Do They Still Play Indoor Football?

With the demise of the Arena Football League (AFL) in the off-season, indoor football leagues are still surviving but some just barely above semi-pro football.

Here’s a look at the indoor leagues that I have found which are scheduled to play this season:

Indoor Football League (IFL) is starting their 11th season with 13 teams. The IFL is currently the oldest arena/indoor football league. The Sioux Falls Storm won last year’s championship which was their seventh title.

Current teams are: Arizona Rattlers, Bismarck Bucks, Cedar Rapids River Kings, Duke City Gladiators, Frisco Fighters, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, Oakland Panthers, Quad City Steamwheelers, San Diego Strike Force, Sioux Falls Storm, Spokane Shock and Tucson Sugar Skulls.

On August 20, 2019, the Duke City Gladiators joined the IFL after winning back-to-back CIF championships. On September 10, the Oakland Panthers, co-owned by former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, joined the IFL for the 2020 season. On November 1, the league added the Spokane Shock after it was resurrected by former NFL player Sam Adams, with the Spokane team reacquiring the Shock brand following the Empire’s folding in 2017. The Bosselman family were looking to sell the Nebraska Danger, but no owner was found before the deadline for participating in the 2020 season. On November 24, 2019, the IFL added a thirteenth team in Frisco, Texas, owned by the Germain family called the Frisco Fighters. The Germain family also purchased the sponsorship rights for the IFL, the management rights of the league’s communications and marketing department, as well as a second expansion for the 2021 season in Columbus, Ohio.

The season begins March 7th. For more information on this league, go to goifl.com.

The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league currently has seven teams and will be kicking off their fifth season. The Duke City Gladiators won their second league championship last season.

Current teams are: Omaha Beef, Salina Liberty, Sioux City Bandits, Wichita Force, Amarillo Venom, Oklahoma Flying Aces and West Texas Warbirds.

During the offseason, the CIF lost the Bismarck Bucks and Quad City Steamwheelers to the IFL. When the 2019 schedule was released, both the West Michigan Ironmen and the Kansas City Phantoms had been removed as members. On May 9, the Texas Revolution folded during the season. At the end of the season, the Duke City Gladiators won their second consecutive championship and then withdrew from the league, eventually joining the IFL. Following the season, the league announced it had partnered with the National Arena League (NAL) to create a new league for the 2020 season under a new identity with two conferences: the CIF and NAL. However, it was announced on October 10 that the deal had been postponed, with both leagues playing their own individual schedules in 2020.

The CIF season will start on March 8th. For more information about this league, go to gocif.net.

The National Arena League (NAL) will start their third season with seven teams. The Jacksonville Sharks won their second title last season.

Current teams are: Carolina Cobras, Columbus Lions, Jacksonville Sharks, Jersey Flight, Massachusetts Pirates, Orlando Predators and West Virginia Roughriders.

Following the season, the NAL announced it had partnered with Champions Indoor Football (CIF) to create a new league for the 2020 season under a new identity with two conferences: the CIF and NAL. The Massachusetts Pirates chose to not join the merged league and the New York Streets were not mentioned as an included team. However, it was announced on October 10 that the deal had been postponed, with both leagues playing their own individual schedules in 2020. The Pirates rejoined the NAL and the league then added two teams that had originally been given conditional approval to join in the 2018 season, the Jersey Flight and the West Virginia Roughriders (then known as the Richmond Roughriders), from the American Arena League.

The NAL season kicks off on April 4th. For more information about this league, go to NationalArenaLeague.com.

The American Arena League (AAL) enters their second season with 10 teams. The West Virginia Roughriders were crowned league champions last season.

Current teams are: Carolina Cowboyz, Carolina Predators, Charlotte Thunder, Indianapolis Enforcers, Louisville Xtreme, Music City Fire, Pennsylvania Union, South Florida Thunder, Tampa Bay Tornadoes and West Michigan Ironmen.

I can’t tell you when the new season starts because their website is currently down.

The newest league is the American West Football Conference (AWFC) which enters their second season with three teams. The Idaho Horsemen won the league’s first title in 2019.

Current teams are: Idaho Horsemen, Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks and Yakima Canines.

For the 2020 season, the league announced expansion teams in Yakima, Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area, although the Bay Area team never launched. In February 2020, the Reno Express was removed from the schedule and the Tri-Cities Fire folded, which led to the Idaho Horsemen and Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks both announce they would play independent schedules. The league then announced it would be playing the 2020 season with three teams — Idaho, Wenatchee, and Yakima — while looking for non-league teams to fill in the lost games including the minor outdoor team, Tri-City Rage, filling in for the Fire’s six scheduled away games.

The AWFC’s second season starts March 17th. For more information about this league, go to americanwestfootballconference.com.

There is also another indoor league named Arena Pro Football (APF) however, it is difficult to find any information about this league and functions more as a semi-pro league.

THE FUTURE OF INDOOR FOOTBALL

These five indoor football leagues are what’s left of the sport. Except for the IFL, the state of indoor football doesn’t seem to be very stable. The Arena Football League mentioned they might come back in some kind of format but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.

