For the third time in the past three years, the Oklahoma Thunder knocks off a team from Tennessee to win another Gridiron Bowl Championship in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).
The Oklahoma Thunder dominated the game early to defeat the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs 38-15 in Gridiron Bowl IX in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Thunder had previously defeated the Nashville Storm in 2016 and Chattanooga Eagles in last season’s Gridiron Bowl.
A dominating performance by the Thunder offense broke the game open in the 2nd quarter, outscoring Middle Tennessee 25-6 in a 10-minute span. Thunder QB Brandon Noohi threw touchdown passes of 24 and 29 yards and WR DJ Dempsey added a 13-yard TD run to lead the scoring. Noohi went finish with 229 yards passing and four touchdowns.
The Thunder defense held the explosive Bulldawgs’ offense to 202 yards. Oklahoma’s BJ Hodshire was critical to the run defense, forcing three fumbles while holding Middle Tennessee to only 19 rushing yards on 20 attempts. DT Calvin Barnett also had two sacks, and S DJ Wolfe also added a key interception. The 15 points scored by Middle Tennessee were the only offensive points surrendered by the defense throughout the postseason.
With the victory, the Thunder organization now claims 7 national and world championships in its 10-year existence. It’s three consecutive national titles are the most ever by a GDFL team.
This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs. I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday. Never heard of these Bulldawgs? I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed. Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score. They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title. The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football. I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me. Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.
The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55. The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason. The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format. Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.
MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery
Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance. Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18. The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego. Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016). Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).
American Arena League (AAL) – After shocking the Richmond Roughriders last week to win the championship, the Atlanta Havoc’s future appears to be in doubt. The team is facing some uncertainty with ownership and arena issues. The Havoc played in Buford, Georgia and may be looking for another location.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league enters into the final weekend of the regular season. Teams will be fighting for playoff berths or positions this week. The Midwest Division is the only division with all three spots secured as the Madison Radicals will win the division with the Indianapolis AlleyCats and Minnesota Wind Chill taking the 2nd and 3rd places. The Los Angeles Aviators will be the top-seed in the West with the San Diego Growlers, San Francisco FlameThrowers and San Jose Spiders competing for the other two playoff spots. The Toronto Rush is the top team in the East with the New York Empire and DC Breeze game this weekend determining who finishes second. A loss by New York will force them to play a must-win game Sunday against the Philadelphia Phoenix as the Montreal Royal will be cheering for Philadelphia. The Dallas Roughnecks and Raleigh Flyers have clinched the top spots in the South. Austin and Atlanta will be fighting for the final spot.
Arena Football League (AFL) – The AFL will start their unique playoff format this weekend as all of its’ four teams will be in the playoffs as they will be a two-game series where the aggregate score will determine the winner. If teams are tied after the two games, they will play overtime to determine the winner. Strange but something different this year in the AFL. The Albany Empire will play at the Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade will travel to Philadelphia to play the Soul.
Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The teams will take the court in Detroit this weekend for Week 4 of the season. Former Detroit Piston great Rick Mahorn will try to get his team, Triology in the win column for the first time this season. Triology won the title in the league’s inaugural season last year but have struggled so far this season. Tri-State and the 3-Headed Monsters are currently at the top of the league at 3-0.
Gridiron Development Football League (GDFL) – It’s playoff time in the GDFL this weekend as 12 teams strive for Gridiron Bowl IX. The Lexington Red Dragons host the Buffalo Spartans. The winner will advance to play at the Erie Express in the second round. The Huntsville Rockets play at the Georgia Crush in Macon, Georgia this weekend. The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will host the winner next weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. The Alabama Sabers host the East Alabama Predators. The Mississippi Road Warriors await the winner. In the final first round matchup, the Oklahoma Thunder will try to defend their title when they travel to play the Tri-City Outlaws. The Oklahoma Outlawz will host the winner.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – After a 14-9 home win over the Charlotte Hounds, the Dallas Rattlers became the first team to clinch a spot in the Major League Lacrosse playoffs. The Rattlers are at 9-2 followed by the Chesapeake Bayhawks (8-2) and Denver Outlaws (7-4).
Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league and the Boise Grays have arrived at the mutual decision to disband the franchise for the remainder of the 2018 season. Following reports of both player and referee misconduct at the Boise Grays vs. Salt Lake City series on June 16, MLQ launched an investigation. In addition to collecting statements from various parties in attendance at the series, MLQ and Grays leadership engaged in a series of discussions to determine the fate of the squad. MLQ and the Grays leadership determined the best option for both parties would be to disband the Boise Grays for the remainder of the 2018 season.
[Also, you folks at MLQ need to do a better job of updating your website and standings.]
Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Seattle Seawolves defeated the Glendale Raptors, 23-19, to win the inaugural MLR Championship and claim America’s Championship Shield at Torero Stadium in San Diego. Outside centre William Rasileka and eight-man Riekert Hattingh put together consecutive tries for a one-point lead, 20-19. A penalty kick for good measure was all the Seawolves needed to upset the top-ranked Raptors.
Major League Soccer (MLS) – The Atlanta United leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points while FC Dallas leads the Western Conference with 35 points.
National Arena League (NAL) – Their is a logjam at the top of the league’s standings with the Columbus Lions (8-3), Massachusetts Pirates (9-4), Carolina Cobras (7-4) and Jacksonville Sharks (8-5) with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
National Marbles Tournament – Madison Johnson of Allegheny County, PA and Joshua Johnston of Ambler, PA are this year’s 2018 National Champions.
National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) – The Chicago Bandits scored 21 runs in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Beijing Eagles to break the franchise’s single-game record and polished off a six-game sweep with a comeback win in the nightcap Thursday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex. Emily Carosone, Gwen Svekis and Sammy Marshall launched home runs in the 21-0 rout as part of a 23-hit attack. The Bandits maintained their lead in the standings at 36-12 and stayed two games ahead of USSSA Pride.
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Thanks to goals by Debinha and Jessica McDonald, the NWSL North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Wednesday evening. The Courage have won all three meetings against the Spirit, with a 4-2 victory at Washington on April 14th and a 1-0 victory at home on May 12th. The Courage improved to 13-1-3 with 42 points on the National Women’s Soccer League season, 13 points ahead of second place Seattle Reign FC in the standings. The attendance was 3,409 for the midweek game.
Quidditch World Cup – The United States defeated Belgium 120-70 to win the 2018 World Cup played in Florence, Italy. It was the fourth appearance in the final for the USA team and their first title since 2014. The USA topped Britain in the semifinals while Belgium advanced to their first cup final after defeating Turkey in their semifinal match.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Atlanta Dream (10-9) return to action this weekend after a franchise record-setting 106-89 victory over the Washington Mystics Wednesday in D.C. Atlanta set a new WNBA Record when four players notched 20+ points and at least five assists in a game (Angel McCoughtry – 24 PTS, 6 AST, Jessica Breland – 23 PTS, 7 AST, Tiffany Hayes – 21 PTS, 5 AST, Renee Montgomery – 21 PTS, 5 AST).
World Team Tennis (WTT) – The six-time WTT champion Washington Kastles will open the 2018 season this weekend at the New York Empire. The WTT will have six teams this season with the Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers joining Washington and New York.
The proposed new springtime AAF announced Atlanta will become home to the league’s second franchise. The AAF recently announced Orlando as its first franchise location and plans to announce six additional markets over the coming weeks. A team in Southern California is expected to be one of the next six markets.
AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)
The Raleigh Flyers (4-2) split their Texas road trip last weekend as they lost to the Austin Sol (2-1) 25-23 in overtime then rebounded in Dallas to defeat the Roughnecks (3-1) 24-20. Check out this highlight of Justin Allen’s 90-yard heave for Raleigh at the end of the third period here.
AUDL Division Leaders:
Midwest: Madison (3-0)
South: Atlanta (3-0)
East: Toronto (3-0)
West: San Diego (3-2)
Locally, the Nashville Nightwatch and Tampa Bay Cannons were both winless going into Saturday’s game. The Cannons had five goals by Jordan Huston in a 25-13 win. The Nightwatch return to their home field this Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Austin Sol.
ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)
The Washington Valor were defeated, 67-51, by the defending-champion Philadelphia Soul Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. Valor wide receiver Josh Reese set a career high with three receiving touchdowns while Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw five touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.
GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE (GDFL)
The Huntsville Rockets defeated the Chattanooga Eagles 22-19 in one of the top game last weekend. The Rockets (1-0) take the top spot in the league. Here are the rest of the top 10 teams:
#2 Georgia Crush (1-0)
#3 Mississippi Road Warriors (0-0)
#4 Starkville Steeldogs (0-0)
#5 Missouri Cyclones (1-0)
#6 River City Pythons (1-0)
#7 Oklahoma Outlaws (2-0)
#8 Memphis Blast (1-0)
#9 Chattanooga Eagles (0-1)
#10 Alabama Sabers (0-1)
MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL)
The Orlando SeaWolves will join the MASL next season. The SeaWolves will play at Kissimmee’s Sliver Spurs Arena. The new team will be part of the MASL’s 2018-19 alignment when the season kicks off in December.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)
The Glendale Raptors took their 1-0 record to the Pacific Northwest for a rain-soaked slugfest against the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night. In front of a sold-out crowd at Starfire Sports Complex and under the pouring rain, the Raptors (2-0) made the most of their chances and were able to defeat a strong Seawolves (1-1) side by a score of 19-15.
