Football Friday (8/23/19)

FF_todayLet’s take a look at American football being played around the world….

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Friday night football kicks off Week 11 with the Blue Bombers in Edmonton playing for first place in the West Division. Edmonton is undefeated at home this season (4-0) and is looking to make it three straight wins following victories over Ottawa and Toronto. Winnipeg is similarly hoping to extend a three-game winning streak after defeating Calgary and BC. With Matt Nichols sidelined, the Blue Bombers turn to Chris Streveler to continue the momentum. Kick off is at 9 p.m. ET.

Saturday features a double-header with a pair of interdivision games. First at 7 p.m. ET, Ottawa travels to Regina to take on the Roughriders. The REDBLACKS are in pursuit of a season series sweep of Saskatchewan after a Week 2, 44-41 win, but the team is 1-6 since and have lost two in a row. The Roughriders however, are 5-1 over that same stretch and are riding a four-game winning streak.

The 10 p.m. ET game takes us to Vancouver where the Lions will host the East Division-leading Tiger-Cats. BC will look to avenge a one-point loss to Hamilton in Week 9, while collecting its first home victory this season. Dane Evans is in search of his third victory as a starter, which would push the Tiger-Cats’ win streak to three.

Sunday bring us to Moncton, N.B., for the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic between the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts. The game marks the fourth regular season contest game to take place in Moncton and the first since 2013. The surging Alouettes are coming off their first victory at McMahon Stadium since 2009 – a thrilling come-from-behind, double-overtime affair which is already garnering consideration as the Game of the Year. Toronto will be facing its first East Division since Week 2 when they played host to Hamilton. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. ET.

ELITE INDOOR FOOTBALL
The semi-pro EIF recently announced teams called the Texas Stealth, Texas Grim Reapers (Fort Worth) and Texas Takeover will be part of a new 2020 Texas Division. The Stealth and Grim Reapers will both play home games in Mansfield (TX). The EIF also announced a team called the Sarasota County (FL) Thunder will be part of the league’s 2020 season.

FINLAND MAPLE LEAGUE
The Helsinki Roosters (10-1) and Wasa Royals (3-8) racked up nearly 1,000 yards of offense and 100 points between them as the Roosters held on for a 49-41 road victory in Vaasa, Finland.

This was Helsinki’s 10th straight win and locked up first place in Finland Maple League.

Led by Adam Connette who was simply unstoppable on this night, Helsinki took a 24-13 halftime lead but had to keep scoring the rest of the way to stay ahead of the Royals.

Connette had 347 all purpose yards in the game, rushing for 170 yards and a touchdown while catching eight passes for 148 yards and another touchdown while scoring a third touchdown on a fumble recovery. Nnamdi Agude hauled in six passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns while Roosters quarterback Miro Kadmiry threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Defensive back Monteze Latimore added a 45 yard pick six for Helsinki.

For the Royals, quarterback Diondre Borel had another big night throwing the football, completing 24 of 50 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target was Nicholas Peterson who caught 11 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown while Aymeric Nicault had six receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Alpha Jalloh hauled in six for 83 yards and two touchdowns as well.

Helsinki opened the scoring when Connette jarred the ball loose from Jalloh’s arms on a punt return, pouncing on it in the end zone with just under nine minutes left in the first quarter.

The Royals responded on the ensuing kickoff with Zach Blair taking the ball all the way back to tie the game at 7-7.

Two series later, Borel hit Jalloh from 16 yards out and Wasa went ahead 13-7.

Kadmiry finally got the Roosters offense moving after the defense forced a Wasa safety to narrow the gap to 13-9. Seven plays later, Kadmiry hit Agude for a 10 yard score and with the two-point conversion, Helsinki went out in front 17-13 early in the second quarter.

The Roosters took a solid lead on their next possession when Kadmiry marched them 85 yards in eight plays, capping it with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Connette extending the lead to 24-13 going into the break.

Wasa came out on fire in the third as Borel hit Nicault for a 70 yard touchdown strike to reduce the lead to 24-20. Six minutes later, Kadmiry found Agude for a four yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 31-20.

With the Royals defense struggling, Kadmiry engineered another touchdown drive, marching his team 78 yards in six plays culminating it with a 23 yard touchdown pass to Agude and Helsinki took a 37-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Borel responded, finding Jalloh on the next series, hitting him with a five yard touchdown pass to again reduce the lead, this time to 37-27.