What I would like to see for these leagues to merge into one nationwide league divided into geographic regions. Develop some regional rivalries and created some stability. I think that having two or three levels would help to grow the sport better. I just think these leagues would do well working together than as separate entities.

I still think there is a place for arena/indoor football. It is still an exciting variation of the outdoor version. No, it’s not the same but it’s still a lot of fun to watch. These five leagues are trying to keep it alive.

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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

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 News

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Scores from Week 3:

  • Charlotte Energy 90, Peach State Cats 0
  • Carolina Predators 23, Carolina Cowboyz 14
  • Cape Fear Heroes 40, Georgia Doom 37

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

Antonio Bray rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third to lead Omaha to a 44-21 win over Wichita at Ralston Arena in Champions Indoor Football action on Saturday night. The win vaults Omaha back into 1st place in the CIF Northern Division.

The Beef (2-1) also had five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. Chris Perry opened the scoring with a 28-yard return four minutes into the game, and Trey Dudley-Giles capped it with a 44-yard score with 36 seconds left.

The Beef led 30-7 at halftime after Bray scored from 1 yard out. But the Force (1-3) cut the lead to 30-21 midway through the fourth quarter when Mikhail Lindsay scored on a 1-yard run of his own.

The Beef answered with a four-play, 37-yard drive, with Bray rushing 26 yards for a touchdown with 1:54 remaining to put the game away.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Green Bay Blizzard defeated the Nebraska Danger on Saturday night at the Resch Center by a score of 60-50.

In a game that saw 30 total points scored in the last 2 minutes and 25 seconds of the game, the Blizzard were able to hold on to win. With the score at 45 to 35 in favor of the Blizzard, Danger quarterback Tommy Armstrong made his only poor throw when defensive back Bakari Triggs stepped in front of a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. As the Green Bay holder as well, Bakari took the bad snap and ran it in for the 2-point conversion. The Blizzard took an 18-point lead at 53 to 35. The Danger answered back on the next drive to score and add the 2-point conversion to bring the score back to a 10 point difference at 53 to 43. The Danger then recovered the on-side kick and 2 plays later scored on a pass from Armstrong to John Jackson for 24 yards. With the extra point good, the Danger were within 3 points with 15 seconds to play. The next on-side kick attempt was recovered by the Blizzard and 2 plays later, running back Rameses Owens ran in the final score of the game with only 6 seconds to play.

MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE

The Ron Newman Cup Playoff season begins on Thursday in Kansas City as the Comets host the Milwaukee Wave in the opening game of the South Central Division Championships. This is the eighth playoff meeting between these two teams in the past nine years. The Southwest and Pacific Divisions begin on Friday night as the RGV Barracudas host the Monterrey Flash and the Tacoma Stars host Landon Donovan and the San Diego Sockers.  The Eastern Division regular season champion Utica City FC travel to open their series against the Baltimore Blast on Saturday afternoon, one of three games that day.  The Divisional Championship round of the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs feature a home-and-home series between the two teams. If the series is tied after two games, a 15-minute Mini Game is played immediately after Game Two to decide the winner.

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Seattle’s Brock Staller is MLR Player of the Week

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY

The San Diego Legion battled RUNY in MCU Park and became the first team to leave New York victorious, winning 29-19 and earning the Week 12 Team of the Week Award. Seattle Seawolves wing Brock Staller spearheaded a 52-point offensive onslaught in victory over the Houston SaberCats, scooping Week 12 Player of the Week and becoming the 2019 season’s first two-time award winner.

Rugby United had yet to lose at home in their inaugural season, relying on one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Seven minutes into Sunday’s match, the San Diego Legion faced an early 12-0 deficit on the road in a game with huge playoff implications. But after half-time, the esteemed San Diego defense exerted control and swung the match, not allowing a single second-half point. The Californians’ well-rounded offensive unit won 100-percent of their scrums and saw five different players score a try, Joe Pietersen’s show-and-go solo effort a particular highlight. The Legion climb to third in the standings with the win, propelled by the league’s best point differential. Meanwhile, RUNY are on the outside looking in for the playoffs following the loss, sitting at fifth.

The Houston SaberCats and Seattle Seawolves played out a tight opening half at the newly opened AVEVA Stadium, only the second full-time rugby venue in the United States. But the second half was the Brock Staller show. After drilling two penalty kicks to extend Seattle’s lead to 19-5, in the 57th minute the speedy Staller intercepted an errant offload and ran over untouched from 60 meters for his fifth try of the season. By the final whistle, Staller had accumulated 22 points, a 2019 MLR single game record, and stuffed the stat sheet in the Seawolves’ 52-10 victory, piling up 127 meters on nine carries, four conversions, three penalty kicks and a try. Staller tops the league by a sizable margin in individual points scored, recording 128 points so far, 17 points ahead of second place JP Eloff of the NOLA Gold. This is Staller’s second MLR Player of the Week Award of the season, the first occurring in Week 5.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Orlando Predators’ franchise returned to the field after two years and started another chapter in a new league with a 43-40 win over the Columbus Lions.  Robert Brown Jr. intercepted the first pass of the season and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown.  Orlando quarterback Kyle Israel had five touchdown passes including two to L.J. Castile in the final minutes as the Predators edged the Lions.