Glendale Raptors (9)
Seattle Seawolves (6)
Houston SaberCats (6)
NOLA Gold (5)
San Diego Legion (5)
Austin Elite (2)
Utah Warriors (1)
NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL)
The defending NLL champions, Georgia Swarm (11-7), clinched the Eastern Division title while the Saskatchewan Rush (14-4) took the Western Division title as the regular season ended last weekend. Rochester, New England, Colorado and Calgary also clinched playoff berths. It took a 16-11 win by the Swarm over the New England Black Wolves in the final regular season game to clinch the Eastern Division title.
It was championship weekend in the world of obscure sports as three sports leagues played their title games. Let’s take a look at the results:
Arena Football League (AFL)
The Philadelphia Soul repeated as ArenaBowl champions with a thrilling 44-40 win over the Tampa Bay Storm. The Soul rallied in the second half, scoring 30 points, after trailing the Storm 20-14 at halftime. Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh started the second half with a 40-yard touchdown throw to Darius Reynolds to lead 21-20. That play got the Soul’s momentum moving in the right direction. They led 28-27 at the end of the third quarter, and then shut down a Tampa Bay drive at the beginning of the fourth. A Radaubaugh throw to Darius Prince on a short fourth-and-goal put the Soul ahead for good.
American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)
The San Francisco FlameThrowers stunned the ultimate disc world this weekend as they knocked off the Madison Radicals in the semifinal game and then upset the Toronto Rush 30-29 to win their first title. With 3:12 left, San Francisco received the disc, leading 29-28. They maintained possession of the disc for nearly two minutes. San Francisco worked the disc forward, backward, side to side, and forward again. With just 1:21 on the clock, Cassidy Rasmussen threw the score to Marcelo Sanchez. Toronto got a goal with 38 seconds remaining to keep within reach. The Rush pinned San Francisco in its own end zone but couldn’t come up with a block. The FlameThrowers were able to run out the clock to secure the 30-29 victory.
Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL)
The Oklahoma Thunder repeated as Gridiron Bowl champions with a convincing 51-12 win over the Chattanooga Eagles on Saturday in Memphis. (Note: There is no posting of the game report from this game on any of the league’s or team’s social media sites. Only the final score.)
Here are some of the sports news you won’t see on ESPN….
It’s the final four weekend in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Madison Radicals (13-2), San Francisco FlameThrowers (11-4), Dallas Roughnecks (13-3) and Toronto Rush (13-2) meet in Montreal this weekend to play for the title. Dallas won the title last season. Madison is seeking their first championship. Toronto last won the title in 2013. San Francisco is the newcomer to the Championship Weekend.
The Philadelphia Soul (14-1) will face the Tampa Bay Storm (11-4) in ArenaBowl XXX in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Arena Football League (AFL) title game will end the league’s 30th season. The Soul is looking to repeat as AFL champions while the Storm will be looking for their sixth ArenaBowl title.
The Oklahoma Thunder (10-0) and Chattanooga Eagles (9-1) will meet in Gridiron Bowl 8 for the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) crown on Saturday in Memphis. This is the fourth appearance for the Thunder who won the title last year. Chattanooga is making their first trip to the Gridiron Bowl.
For the first time in franchise history, the Ohio Machine claimed the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) title last weekend. Peter Baum scored two goals and added two assists. He scored twice in a two-minute span in the third quarter which fueled Ohio’s comeback from a 10-6 deficit. Ohio defeated the Denver Outlaws 17-12 at the Ford Center in Dallas in front of 7,543 fans.
The Big3 Basketball League (BIG3) will end the season this weekend in Las Vegas with the final four. The Power (4-4), Ghostballers (4-4), Triology (8-0) and 3-Headed Monsters (6-2) advanced to the championship weekend after winning their playoff games last weekend in Seattle. Rashard Lewis was awarded the league’s MVP. Stephen Jackson was dubbed the Best Trash Talker.
The Los Angeles Sparks moved to the top of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) power rankings this week. They won a double-overtime thriller over Chicago as four Sparks had double-doubles in the game. They play four of their final five games at home.
Puerto Rico FC has taken advantage of the fresh start provided by the arrival of the NorthAmerican Soccer League’s (NASL) Fall Season. After a tough first half of the year, the Caribbean side is thriving at the top of the table after a pair of strong results on the road in Week 4 of the Fall Season. The club’s next opponent will be Spring Season Champion Miami FC, which enters the weekend riding a three-game winning streak. The top-of-the-table clash will get underway at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium on Saturday night.