It was the Wasa defense’s turn to get a stop and they did on the next drive, forcing an unsuccessful field goal attempt. Borel took over and hit Nicault with his third touchdown pass of the day, reducing the lead to 37-34 with five minutes to go in the game.

Connette put a dagger into the hearts of the Royals on the very next play from scrimmage, finding a gap and racing 65 yards to up the lead to 43-34.

Then Borel, forcing the issue, committed his first error of the game, throwing an interception which Monteze Latimore turned into a pick six to give Helsinki a 49-34 lead with four minutes left.

Still the Royals were not done. Borel took his team on an 80 yard drive and then hit Peterson from six yards out with just over two minutes left and the score was 49-41.

The onside kick attempt failed however and Helsinki managed to keep control of the ball and run the clock out.

With the win, Helsinki took a stranglehold on first place while the Royals find themselves next to last in the Maple League with one game left.

GERMAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (11-0) took their game up another notch this past weekend and left the Hildesheim Invaders (9-2) in a cloud of dust, blanking them 37-0 and establishing themselves as a true contender for the 2019 German Football League title.

The first time these two teams met earlier in the season, Braunschweig got by the Invaders, 35-28. On this day, it wasn’t even close.

With the league’s top running game operating at full throttle, the Lions exploded for three first quarter touchdowns to take a 23-0 lead while smothering Hildesheim’s offense the rest of the way.

Running back Chris McClendon led the way for Braunschweig rushing for 135 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries with quarterback Brandon Connette scoring another two touchdowns carrying the ball 10 times for 45 yards. Connette completed 6 of 9 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns with Christian Bollmann his top receiver with two receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown and Micky Kyei with two catches for 49 yards and the other passing touchdown.

For Hildesheim quarterback Casey Therriault it was a dismal afternoon and ended late in the second quarter when he was sidelined with an ankle injury. He finished with 68 yards passing and 26 yards receiving. His backup, Chris Andrew fared no better against the relentless pressure from the Braunschweig defense, throwing for just 38 yards.

The Lions asserted themselves on the opening drive as Connette took his team to the Hildesheim 39 and then hit Kyei for a touchdown pass.

The defense stuffed the Invaders on the next series, giving Connette and crew the ball at midfield. Mixing his plays up nicely, the Lions quarterback marched his team down to the two yard line and finished the drive by punching the ball in himself. He added the two-point conversion and Braunshweig took a 15-0 lead with just under three minutes left in the first quarter.

Braunschweig’s defense shut the door again on Therriault & company, as linebacker Roni Salonen forced a fumble, recovering the ball at the Hildesheim 46. Two plays later, Connette connected with Bollmann for a 35 yard touchdown strike and the score was 23-0 with over a minute to go in the first.

The shell-shocked Invaders could not get out of their own half of the field and two possessions later, early in the second quarter, Therriault was picked off at midfield.

Connette wasted no time. He found Bollmann again, this time for a 45 yard completion and then ran the ball in himself from the two and the score was 30-0 with seven minutes still left in the first half.

Disaster struck for the Invaders on the next series. With Therriault finally getting his offense into gear, marching them down to the Braunschweig 21 yard line, he twisted his ankle on a 20 yard run. Andrews came in and managed to take the Invaders down to the Braunsschweig five yard line, but was stopped on fourth down giving the Lions a 30-0 lead at the half.

The third quarter saw neither team able to get an edge until a Hildesheim punt trapped the Lions on their own 10 yard line.

That’s when McClendon really made his presence known.

On a first down from his own 10, he burst into the secondary and raced 90 yards for a touchdown, boosting the lead to 37-0, and squashing all hope for the Hildesheim faithful.

The rest of the game was a slow march to another Braunschweig win, their 11th straight, keeping them unbeaten so far in 2019.

Next up for the Lions are the winless Dusseldorf Panther in a home and home series. Hildesheim will face the Cologne Crocodiles.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The Oklahoma Thunder won a record-setting 4th consecutive GDFL National Title by defeating the top-seed Middle Tennessee 24-12 to win the 10th Annual Gridiron Bowl and its 4th consecutive national championship. The contest was a defensive struggle between two excellent teams, with a total of 12 forced turnovers and 6 sacks.Both offenses were held well below their season averages in total yardage as well.

Middle Tennessee threatened to score early on its first drive, using an eight-minute drive that spanned 12 plays and 55 yards. That drive ended in a goal-line stand, however, as Thunder CB #21 James Caligone tackled a Bulldawgs WR at the Thunder 1 yard line. Later in the 1st half, Middle Tennessee capitalized on a Thunder interception and threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to make the score 6-0.