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE

Here are the current standings:

Eastern Division

  1. Buffalo Bandits (12-4)
  2. Georgia Swarm (12-5)
  3. Toronto Rock (11-6)
  4. New England Black Wolves (8-8)
  5. Rochester Knighthawks (5-11)
  6. Philadelphia Wings (3-14)

Western Division

  1. Saskatchewan Rush (10-6)
  2. San Diego Seals (9-7)
  3. Calgary Roughnecks (9-8)
  4. Colorado Mammoths (6-10)
  5. Vancouver Warriors (5-11)

NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LEAGUE

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath has been voted Week 1 NWSL Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association.

Heath tallied a goal and an assist to propel the Thorns ahead of the Orlando Pride 2-0 on Sunday.

Heath’s assist came in the 45th minute after receiving a pass in the 18-yard-box from Christine Sinclair. Heath pulled her defender wide and then backheeled a pass to teammate Caitlin Foord, who drove the ball into the back of the net for the first goal of the match.

Heath’s goal came in the 49th minute when Foord returned the favor, sending a low cross to Heath, who pulled off a behind-the-back touch with the inside of her right foot to redirect the ball into goal.

Heath finished the game with four total shots, three on goal and eight chances created.

This is the second time Heath has been named NWSL Player of the Week. She last earned the honors in Week 6 of 2016.

PRO CHESS LEAGUE

The Baden-Baden Snowballs and Armenia Eagles rounded out the four teams have booked their ticket to the live PRO Chess Leagues semifinals in San Francisco this May. The Snowballs and the Eagles join St. Louis and Chengdu in qualifying for the event.  With Tuesday’s action coming to a close, the results mean that three of the four contestants will be returning to the semifinals, as Ljubljana was relegated during regular season play. The semifinals will see a rematch between St. Louis and Armenia, as Chengdu will take on newcomer Baden-Baden.

Obscure Sports News (10/17/18)

osr_1017

Sugar Skulls, Ignite, Warriors and Rougarous to begin play soon

Here are the latest new sports franchises which will begin play soon:

  • Amarillo (To-Be-Named) will be a new farm team for the San Diego Padres in the Texas League (TL) to begin play in 2019.   The San Antonio Missions franchise relocated to Amarillo as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox have relocated to San Antonio in the Pacific Coast League (PCL).  The five finalists in a name-the-team contest are:  Boot Scooters, Bronc Busters, Jerky, Long Haulers and Sod Poodles.  The “winning” name will be chosen in the next few weeks.  Amarillo previously had an independent league team called the Dillas from 1994-2010.
  • Colorado Springs will have a team in the Pioneer League (PL) next spring after the Sky Sox moved to San Antonio in the Pacific Coast League (PCL).  The five finalists in the name-the-team contest are Happy Campers, Lamb Chops, Punchy Pikas, Throttle Jockeys and Rocky Mountain Oysters.
  • Traverse City (Michigan), which is located in Northern Michigan, will have a team in the Northwoods League.  The league just completed its 25th season as a summer collegiate baseball league.
  • Lansing (Michigan) Ignite will begin play in the United Soccer League One (USL 1) next season.  The USL 1 is a new league under the United Soccer League (USL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) umbrella.
  • Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Rougarou will begin play in the Texas Collegiate League next season.  A “rougarou” is often described as a creature with a human body and the head of a wolf or dog, similar to a werewolf.
  • Vancouver Warriors will play in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) this season.  The Warriors moved from Everett, Washington when they were known as the Washington Stealth.
  • Boston (Massachusetts), Atlanta (Georgia), Los Angeles (California) and Washington (DC) will be expansion teams in Major League Rugby (MLR) for the 2020 season.  The MLR played its first season this past summer with eight teams.
  • Halifax will join the National Lacrosse League (NLL) in the 2019 season when the Rochester Knighthawks move to Halifax.
  • Tucson (Arizona) Sugar Skulls will be an expansion team in the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2019.  The franchise was awarded in August.  The team name originated from the local tradition of creating sugar skulls for Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

After writing this blog the question that screams at me is:  WHO IS COMING UP WITH THESE TEAM NAMES?  Maybe we shouldn’t have fans name the teams and have professional people who can come up with some team names instead of trying to come up with the most ridiculous names possible.

I should know.  I once attended Macon Whoopee hockey games.

Football Champions Crowned Around The World

It was a busy weekend in the football world.  No, not the World Cup where they play futbol but there were several championships played in the American-version of football.  Let’s start here at home first…..

barnstormers

United Bowl:  Iowa Barnstormers 42, Sioux Falls Storm 38

The Iowa Barnstormers won their first indoor football title after 18 seasons with a thrilling 42-38 win over the Sioux Falls Storm to win the Indoor Football League (IFL) title.  QB Drew Powell, the recently named IFL MVP, led Iowa down the field in less than three minutes for the game-winning drive. It was capped by a bruising and dramatic Jamal Tyler touchdown run.  The Barnstormers were down 38-35 heading into the final drive. Tyler’s go-ahead touchdown came with just 13 seconds left in the game.