On day two of the 2017 TOTAL Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships, the United States had its final two athletes go home. Bjorn Seguin took on Germany’s Marc Zwiebler in men’s singles and lost, 21-10, 21-15. Zwiebler started game one by scoring the first four points of the match and never trailed. Game two was close early, Zwiebler led 8-7, before rattling off five straight to propel himself to the victory. In men’s doubles action, Mathew Fogarty partnered with Nicholas Bonkowsky of Trinidad and Tobago as they took on Kah Ming Chooi and Juan Shen Low of Malaysia. Fogarty and Bonkowsky scored the first point of the match, but that was the highlight for the duo. The Malaysians won game one 21-2, followed by a 21-4 win in game two.
The Scrap Yard Dawgs claimed their first Cowles Cup in franchise history with a 5-2 win over the USSSA Pride in the winner-take-all contest of the final series in the 2017 NationalProfessional Fastpitch (NPF) Championship held at Tiger Park on the LSU campus.
Rookie Kasey Cooper charged the offense with three RBI, the bulk coming on a two-run home run in the sixth inning that gave the Scrap Yard Dawgs (35-19) the lead for good. Monica Abbott pitched her second complete game of the afternoon, limiting the Pride to two runs off four hits while striking out 11. It was Abbott’s two-hit, 14-strikeout performance earlier in the day that forced the decisive third game. Abbott was named MVP of the NPF Championship series. The Tennessee alum and Scrap Yard Dawgs ace limited foes to 15 hits and struck out 56 over 29 innings in the tournament. The Pride (43-11), who received a leadoff homer from Megan Wiggins for an early lead, reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third after Kirsti Merritt delivered a two-out RBI single to score Sierra Romero who reached on a fielding error. Angel Bunner relieved starting pitcher Kelsey Nunley in the fourth inning and retired the side in her first two innings of work, but yielded the go-ahead homer to Cooper in the sixth inning. The Scrap Yard Dawgs gave Abbott additional breathing room in the top of the seventh. Meagan May Whitley led off with a solo shot that landed in the left field berm and Cooper later drew a bases loaded walk to force home a run that stretched the lead to 5-2. Abbott finished the game off in style with consecutive strikeouts of Romero and pinch hitter Gionna DiSalvatore to close out the seventh inning. Kayla Winkfield led the way with two hits and five others contributed one apiece as the Scrap Yard Dawgs totaled seven in the contest.
Oklahoma Thunder To Meet Chattanooga Eagles In Gridiron Bowl 8
The two teams to battle in Gridiron Bowl 8 are set in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL). The defending champion, Oklahoma Thunder, dismantled the Crescent City Kings 48-0 to win the Impact Conference. The Chattanooga Eagles denied the Georgia Crush with a 22-16 win in the Xtreme Conference. Oklahoma and Chattanooga will meet for the title on August 28th in Memphis, Tennessee.
Philadelphia Soul Seeks ArenaBowl Repeat
The Philadelphia Soul (14-1) and Tampa Bay Storm (11-4) will meet in ArenaBowl XXX in Philadelphia on August 26th. Philadelphia defeated the Baltimore Brigade 69-54 while Tampa Bay eliminated the Cleveland Gladiators 73-59 in the Arena Football League (AFL) semifinals. Philadelphia is looking to repeat as ArenaBowl champions and making their fourth appearance in the past six seasons. Tampa Bay is playing in their 10th ArenaBowl which ties them with the Arizona Rattlers.
AT&T Stadium To Host 2017 WDFL National Championship
The World Developmental Football League (WDFL) will play on a huge stage for its national championship game. The game is scheduled to be played at the home of the Dallas Cowboys on November 6th as the East Coast and West Coast Division winners will meet for the title. The Georgia Cardinals (3-0) currently lead the East Coast Division. Only three teams (California Sharks, Los Angeles Scorpions and Southern California Coyotes) comprise the West Coast Division and have not begun play at this time.
Orange County Breakers Defeat San Diego Aviators for WTT Title
Teymuraz Gabashvili closed things out with a 5-4 win in the men’s singles match to help the Breakers to a 22-18 victory for their first World Team Tennis King Trophy since 2004. The Breakers finally broke through after losing the previous two championship games in 2015 & 2016. Gabashvili was named the Mylan WTT Male MVP. Yanina Wickmayer, who was named the WTT’s Female Rookie of the Year, started things out with a 5-2 win for the Breakers.
Austin Outlaws Claim Professional Quidditch Title
The Austin Outlaws defeated the Indianapolis Intensity 150-90 to claim the Major League Quidditch (MLQ) title. (Sorry, no details on this game from the league’s website but you can watch the game on YouTube)