That score would end up being the halftime margin. A couple of big defensive plays early in the 3rd quarter turned the game around and gave the Thunder a lead they would not relinquish:

• A 36-yard interception return for a touchdown by #26 DJ Wolfe during Middle Tennessee’s open drive of the third quarter, resulting in a 7-6 Thunder lead.

• A 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by #55 Shawn Jackson that extended the Thunder lead to 14-6. In all, the defense held Middle Tennessee to only 143 total yards while forcing 7 turnovers (6 interceptions), 3 sacks, 3 hurries, 2 blocked punts, and an average of only 2.1 yards per rush.

Thunder Defensive Coordinator Morgan Clements had this to say about his unit’s effort: “We have the #1 defense in the nation and have had the best for the last 4 years bar none. We made a few adjustments from the first time we played the Bulldawgs and our players bought in and made it happen.” “We never doubted we would win the game” explained OT Brandon Brown. “The defense shined brighter than ever. We knew we had to win by any means…” Offensively, QB Daniel Knighten came in during the second half and helped the Thunder produce key, time-consuming drives that controlled the clock and preserved the lead. His leadership and command of the offense landed him the league’s Most Valuable Player award. The drives he led resulted in points:

• #22 K David Goodson made a 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-12 in the 4th quarter

• #15 RB/WR Winston Holder took a hand-off from Knighten and hit a wide-open #17 WR Trae Sterns for a touchdown, extending the lead to 24-12. The victory now extends the Thunder’s national/world title count to 8.

Hall of Fame Head Coach Rashid Lowe had this to say about the team’s accomplishments: “We faced a lot of adversity. Injuries had never plagued us like they did this year. Some of them were career ending and we sustained significant injuries to three separate QBs. Knighten’s contribution was so significant because of how he recovered from his own significant injury early in the year to lead us to victory in the second half. Perseverance the Thunder way!”

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The Albuquerque-based Duke City Gladiators, which played the past five seasons (2015 through 2019) as part of Champions Indoor Football, plan to announce next week its membership application has been accepted by the IFL and the team will be part of the 2020 IFL season.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
The Jacksonville Sharks (15-1) defeated the defending champions Carolina Cobras (10-6) 52-48 to claim their second NAL Championship Title.

Quarterback Mike Fafaul started the game for the Sharks tonight after leaving the first playoff game with an injury, yet, he was able to start and perform well for Jacksonville. He finished 15-of-24 for 146 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. When Bane came in, he was 5-of-12 for 26 yards. Wide Receiver Durron Neal finished with the most touchdowns on the Sharks with two. He had eight receptions for 42 yards as well. Devin Wilson had six receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown. Brandon Behr was perfect on PAT’s (6-of-6) and had one deuce.

In the first half, the Sharks were off to a slow start, being down 0-14 early on. Bringing the Sharks back to life, Fafaul was able to air it out to Wilson on a 14-yard-pass. From there, the Sharks were able to score 16 more unanswered points on a blocked kick recovered by Game MVP Chris Gilchrist and a forced fumble from Defensive Lineman Damien Jacobs and the scoop and score from Jack Linebacker Chris Gilchrist. This brought the Sharks up to a 23-14 lead in the second quarter. With just under a minute to go in the first half, the Cobras were able to score a touchdown and was able to stop the Sharks’ offense from scoring. The halftime score was 23-28 with the Sharks trailing by five.

In the second half, the Sharks were down by multiple drives the entire time, but fought hard in the second half. With just 11 seconds left, Fafaul found Neal in the end-zone for the game-winning touchdown. On the Cobras final drive, with just seconds left, they traveled all the way down to the Jacksonville 6-yard-line before being stopped and the clock was at 0.

WOMEN’S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team Sweden set the tone from the opening kickoff and never let up earning a resounding 48-6 victory over Austria to capture a historic silver medal at the IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships at John Charles Stadium in Leeds, England.

This was the first time a Swedish women’s American football team has won a medal of any kind in a major tournament.

Sweden needed to win by at least 35 points to have a chance at silver and they did that and more.

Karin Ullen returned the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown and the rout was on. The Swedish defense did not surrender a point as Austria’s only points came from a fumble return.

Ullen added another touchdown in the first quarter, hauling in a 51 yard pass from quarterback Linda Johansson to extend the Swedish lead to 14-0. Austria got on the board when defensive back Teresa Müllebner scooped up a fumble and raced 62 yards to reduce the lead to 14-6.

The Swedes made no more mistakes.