Now for title games overseas……

milano

Italian Bowl:  Milano Seamen 28, Bolzano Giants 14

The Milano Seamen came from behind to win their second straight Italian championship and the fourth in five years as they downed the Bolzano Giants 28-14 in the 2018 Italian Bowl.

belgium

Belguim Bowl XXXI:  Brussels Black Angels 50, Limburg Shotguns 0

The Brussels Black Angels spoiled a magical year for the league newcomers the Limburg Shotguns in Belgian Bowl XXXI, by overwhelming them 50-0 to win their third Belgian title  This was the fourth straight appearance in the Belgian championship game for the Black Angels and 11th overall. They have won three of the last four but this was the most lopsided victory.

swedish

Swedish Championship:  Stockholm Mean Machines 42, Carlstad Crusaders 41

For the first time since 2010, there will be a new name on the Swedish championship trophy as the Stockholm Mean Machines stunned the Carlstad Crusaders 42-41 in the Swedish championship final at Stockholm Stadion.  Behind a 28 point third quarter, Stockholm took a 42-28 lead into the fourth quarter and then held on as Carlstad mounted a furious comeback.

swiss

Swiss Bowl XXXIII:  Calanda Broncos 44, Geneva Seahawks 12

The Calanda Broncos won their eighth Swiss Bowl title in 10 years.  The Broncos jumped out to a 23-0 lead at halftime and cruised to another title.  The Broncos finished the season undefeated.  The game was played in Bern.

turkey

Turkish American Football League:  Koc Rams 52, Bogazici Sultans 21

The Koç Rams used a dominant second half performance to win their third straight Turkish American Football League title this past weekend by downing the Bogazici Sultans 52-21.  The Rams broke open a tight ball game, scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half.  Quarterback David Whipple completed eight of 11 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 124 and another two touchdowns in a superb performance. Running back Javonte Hence rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns while wide receivers Kaan Ozer and Alihan Agackesen caught a touchdown pass each. Mehmet Sarikatipoglu also kicked a 20 yard field goal.

serbia

Serbian Bowl XIV:  Kragujevac Wild Boars 54, SBB Vukovi Belgrade 36

The Kragujevac Wild Boars won their third consecutive Serbian championship and eighth overall by beating SBB Vukovi Belgrade 54-36 in Serbian Bowl XIV at Čika Dača Stadium in Kragujevac.  Paced by a five-touchdown performance by running back Joshua Quezada, who earned MVP honors, and five touchdown passes from quarterback Dalton Oliver, Kragujevac took control of the game early on and never let up.

 

 

 

 

Indoor Football Update (6/27/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders will host the Atlanta Havoc this weekend for the AAL championship.  The Roughriders won the Arena Pro Football title last year over the Florida Tarpons.  For more information:  American Arena League

Arena Football League (AFL) –  The Albany Empire defeated Baltimore Brigade 56-49 on Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore’s regular-season home finale. The Brigade dropped to 7-3 with only their second loss in the past seven games. Baltimore leads the Empire and Philadelphia Soul , both 6-4, by a half game in the AFL with two games remaining in the regular season. It was the Brigade’s first loss at home this season. Brigade wide receiver Brandon Collins finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Randy Hippeard was 24-for-41 passing for 292 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Quarterback Tommy Grady completed 14 of 20 passes for 199 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Empire. The Brigade will take on the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday followed by a game against the Washington Valor on July 7.  For more information:  Arena Football League

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – The Duke City Gladiators broke open a close game in their semifinal playoff game against the Texas Revolution.  With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, it appeared the Gladiators were on the way to a comfortable victory with a 35-21 lead and had the ball at the Texas 5 with a first down. QB Caleb Holbrook then threw toward receiver Dello Davis but Davis lost a tug-of-war for the ball, the Revs defender Frankie Solomon II who  wrestled it from Davis and returned the ball to the Gladiators’ 12. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Texas failed to execute an onside kick and the Gladiators took over at the Revs’ 21 and kept possession until the late score, a 20-yard pass from Holbrook to Juwan Lewis for a 41-28 win.   The Sioux City Bandits edged the Salina Liberty, 45-39, in their semifinal game to advance to the Champions Bowl this weekend in Albuquerque.  For more information:  Champions Indoor Football

storm

Sioux Falls Storm Advances To 9th Straight United Bowl

Indoor Football League (IFL) – In the IFL semifinals, the Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Arizona Rattlers by a score of 69-68 in front of 16,479 fans in Phoenix.  A blocked extra point following a Rattlers touchdown became the difference, as the Storm were able to score and convert the point after to escape with a one-point win. At the start of the fourth quarter, Sioux Falls regained the lead with a two-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs, bringing the score to 59-55.  A two-yard run by Verlon Reed put the Arizona back in the lead 62-59.  Sioux Falls tied the game at 62 with a 30-yard field goal with 3:30 remaining.  The Rattlers took over in Storm territory after a late hit penalty by Sioux Falls. With eight-seconds remaining, kicker Sawyer Petre missed the potential go-ahead field goal to force overtime.  Arizona started overtime with the ball, and Reed connected with Dezmon Epps for a 16-yard touchdown on fourth down. The point-after attempt was blocked by Sioux Falls, keeping the Rattlers lead at six.  The Storm scored on their first play, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Damien Ford. The point-after attempt was good, giving the Storm the win.  The Storm will play the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend in the United Bowl in Des Moines.  The Barnstormers defeated the Nebraska Danger 48-17 in the other semifinal game.

