  • Western Division

    • Arizona (1-0)
    • San Antonio (1-0)
    • Salt Lake (0-1)
    • San Diego (0-1)

Week 2 Schedule:

  • Salt Lake at Birmingham
  • Arizona at Memphis
  • Orlando at San Antonio
  • Atlanta at San Diego

Friday Flashback: Coldest Ever High School Football Game

Tonight in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state quarterfinals, The Warner Robins Demons will host the Clarke Central Gladiators.  This matchup takes me back to the 1985 State Championship game which was played between these two teams in Athens, Georgia.  In fact, I start shivering immediately when I think about it.  It was the coldest high school football game I have ever attended.  I had to pull up the weather history to find the exact temperature which was 29 degrees at kickoff.  That was cold.

The 1985 season was my first full season of attending Warner Robins football games.  The team finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0 which was capped with a thrilling 21-14 overtime win over crosstown rivals Northside.  Warner Robins defeated Southwest Macon 40-14 and then Northside again 27-0 in the region playoffs.  Warner Robins edged Lowndes 8-7 in penetration in the first round and then beat Bradwell Institute 28-14 in the semifinals.

I decided to make the two-hour trip to Athens for the game.  At the time I was a single 21-year-old man in the Air Force and I was able to convince a date to go with me to the game.  More on that later.  When I arrived at the game I had general admission tickets and the only seats I could find were the front row of bleacher seats in one of the end zones.  I had a blanket and attempted to keep warm but the cold weather made the blanket as stiff as a sheet of plywood.  The bleachers were also full of some Clarke Central fans – one of which would purposely yell in my frozen ear every time his team made a big play.  I might have moved had I not been frozen to the bleacher.  I think every part of my body was cold that night.  I certainly wasn’t a whimp to the cold weather since I had just been transferred to Robins Air Force Base from Thule, Greenland and it was a painfully freezing reminder of Greenland.

Although the game was statistically close, Clarke Central recovered three Warner Robins fumbles, turning the first two into a pair of field goals (31 and 41 yards) by John Kasay, who also put four of five kickoffs deep into the end zone to help keep the Warner Robins offense backed up. Additionally both Gladiator touchdowns were big plays, the first a 53-yard pass from Robbie Kamerschen to Tommy Stewart on the Gladiators’ first possession of the second quarter and the second a 54-yard run by tailback Richard Jewel on Clarke’s first possession of the third period.

In comparison, the Gladiators committed only one turnover, a fumble at their own 42 late in the second quarter. After recovering, the Demons moved to a first down on the 4-yard line, but the Clarke Central defense held on three straight running plays inside the 2 and took over on downs, preserving a 13-7 halftime lead.

Kamerschen and Jewel accounted for the majority of Clarke’s 291 yards total offense, as the senior quarterback completed four of eight passes for 122 yards while the senior tailback rushed 14 times for 108 yards.

Warner Robins, which totaled 245 yards offense and led 14-13 in first downs, got 101 rushing yards on 16 carries from junior Jeff Thompson. But 98 of those came in the first half. Warner Robins totaled just 53 yards and two first downs after intermission.

The game was a disappointment. I had to drive the long trip back home.  The only consolation was that my car had heat and I would be able to thaw out on the drive.  I also had my date with me.

About that.

On the drive back I got that “You’re a nice guy but I just want to be friends” line.  Ouch.  My football team and my dating suffered a bitter defeat that night. That night was cold on so many levels.

But, as they say, it all worked out for the best.  As for Warner Robins, it took three seasons before they captured the state title and demolished Brookwood in 1988.

No high school game was colder than that night in Athens.