In the second quarter, Anna Hedström and Minmin Zhao each ran for a touchdown to give Sweden a 28-6 halftime lead.

Fully aware of the urgent need for points, Sweden opened the second half with an onside kick. Johansson drove her team down to the three yard line and called her own number boosting the lead to 35-6. In the fourth quarter Sweden expanded the lead to 41-6, through a Sara Lidner touchdown, and then to 48-6 as Anna Hedström added a touchdown. Sabina Rydberg kicked all six extra points.

To earn silver, Sweden needed to win by 35 or more points in the event of a Finnish first place finish. Finland actually lost the final game of the tournament to Great Britain 18-14, creating a three-way tie for first between Finland, Sweden and the host nation.

The medals were decided first on points between the three and then on overall points which included each team’s win over Austria.

Finland took home the gold since Great Britain needed to beat them by six points or more.

XFL
The XFL revealed the names and logos of the league’s eight inaugural teams:

“The XFL is about football and fun, and our team identities are intended to signify just that,” said XFL President and COO, Jeffrey Pollack. “Now it’s up to our fans and players to help write the story. What happens on the field and in the community, in the years ahead, will determine the true spirit of each team.”

The XFL team identities were presented to fans today during a show that was streamed simultaneously across XFL.com, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com, and the league’s social channels. Eight short films were produced to share the origin story of each team name. Scripts of the films follow with a link for viewing:

DC Defenders: On the shoulders of giants, they stand tall. Unconquerable. Unyielding. Marching ever forward. A force united. One quest. One purpose. One resolve. Seeking glory through grit. Victory through valor. The DC Defenders. Taking their stand.

Dallas Renegades: Deep in the heart of Texas, beats a different kind of pulse. A spirit untamed. A swagger that can’t be denied. Where big meets bold meets badass. This is outlaw country, inside the lines. This is hell on wheels, between hash marks. This is their home on the range. The Dallas Renegades. Raising Hell.

Houston Roughnecks: Resolute. Rippling with heat. Railing against fatigue. Unceasing and often unseen, they labor deep in the trenches. Mercenaries in the muck. Brawlers in blackened dirt. Not just for three hours. Not just when the lights are bright. These are the scratching, grinding, never-bending few. The Houston Roughnecks. Going to work for you.

Los Angeles Wildcats: In the land of bright lights. Far from the flash and fame. They’ve already begun to prowl. Enter their den and be dominated. Run away and be ripped apart. This is prime time meets primal instinct. This is showtime with a snarl. This is our time to roar. The L.A. Wildcats. Unleashed.

New York Guardians: Sentries carved of stone. Watchdogs over the metropolis. A prehistoric predator. A beast evolves, turned loose in a new kind of jungle. All teeth and talons, eyes unblinking. They know fear because they feed off it. They are your first line of defense, and there is no need for a second. The New York Guardians. On duty.

St. Louis BattleHawks: Winged warriors. Preparing for flight. Preparing to fight. They await their orders. Then attack as one. Diving, dodging, swooping, striking. Their mission: create chaos. Their mandate: win at all costs. The St. Louis BattleHawks.

Seattle Dragons: Rising from the turbulent sea. Beneath the darkening skies of their weather-hardened home. Relentless, ruthless, ravenous. Not of mythology, but of muscle and might. Not of folklore, but of football. This is your darkest fantasy, in cleats. The Seattle Dragons. Breathing fire.

Tampa Bay Vipers: In the shadows they wait. Demons, born in darkness. Hunters by instinct. Cold-blooded by nature. Their bite, unavoidable. Their grip, inescapable. They slither and stalk their competition. Luring all who challenge them, into the jaws of defeat. The Tampa Bay Vipers. Ready to strike.

Football Friday (8/2/19)

GDFL

Oklahoma meets Middle Tennessee for GDFL Title

It’s already football season around the world, let’s take a look at what’s happening this week:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Washington Valor 69-33 at Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon behind a big day from Darius “Money” Reynolds. With the win, the Soul will take a 36-point lead back to Philadelphia next weekend for the second game of the home-and-home series. The team with the highest aggregate score after both games will advance to play the winner of the Albany Empire-Baltimore Brigade series in ArenaBowl 32.  Read more…

The Albany Empire (10-2) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (7-5), 61-26, in front of 9,085 fans at the Times Union Center on Saturday night. The victory gives the Empire a 35-point lead over the Brigade in the aggregate score of the home-and-home playoff series. The second game of the series will be on Saturday, August 3 at 7 p.m. at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. Read more…