A new ownership group has taken over the IFL’s Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans franchise and plans to keep the team in the city for the 2019 season. The Titans joined the IFL as a 2012 expansion team. The team’s previous ownership also owned the Cedar Rapids Rampage of the Major Arena Soccer League. That Rampage’s future in the city is over if a new owner does not come forward, since its ownership will be operating a new Orlando-based MASL expansion team for the 2018-19 season.

For more information:  Indoor Football League

National Arena League (NAL) – A three touchdown night from fullback Derrick Ross helped the Jacksonville Sharks reach the franchise’s 100th win.  Ross and the Sharks broke the game open with 37 unanswered points and routed the Maine Mammoths 51-21 to earn the team’s 100th all-time victory Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks (7-4) have reached 90 regular-season victories combined in the National Arena League and its former home, the Arena Football League, to go with 10 postseason wins.  Ross, who had devastated the Mammoths (2-8) in two previous matchups this season, brought his touchdown total against Maine to eight on the year.  Quarterback Adrian McPherson rebounded from his previous loss to Carolina, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Gilchrist. Former University Christian standout Jenson Stoshak led the Sharks with eight receptions for 56 yards.  For more information:  National Arena League

National Gridiron League (NGL) – The NGL is a proposed new spring indoor football league that plans to start play in 2019 with 12 teams aligned in 2 divisions. The NGL currently lists an Eastern Division with the Virginia Redbirds (Roanoke) and five teams called the Destroyers, Blue Bombers, Pioneers, Stampede and Firebirds with no assigned markets. The Western Division has the Kansas Kapitals (Topeka) and five teams called the Bighorns, Twisters, Mudcats, Outlaws and Redsticks with no assigned markets.  For more information:  National Gridiron League

Obscure Sports News (6/20/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders and Atlanta Havoc won close games to advance to the title game.  The Roughriders jumped out to a 22-0 lead on the Carolina Energy in the first quarter then had to rally from a 29-22 deficit in the third quarter as the Roughriders scored on five consecutive possessions for a 57-43 win.  The Atlanta Havoc was the higher seeded team in their semifinal matchup with the Cape Fear Heroes but due to scheduling conflicts they had to play in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The Havoc scored with 22 seconds left to take a 61-54 win as Quarterback Chris Wallace scored from three yards out.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Philadelphia Soul (5-4) defeated the Albany Empire (5-4) in a thrilling game at the Times Union Center in front of 9,534 fans with a final score of 75-74 and are now tied with Albany for 2nd place. With 0.4 seconds left in the game, Soul QB Shane Austin found WR Darius Prince in the end zone to score the game-winning 10-yard touchdown. Although the Empire led the entirety of the second half, the Soul made the comeback of the year as they scored 12 points in the last minute of the game.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – Top-seeded Duke City Gladiators opened the playoffs with a 50-39 win over the Wichita Force to claim their first postseason win in franchise history.  With 4:30 left in the game trailing 39-31, the Gladiators outscored the Force 19-0 including a fumble recovery in the end zone as time expired.  In other playoff games:   Texas Revolution 56, Amarillo Venom 45; Sioux City Bandits 54, Quad Cities Steamwheelers 46; Salina Liberty 81, Bismarck bucks 51.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion Arizona Rattlers (11-3) defeated the Nebraska Danger (4-10) in the final game of the regular season by a score of 59-23 at Eihusen Arena in Grand Island, Nebraska. The win earns the Rattlers home field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. The Rattlers took command of the game early, scoring 13-straight points, and never relented. Arizona’s offense, defense, and special teams all put points on the board in a 36-point win. The Rattlers offense consisted mostly of the run game, with RB Darrell Monroe leading the way with 88 yards and three touchdowns. QB Verlon Reed, who came in for QB Jeff Ziemba midway through the second quarter, also had a big night on the ground, rushing for 77 yards and four touchdowns.  Other scores from last weekend:  Sioux Falls Storm 69, Green Bay Blizzard 61 (3 ot); Iowa Barnstormers 54, Cedar Rapids Titans 21.  This weekend’s playoff matchups:  Nebraska Danger at Iowa Barnstormers;  Sioux Falls Storm at Arizona Rattlers.

Dallas

Dallas Rattlers take over sole possession of first place in the MLL

Major Lacrosse League (MLL) – The Dallas Rattlers defeated the Ohio Machine by a score of 17-16 on Sunday night to take sole possession of first place in Major League Lacrosse. The Rattlers started off the first quarter with a strong three-goal run that opened with Jordan Wolf recording his 150th MLL career goal. Another milestone came with the second goal as Ty Thompson netted his first goal of the evening to make it 18 straight appearances with at least one goal. Thompson’s streak dates back to May 6, 2017. The Rattlers defense held the Machine to a scoreless final period of play. With the 17-16 win, the Rattlers are now in sole possession of first place and are the only MLL team to be undefeated at home.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league is taking a break this week due to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup which is being held June 27-July 2 in Florence, Italy.  Australia is the defending World Cup Champions.  The MLQ will resume league play on July 7th.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – In the largest match of the inaugural Major League Rugby season, the Glendale Raptors stood tall. The first-place Raptors (7-0) put their undefeated record on the line against the second-place Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night at Infinity Park in a match that decided the top of the MLR standings two weeks ahead of the MLR Playoffs. With so much to play for right in front of them, the Raptors knocked off the Seawolves (6-2) 33-11. Glendale swept the season series and kept their record unblemished.

Last week’s scores:

  • NOLA Gold 46, Utah Warriors 43
  • Glendale Raptors 33, Seattle Seawolves 11
  • San Diego Legion 31, Austin Elite Rugby 17

This week’s schedule:

  • Houston SaberCats at Utah Warriors
  • Glendale Raptors at San Diego Legion

National Arena League (NAL) – The Maine Mammoths (2-7) took on the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (0-8) for the second time this season. This victory is the Mammoths’ first victory in front of their home crowd and second win overall in the 2018 season. Their first victory was against the Steelhawks in Week Three with a 45-24 score. Quarterback Jonathan Bane returned to the Mammoths after suffering a minor injury. During the course of the game, he was 15-of-22 for 218 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception on the night. His top receiver was Devin Wilson, totaling eight receptions for 142 yards and five touchdowns. Wide Receiver Robert Brown Jr. made five receptions for 63 yards. On the defensive side for Brown Jr., he recovered a fumble and returned it all the way inside the five yard line, setting the Maine offense up to score. On special teams, he returned the opening kickoff 44 yards. Edgar Poe Jr. made one catch for 20 yards. On the rushing game, Desmond Maxwell had two rushes for three yards and one touchdown. Jackson Dallas rushed one time for two yards and one touchdown. Kicker Henry Nell was 7-of-7 on PAT’s, 0-for-1 on FG’s, and successfully made two deuces.

Last week’s scores:

  • Massachusetts Pirates 62, Columbus Lions 55
  • Maine Mammoths 62, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 36

This week’s schedule:

  • Columbus Lions at Carolina Cobras
  • Maine Mammoths at Jacksonville Sharks
  • Lehigh Valley Steelhawks at Massachusetts Pirates

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – One big inning was all the USSSA Pride needed to end Cleveland’s three-game win streak. The Pride scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to defeat the visiting Comets, 4-0, in the first of a three-game series at Space Coast Stadium.  Jailyn Ford picked up the pitching victory for the Pride. She allowed just one hit and struck out four in five innings of work. Jolene Henderson struck out four of the seven batters she faced in the final two innings.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association for Week 11 and 12 of the 2018 NWSL season.Bledsoe, 26, recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the season leading the Spirit to back-to-back scoreless draws against Sky Blue FC on June 8 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ and Seattle Reign FC on June 16 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played against the Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks. This is the 13th player of the week honor of Delle Donne’s career. In Washington’s 95-91 win over the Sun, Delle Donne scored a season-high 36 points, shooting 13-for-22 from the field and grabbing six rebounds. Against the Los Angeles Sparks, she scored 18 points and had seven rebounds to go along with four steals. Delle Donne averaged 27 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the week.

Current Standings:

  • Eastern Conference
    • Connecticut Sun (7-4)
    • Washington Mystics (6-5)
    • Atlanta Dream (6-5)
    • New York Liberty (3-6)
    • Chicago Sky (3-7)
    • Indiana Fever (1-10)
  • Western Conference
    • Los Angeles Sparks (8-2)
    • Phoenix Mercury (10-3)
    • Seattle Storm (8-3)
    • Dallas Wings (5-4)
    • Minnesota Lynx (4-6)
    • Las Vegas Aces (3-9)

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure Sports Report (6/13/18)

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Third NLL Title for Saskatchewan Rush in Four Years

The Saskatchewan Rush won their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) title in Game 3 of the championship series against the Rochester Knighthawks.  Jeff Shattler scored four goals in the series-deciding game in the 15-10 win.  For the Rush, the win was particularly sweet redemption after having their two-year reign atop the NLL come to a gut-wrenching conclusion last year as they lost the final to the Georgia Swarm especially losing the deciding Game 2 at home in overtime. But the Rush were determined to get back to the top and they rumbled through the regular season with a 14-4 record which earned them home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs. They wound up needing it and using it to their full advantage with a raucous crowd of 13,645 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon watching the Rush hoist the newly minted NLL Cup.

The American Arena League (AAL) wrapped up their regular season but the playoff schedule is a little blurry.  The Georgia Doom defeated the Atlanta Havoc on Saturday, 48-42, to clinch a playoff berth but the Doom owners decided not to participate in the playoffs.   Don’t expect the league’s website to be much help either.  According to the standings, the top teams are:  Richmond Roughriders (10-1), Atlanta Havoc (9-2), Georgia Doom (6-2) and Carolina Energy (6-3).