AUSTRIA

The Swarco Raiders staged a second half rally to defeat the Dacia Vienna Vikings 42-34 Saturday in St. Polten to capture Austrian Bowl XXXV and finish off a perfect, undefeated season. The Raiders fell behind early and trailed the entire first half. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Swarco pulled even and then took the lead for the first time. Quarterback Sean Shelton completed 14 of 22 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another one. His leading target, Patrick Donahue, had 105 yards receiving scoring two touchdowns while Adrian Platzgummer had three receptions for 58 yards. Running back Sandro Platzgummer had eight carries for 85 yards and a touchdown while teammate Tobias Bonatti had eight for 84.  Read more…

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Toronto Argonauts pulled off an incredible fourth quarter comeback against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week, completing a game-winning touchdown drive in the final seconds to edge Winnipeg 28-27.  Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson had his strongest performance of the season, completing 37 of 49 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns to lead Toronto to its first win.  Read more…

Current Standings:

East Division

  1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-2)
  2. Montreal Alouettes (3-2)
  3. Ottawa Redblacks (2-4)
  4. Toronto Argonauts (1-6)

West Division

  1. Winnipeg Bluebombers (5-2)
  2. Calgary Stampeders (4-2)
  3. Edmonton Eskimos (4-2)
  4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-3)
  5. British Columbia Lions (1-6)

EUROPE

Team Sweden’s offense sputtered at times but caught fire when it needed to defeat France 7-0 and advance to the finals of the IFAF 2019 U19 European Championships. This is the second time in the history of this tournament that Sweden has reached the final. Both defenses played lights out football making the offenses work for every yard. Sweden kept the vaunted French running attack neutralized much of the game. France reached the Swedish red zone twice but squandered their chances with penalties and miscues. In fact, France was flagged 13 times for 128 yards. Each time they had a semblance of a scoring chance, a penalty would take them out of range. Or an interception. Read more…

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Middle Tennessee counter punched its way to another postseason victory vs. the Erie Express.  Eleven seconds after Erie took its only lead in Saturday’s Xtreme Conference final for the Gridiron Development Football League playoffs, the Bulldawgs responded with the game’s decisive points.  The Nashville franchise scored when quarterback Eric Chapa connected with wide receiver Tyran Moore down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter.  Its defense made it hold up for a 32-27 win at Dollinger Field.  Read more…

The #1 seed in the Impact Conference, The Oklahoma Thunder throttled the #3 seeded River City Pythons to reach the GDFL National Championship (Gridiron Bowl X) this Saturday in Broken Arrow, OK – recording a 55-0 shutout. This was the Thunder’s fourth shutout of the season and first game in which its defense held an opponent to negative total yardage. As typical for the Thunder this season, the offense utilized a combination of explosive plays in both the passing and rushing attack to control the game from the start. Standout RB Adidas McDonald spearheaded the rushing attack behind a veteran offensive line and rushed 9 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns. That total included an impressive 76-yard touchdown run immediately after another long run that got called back due to a penalty.  Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Massachusetts Pirates (8-6) were able to build momentum heading into the playoffs next weekend with an impressive 50-35 victory over the New York Streets (4-10). The Pirates swept the season series from the Streets four games to none. With the seeding already locked, Pirates backups saw a significant amount of playing time. The Pirates were guided by an impressive performance by Alejandro Bennifield who completed 16 of 30 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns. In his debut as a Pirate, receiver Rannell Hall caught eight passes and two touchdowns and added 98 yards receiving to lead the Pirates receiving corps. New York was led by quarterback Cody Williams who passed for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Read more…

Final Regular Season Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (13-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (9-5)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (8-6)
  4. Columbus Lions (6-8)
  5. New York Streets (4-10)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-12)

(Thanks to American Football International and Our Sports Central for their reports)

Football Friday

Let’s take a look at American Football news from around the world this week:

WVRoughriders

West Virginia Roughriders win AAL Title

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Staring a 15-0 deficit in the face, the West Virginia Roughriders (13-0) didn’t blink as Jarrett Brown overcame a terrible start to account for more than 200 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in a 55-29 triumph over the Carolina Energy Saturday inside a raucous WesBanco Arena crowd estimated at nearly 4,500.

Brown got the Roughriders going with a 14-yard touchdown scamper with 90 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Placekicker Anthony Prevost, the smallest player on the roster, took a pitch from holder Steve Penasuk and bulled his way into the end zone for a 15-8 reading.

A 7-yard scoring strike from Brown to Chad Walcott in the back of the end zone put the hosts back ahead 27-22 with 47 ticks left before the half. A safety on Carolina for holding in the end zone 21 seconds later bumped the count to 29-22. The first series of the third quarter summed up the second half as defensive end Shawn Oakman sacked Colon and forced a fumble he recovered at the Energy 1. Three plays later, Brown speared Beavers Jr. in traffic for a 35-22 lead.

This marks the second championship for the franchise as it won the 2017 Arena Pro Football title as the Richmond Roughriders. It’s also the third championship for the City of Wheeling as the Ohio Valley Greyhounds won the National Indoor Football League crowns in 2003 and 2004, going 14-0 the second season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Darius Prince scored three touchdowns as the Soul beat the Albany Empire, 54-43, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center to improve to 6-4. With the win, the Soul clinched their eighth straight playoff berth.  Facing a tough Albany defense, the Soul scored eight touchdowns in as many red zone trips as quarterback Dan Raudabaugh passed for 231 yards and seven touchdowns.

Current standings:

  • Albany Empire (8-2)
  • Philadelphia Soul (6-4)
  • Baltimore Brigade (6-4)
  • Washington Valor (5-5)
  • Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-6)
  • Columbus Destroyers (1-9)

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Duke City Gladiators are now headed to the CIF Champions Bowl for a second consecutive year, as they beat the Amarillo Venom on Saturday 70-62 for the Southern Conference Championship. The Gladiators trailed at the half and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and defense but they were able to turn things around in the second half though, as they scored 44 points and held off the Venom for the win. The Gladiators will now host the Salina Liberty in the CIF Championship game on July 13th in Tingley Coliseum.

The Salina Liberty are now one win away from accomplishing that goal, but not until after a few heart-stopping moments during a 44-42 victory over the Omaha Beef on Saturday night in the CIF playoff semifinals at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. What looked to be an easy victory turned into a nail-biter as Omaha scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes and attempted a two-point conversion play with no time left that could have sent the game into overtime. Linebacker Dontra Matthews was at the right place at the right time, knocking down Omaha quarterback Derrick Bernard’s pass to give the Liberty the win and send them into the league championship game.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Erie moves up from # 2 to the # 1 spot in the Nation after the # 1 team in the nation the Oklahoma Thunder tumbles to # 3 after losing to the #4 Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who move up to # 2. The #3 Huntsville Rockets drop a road game fall to # 4 after losing to the Thunder a week ago!!! Tri_City Outlaws remain idle at # 5.

  1. Erie Express
  2. Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
  3. Oklahoma Thunder
  4. Huntsville Rockets
  5. Tri-City Outlaws
  6. River City Pythons
  7. Cleveland Cobras
  8. Joplin Crusaders
  9. Georgia Crush
  10. Howard Huskies

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

UNITED CONFERENCE:  SIOUX FALLS STORM 52, IOWA BARNSTORMERS 50

The Sioux Falls Storm played the Indoor Football League’s reigning champions Iowa Barnstormers on Saturday, June 29 in the United Conference Championship. The Storm won their 15th Conference Championship after defeating the Iowa Barnstormers 52-50. Quarterback Lorenzo Brown completed 15 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three rushing touchdowns. Wide receivers Damian Ford tallied 144 yards for two touchdowns, Kent Shelby had 22 yards and one touchdown, Damond Powell had 22 yards and one touchdown and Brandon Sheperd had 11 yards for one touchdown. Kicker Parker Douglass made four extra points. Defensive back Trey Wafford led the Thunder Defense with 10 tackles and one pass break-up. Defensive lineman Charles Williams had one pass break-up. Defensive back Joseph Blount had one fumble recovery.

INTENSE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:  ARIZONA RATTLERS 62, NEBRASKA DANGER 45

The six-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (15-0) moved one step closer to their seventh title on Saturday as they defeated the Nebraska Danger (8-8) 62-45 in the Intense Conference Championship in front of 13,579 fans at Gila River Arena.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