Washington Valor defensive back Fred Obi has been named the Arena Football League (AFL) Week 9’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Soul. In his first game with the Valor, Obi recorded three solo tackles, one pass break-up and a pair of interceptions, the second of which occurred with just 18 seconds left in the game and sealed the Washington win.

The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league begins their playoffs this weekend with eight teams entering the postseason.

  • Duke City Gladiators vs. Wichita Force
  • Amarillo Venom vs. Texas Revolution
  • Salina Liberty vs. Bismarck Bucks
  • Sioux City Bandits vs. Quad Cities Steamwheelers

Champions Bowl IV will be played the weekend of June 30th, with the location of the game to be determined during the playoffs.

The Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Iowa Barnstormers in a week 16 Indoor Football League (IFL) showdown.   The Storm would begin the third quarter with a 25-yard field goal by Miles Bergner, cutting the Barnstormers lead to 35-31. The Barnstormers would extend their lead to 49-31 after scoring on back to back drives. The first score was a 21-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Skyler Scott and then a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Brady Roland. The Storm would end the third quarter with a team safety, trailing 49-33.  The Sioux Falls Storm would be the only team to score in the fourth quarter to earn their tenth win of the season with a 51-49 victory. The first score was a one-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown along with a successful two-point conversion where Lorenzo Brown found Damond Powell, next Lorenzo Brown would get a two-yard rushing touchdown with a successful two-point conversion after Lorenzo Brown hit Damian Ford and then the Thunder Defense would block the game winning field and earn a safety from it.

The Columbus Lions defeated the Maine Mammoths 55-34 on Saturday night in the National Arena League (NAL). The Lions held off a late charge from the Mammoths to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. This loss drops the Mammoths to 1-7 on the year.  Quayvon Hicks led the offense on Saturday. Hicks rushed for three touchdowns, with his final touchdown sealing the game for the Lions. Quarterback Mason Espinosa had another efficient day throwing for over 250 yards and five touchdowns. Triston Purifoy had a monster game for the Lions. Purify hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Durron Neal contributed with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns. The Lions offense totaled 281 yards on the day and averaged 5.9 yards per play.

In the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), the DC Breeze had a thrilling 25-24 overtime win over the Toronto Rush to hand the Rush their first loss of the season.  Toronto had the disc with 38 seconds remaining in overtime with a chance to send the contest to the sudden death 2nd OT; however, the DC defense held on and frustrated Toronto’s offensive push.

The revival of the XFL, which plans to start in 2020 with eight teams is considering St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The BIG3 Basketball League is coming back again this summer and the 3-on-3 league starts on June 22nd with live streaming the league’s game for a nine-week period with one game being shown each Friday.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) has begun its fourth season with 16 teams.  The Austin Outlaws are the defending champions.

 

 

Obscure Sports News (6/4/18)

 

wpll

Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Begins Play With 5 Teams

Alliance of American Football (AAF): The proposed new springtime AAF officially announced San Diego and Birmingham will be its sixth and seventh team locations. The AAF plans to start play with eight teams in February 2019 and previously announced teams for the markets of Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

American Arena League (AAL): The Richmond Roughriders defeated the Jersey Flight 74-65 on Saturday night at the Richmond Coliseum, advancing their record to 9-1.  By defeating Jersey, Richmond ensured itself the Northern Division title in the AAL with one game remaining in the season, a home game next Saturday against the High Country Grizzlies. The game marked the indoor football debut for new receiver Robert Meachem, who was a Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Meachem was eased into the action, though, with Rashaad Carter continuing to take the bulk of the catches for the Roughriders.

Arena Football League (AFL):  The Albany Empire (5-2) won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in a back and forth battle against the Baltimore Brigade (5-2) at the Times Union Center by a score of 61-53 in front of a crowd of 8,057. The game was even throughout, but thanks to a late defensive touchdown by the Empire, Albany took the lead and momentum and never looked back. Albany maintained its third quarter dominance by allowing just 7 points. So far on the season, the Empire has outscored opponents by 61 total points in the third quarter.

Current League Standings:

  1. Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
  2. Albany Empire (5-2)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
  4. Washington Valor (0-7)

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL):  The Minnesota Wind Chill secured a 22-18 victory over the Indianapolis Alleycats at home on Saturday. The Alleycats, now 7-2 had their six-game win streak snapped by the Wind Chill. The first place Alleycats fell to second place in the division while the Wind Chill remain in third.

Division Leaders:

  • South:  Dallas Roughnecks (7-1)
  • West:  Los Angeles Aviators (7-2)
  • East:  Toronto Rush (8-0)
  • Midwest:  Madison Radicals (6-1)

Champions Indoor Football (CIF):  Mario Esparza kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime as Bismarck Bucks erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Omaha Beef 41-38 and eliminate the Beef from playoff contention. The Beef (4-8) led 38-13 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by John Gibbs.  But Tray Boone answered with a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Bucks (5-6) slowly chipped away at the lead. Esparza kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired in regulation.