Thomas Owens caught three touchdowns and returned an onside kick for a score to lead visiting Massachusetts (6-4) to a 61-37 win over Columbus as the Pirates increased their winning streak to five games. Quarterback Sean Brackett completed 20 of 30 passes for 205 yards and five touchdowns, while Owens was his top target with eight catches for 110 yards. Defensive back Lawrence Austin led the Massachusetts defense with 4½ tackles and two interceptions. Austin’s first interception set up the Pirates at the Lions’ 6-yard line, and four plays later Mardy Gilyard rushed into the end zone from 3-yards out for his 24th touchdown of the season to put Massachusetts up, 7-0. After Columbus (3-7) took a 10-7 lead to start the second quarter, Brackett found Owens for a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates back on top, 14-10. The Lions rallied for another score to retake the lead, but the Massachusetts offense got in gear, as Devonn Brown reeled in a 22-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates up, 21-17. Austin’s second interception on the next Columbus play from scrimmage set up a Mike Waver 44-yard field goal to send the Pirates into halftime up, 27-17. Massachusetts kept up the scoring in the second half, as Owens added a 27-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and a 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Mitchell Bell grabbed a 7-yard touchdown pass and Quayvon Hicks added a 5-yard touchdown run before Owens capped the scoring with his onside kick return from 7-yards out.

Current Standings:

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

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES

AUSTRIA
The Austrian Football League playoffs kick off this weekend with the Wild Card Round. The Swarco Raiders finished the regular season in first place with an undefeated 10-0 record and earned a bye into the semifinals. Their arch rivals, the Dacia Vienna Vikings wound up second at 7-3 and also earned the right to play in the semifinals. The Vikings three losses came at the hands of Swarco to whom they lost twice, and the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants. The four teams battling it out in the wild card playoffs this weekend are the third place Prague Black Panthers, the Danube Dragons who finished fourth, the Giants and the SonicWall Mödling Rangers.

HUNGARY
The Fehérvár Enthroners will face the Kiev Capitals in Hungarian Bowl XIV on Saturday, July 6 at Hidegkuti Nandor Stadion in Budapest. The game is historic. This is the first time ever that a team from Budapest did not make it to the HFL championship game. On top of that, both teams are preparing to play in their first ever title game.

POLAND
The Wroclaw Panthers overcame mistakes and a stubborn battle from the defending champion Bialystok Lowlanders to down the Lowlanders 28-14 and capture Polish Bowl XIV at Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw this past weekend. Panthers quarterback Tony Dawson was a key to the win after throwing three touchdown passes and running another one in himself. Wide receiver and Game MVP Przemysław Banat along with Benji Barnes and Kacper Fiedziuk also scored for Wroclaw. For Bialystok, quarterback Rex Dausin scored on a one yard plunge and rookie kick returner Rafał Królewski scored on a kickoff return.

SWITZERLAND
The Swiss Federation of American Football – SAFV – National League semifinals kick off this weekend. The defending champion and 9-1 Calanda Broncos who finished first during the regular season will take on the fourth place 4-6 Basel Gladiators in one semifinal. The other features the second place Geneva Seahawks who finished with an 8-2 record against the 6-4 Bern Grizzlies who ended the season in third place in the SAFV National League standings.

 

 

Obscure Sports Page

The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game.  The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park.   NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett.   The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch.  This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto.  The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco.  After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back.  The current division leaders are:  South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)

Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history.  He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.   The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).

roughriders

Richmond Roughriders win the APF title over the Florida Tarpons

 

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61.  On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver.  Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season.  Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger.  Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center.   The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.  The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) –  The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title.  Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:

  1. Oklahoma Thunder
  2. Alabama Sabers
  3. Chattanooga Eagles
  4. Missouri Cyclones
  5. Huntsville Rockets
  6. North Mississippi Road Warriors
  7. Starkville Steeldogs
  8. River City Pythons
  9. Tri-City Outlaws
  10. Georgia Crush

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.  Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 71 yards.  Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.

Major League Futsal (MLF) –  Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points.  The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points.  Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago.  Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter.  The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half.   The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) –  Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season.  Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists.    This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.

National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games.  The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4).   The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:

  1. USSSA Pride (8-2)
  2. Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
  3. Chicago Bandits (9-7)
  4. Texas Charge (7-6)
  5. Akron Racers (5-7)
  6. Beijing Eagles (0-9)

North American Soccer League (NASL) –  Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer.  The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven.  On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points.  The Charge will play Boston this weekend.  Boston is in 9th place in the standings.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs.  The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.

United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  In the second round of the playoffs:

  • St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
  • Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
  • Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
  • Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
  • Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
  • Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
  • Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
  • Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
  • Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
  • Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
  • San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
  • Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14

This week’s schedule for the third round:

  • Chicago at Boston
  • San Diego at Dallas
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal
  • Mile High at St. Louis
  • Orlando at Toledo
  • Arkansas at S. Oregon

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78.  Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.

Obscure Sports News

masl2

The Baltimore Blast return to the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) finals after edging out the Milwaukee Wave 2-1 in a series-deciding mini game.  The Blast won the first game of the series in Baltimore 8-7 in overtime on Saturday.   The Wave returned home and took control early with a 3-0 lead in the first quarter enroute to an 8-4 win to even the series.  In the mini game, Andrew Hoxie scored his fourth goal of the postseason to put the Blast up 1-0.  Milwaukee’s Marcio Leite scored late in the mini game to tie it up a 1-1.  Tony Donatelli scored the series winner with less than two minutes left.   The Blast will now await the winner between Soles de Sonora-San Diego.  Soles de Sonora leads the series 1-0.

The top three chess players in the world – Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana – have helped their teams to advance to PRO Chess League championship weekend.  The Norway Gnomes, Montreal ChessBrahs, St. Louis Arch Bishops, and Stockholm Snowballs this weekend.  The semifinal matches will be played on Saturday at 10 am PST and 1 am PST.  The finals will be played on Sunday at 10 am PST).

The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) released their preseason top ten teams.  The defending champions, Oklahoma Thunder, have the top spot followed by – Nashville (TN) Storm, Memphis (TN) Blast, Georgia Crush, Missouri Valley Pitbulls, Marvel City Tigers, Crescent City Kings, Lee County Ticats, East Alabama Predators, and Georgia Knights.  The 2017 season kicks off on May 13th.

A new arena/indoor football league kicked off last weekend.  The National Arena League (NAL) with the defending champions of last year’s American Indoor Football (AIF) Columbus (GA) Lions facing the Jacksonville Sharks from the Arena Football League (AFL) in the first week of action.   The Sharks handed the Lions their first loss since 2015.  Quarterback tommy Grady finished with 19 completions for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Sharks.  Will Dukes had seven receptions for 56 yards and Mo Williams had six for 77 yards and two touchdowns.  In other games from the league:

  • High Country (NC) 62, Albany (GA) 29
  • Lehigh Valley (PA) 66, Dayton (OH) 25
  • Monterrey (Mexico) 55, Corpus Christi (TX) 12

Leonard Gates is the top ranked player in the American Darts Organization (ADO) with 398 points followed by Larry Butler who has 368 points.  Gates’ last tournament win was the Port City Open in February where he placed first in Mens 01 and Men’s Cricket events.   The ADO’s next tournament is the 31st Virginia Beach Classic this weekend.  Top prize is $37,580.

 

 

 

 

Team of the Week:  Oklahoma Thunder


When I thought about putting this post together for this week, I had hoped it would be our local team in this slot but in the heavyweight semi-pro football of matchups, this game went to the Oklahoma Thunder as they defeated the Nashville Storm, 29-16 in Gridiron Bowl VII played in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.

To save any confusion, this is NOT the NBA team that plays in Oklahoma City.

Never heard of this Thunder team or the Gridiron Bowl?

The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is one of the few stable semi-pro football leagues in the United States.   The GDFL currently has 25 teams and just finished their sixth season with the Gridiron Bowl.

 The Thunder defense dominated the defending champion Nashville Storm, scoring a defensive touchdown in the third quarter and shutting down Nashville’s rushing offense, holding them to 28 yards.  The Thunder also forced four turnovers and sacked the Storm quarterback six times in the game.

With the Thunder leading 15-14 in the third quarter, the Storm blocked a punt and took over possession at the Thunder 7.  Nashville tried two running plays but were unable to gain positive yardage.  The Thunder intercepted a third-down pass to end the threat.  Oklahoma QB Brandon Noohi completed passes of 70 and 20 yards on the ensuing drive.  The drive was capped with a 5-yard run by Josh Birmingham to extend the Thunder lead to 22-14.  

The Thunder won their fifth national title.  Their first since 2013.  The win over Nashville snapped the Storm’s 21-game win streak.

Gridiron Bowl Results:

  • 2010 – Gridiron Bowl I:  Carolina Warriors 15, Kentucky Wolverines 7
  • 2011 – Gridiron Bowl II: Chambersburg Cardinals 19, Oklahoma Thunder 14
  • 2012 – Gridiron Bowl III: Central Penn Piranha 49, South Buffalo Celtics 14
  • 2013 – Gridiron Bowl IV: Oklahoma Thunder 56, Lehigh Valley Storm 8
  • 2014 – Gridiron Bowl V: Central Penn Piranha 21, Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters 19
  • 2015 – Gridiron Bowl VI: Nashville Storm 31, Crescent City Kings 28
  • 2016 – Gridiron Bowl VII: Oklahoma Thunder 29, Nashville Storm 16