Indoor Football League (IFL):  The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) beat the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) 41-38 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, sweeping the 3-1 series. At the start of the third quarter Drew Powell marched the ball in for an Iowa touchdown, 34-28. Iowa’s wide receiver Skyler Scott ran the ball 7-yards for the touchdown, 41-31. Jeff Ziemba completed a pass to Jamal Miles for the Arizona touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead and the Barnstormers won 41-38. With the win, the Iowa Barnstormers have swept their three game regular season series against the Arizona Rattlers, being the only team in the IFL to give Arizona a loss so far this season.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL):   The Denver Outlaws handed the Charlotte Hounds their first home loss of the season, and completed a season sweep against them, in a 16-13 win on Saturday night.  Denver scored five of the first six goals of the game and Wes Berg had two goals in a 30-second span in the first quarter. Ryan Brown scored with just under six minutes left in regulation to cut Charlotte’s deficit to 14-13. The Outlaws would answer with goals from Eric Law and Chris Cloutier to close out the game.  The Hounds started the season 4-0, but have now lost two of their last three, with both losses coming at the hands of the Outlaws.

Major League Rugby (MLR):  The Glendale Raptors remained as the only undefeated team in the league with a 47-10 win over NOLA Gold in a steamy game played in New Orleans.  Temps were over 90 degrees but the Raptors jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never were threatened.  With seven tries on the day, Glendale trails Seattle by just one point in the league standings while remaining the only unbeaten side in MLR. The Raptors have two remaining home games, hosting the Houston Sabercats on June 8 after a quick turnaround from this weekend’s play, then the Seattle Seawolves on June 16. Glendale’s final regular season match is on the road, the team traveling to California to tackle San Diego Legion. Glendale will play host to the league semifinals on June 30, with matches at Infinity Park deciding which of America’s professional rugby teams will compete for their first championship title. The top four teams in the league will gather in Glendale, competing in a double header that kicks off at 5pm Mountain Time. Winners of each match will then travel to San Diego on July 7 for the first ever, American professional rugby championship.

National Arena League (NAL): The Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) took down the Columbus Lions (4-2) in a back and forth second-half battle with a score of 67-65. This is the second time Jacksonville has faced the Lions this season. Sharks Quarterback Adrian McPherson had his best game as a Shark tonight, and is rapidly improving. His 26-of-37 for 327 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception performance helped the Sharks take the lead multiple times this game. Leading receiver, Antonio Vaughan had a 100-yard performance with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson used his targets wisely, as Chris Gilchrist finished the night with 90 yards and three touchdowns, Cody Saul had 55 receiving yards with one touchdown, and Tom Gilson had a game that helped the team out tremendously by having four receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

The league has also registered the “Nashville Kats” as the potential name of a future team to be announced. A Nashville-based team was reported to be close to playing in the 2018 season of the NAL but decided to wait another season. The original Arena Football League had two versions (1997-2001 and 2005-07) of teams called the Nashville Kats. More recently, a team called the Nashville Venom played two seasons (2014-15) in the former Professional Indoor Football League.

National Lacrosse League (NLL):   Goalie Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks forced a third and deciding game in the NLL Cup Final. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night.  Game 3 will go down on June 9th back at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon where the Rush earned a 16-9 win in the series opener.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):Shellie Robinson and Alexa Peterson both hit home runs but it wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Comets to avoid a sweep at Chicago as the Bandits collected six extra base hits on the way to a 12-5 win on Sunday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits used a pair of walks and two singles to score two runs off Cleveland rookie Devin Brown in the top of the first. Jiang Xinyue drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and scored on Robinson’s opposite field homer, the first four-bag hit in Cleveland Comets history.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):  The North Carolina Courage fought to draw the Houston Dash in their fourth consecutive road game. After finding themselves trailing by one early in the second half, the Courage turned to a new face to provide the late-game heroics as rookie Frannie Crouse netted the equalizer to earn the point.

Current League Standings:

  1. North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
  2. Seattle Reign FC (18)
  3. Orlando Pride (16)
  4. Portland Thorns FC (15)
  5. Chicago Red Stars (15)
  6. Utah Royals FC (14)
  7. Houston Dash (14)
  8. Washington Spirit (8)
  9. Sky Blue FC (1)

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA):  The Las Vegas Aces got a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double from rookie of the year candidate A’ja Wilson, and season-scoring-highs off the bench from Dearica Hamby (14 points) and Kelsey Bone (10) en route to an 85-73 victory over the Washington Mystics (5-2). It was the Aces’ (1-4) first win since relocating from San Antonio last fall.

Current League Standings:

Eastern Conference

  1. Connecticut Sun (5-0)
  2. Washington Mystics (5-3)
  3. Chicago Sky (3-3)
  4. New York Liberty (2-2)
  5. Atlanta Dream (2-3)
  6. Indiana Fever (0-6)

Western Conference

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
  2. Seattle Storm (5-2)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
  4. Dallas Wings (3-3)
  5. Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
  6. Las Vegas Aces (1-5)

Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL): The new WPLL started its inaugural 2018 season this weekend with five teams called Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride (Albany, NY). The league will play a total of nine regular-season games with playoffs starting in mid-July. The former commissioner of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), which started play in 2016, is the organizer of the WPLL.