Obscure Sports News (5/16/18)

rochester
Rochester Knighthawks edge Georgia Swarm 9-8 to advance to National Lacrosse League final

 

Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring.  Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah.  The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.

American Arena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings.  Montreal drops to 2-3.  In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South.  Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels.  The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams.  The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78.  After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.

Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final.  Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019.  The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th.  The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.

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Obscure Sports News (5/9/18)

nightwatch
Nightwatch win first game since 2016

 

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)

They finally did it.  The Nashville Nightwatch of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) shocked the Austin Sol 22-20 on Sunday to win their first game since 2016.  The Sol rallied from a 13-11 halftime deficit to lead 16-15 through three quarters, but the NightWatch were better down the stretch. Nashville opened the final quarter on a 4-1 run and never trailed again in their 22-20 triumph.  The last win for the Nightwatch was a 30-26 win against Jacksonville on July 9, 2016.  I was at the game and it was the highest offensive output for the team in its history and looked promising for 2017.  The Nightwatch went winless the next season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)

Albany Empire’s quarterback Tommy Grady and defensive back Marrio Norman have been named as the offensive and defensive players of the week for Week 4, respectively.  Grady (6’7, 245, Utah) led the Empire to their first win in team history on 20-of-29 passes for 221 yards and 5 touchdowns. The former Ute currently is second in the League in pass completion percentage (67.0%) and third in passing yards (733) and passing touchdowns (16).  Norman (6’1, 205, Coastal Carolina) had a dominant defensive game in the Empire’s 47-23 win over the Washington Valor. The six-year veteran recorded 10.0 total tackles, two interceptions for 32 yards, while returning one of those interceptions for a 12-yard touchdown. Norman ranks second in total tackles with 20.5.

Last week’s scores:

  • Albany Empire 47, Washington Valor 23
  • Baltimore Brigade 31, Philadelphia Soul 21

ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)

The proposed new springtime AAF has announced Memphis as its third franchise when the league starts play in February 2019. The Atlanta and Orlando markets were previously announced as franchise locations. The AAF is reported to be in discussions with Arizona State University (Tempe) for use of its Sun Devil Stadium as home to a possible Phoenix area AAF franchise.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL)

John Banks caught three touchdown passes, and George Jenkins graduate Reggie Ellis contributed his second spectacular touchdown catch in as many weeks as the Florida Tarpons tamed the Austin Wild, 50-30, for their first win of the 2018 season Sunday afternoon at the RP Funding Center.

Other scores:

  • Richmond Roughriders 82, Peach State Cats 22
  • Atlanta Havoc 74, High Country Grizzlies 32
  • Carolina Energy 98, Savannah Coastal Outlaws 13
  • Jersey flight 70, Upstate Dragons 6

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)

Shannon Winesberry’s victory-sealing, 33-yard interception return in overtime Saturday night proved to be the difference as the Quad-City Steamwheelers won at Bismarck 45-32. Bismarck got half of their four touchdowns in the final 56 seconds, taking advantage of two Quad-City field-goal misses to rally from a 32-17 deficit to force overtime.  The Steamwheelers scored on the first possession of the extra session, with a 22-yard reception from Davenport’s Keyvan Rudd setting up a short Tyler Williams TD run.  The game ended on the next step, thanks to Winesberry and a defense that forced four turnovers and kept Bismarck from scoring on eight of 13 possessions.

Current Standings:

  • North Division
    • Sioux City Bandits (5-3)
    • Salina Liberty (6-2)
    • Quad Cities Steamwheelers (4-3)
    • Bismarck Bucks (4-4)
    • Omaha Beef (3-5)
    • Kansas City Phantoms (2-6)
  • South Division
    • Duke City Gladiators (7-1)
    • Amarillo Venom (6-1)
    • Texas Revolution (2-5)
    • Wichita Force (3-5)
    • Dallas Marshals (1-8)

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)

The six-time world champion and first place Arizona Rattlers (8-1) defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-8) by a score of 57-42 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Rattlers have now won their seventh straight game.The two teams would trade punches early, but a dominant third quarter by the Rattlers would prove to be too much for the Titans.  Offensively for Arizona, Quarterback Jeff Ziemba completed 12 of his 20 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Ziemba also had a rushing touchdown. RB Darrell Monroe rushed the ball 20 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns.

Other scores:

  • Iowa Barnstormers 49, Sioux Falls Storm 42
  • Green Bay Blizzard 47, Nebraska Danger 25

MAJOR LACROSS LEAGUE (MLL)

The Florida Launch dominated the Denver Outlaws 16-7 at FAU Stadium on May 6 to improve their record to 3-1.  With the return of Kieran McArdle, the Launch led an assertive offensive attack against that Outlaws. Dylan Molloy, Mike Tagliaferri, and McArdle led the team in goals, with each player putting up a hat trick. Tagliaferri posted his first MLL goal as well as his first MLL hat trick.  On defense, Alec Tulett led the team, causing four turnovers and collecting four ground balls. In the cage, Austin Kaut stopped 21 of the 28 shots he faced for an impressive .750 save-percentage.

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)

In a match that featured a little bit of everything, the Legion (2-1) knocked off the SaberCats (1-2) 35-32 on the back of outside centre Anthony Salaber’s three-try performance.   Both teams came out of the gate playing extremely fast, and it paid off for the SaberCats rather quickly. They struck first when scrum half Connor Murphy kicked to some space behind San Diego’s back line. A favorable bounce ended up in the hands of wing Alex Elkins who produced the ball to outside centre Osea Kolinisau. Kolinisau used his one move to ground the ball on the goal line and was awarded the first try of the match. Fly-half Sam Windsor nailed the conversion and the SaberCats were out to an early 7-0 lead.

The SaberCats, with only four minutes to play, had their chances to put the match away. Murphy attempted to pin San Diego deep with a box kick, but he didn’t get all of the ball and Audsley scooped it up off the ground to give San Diego a chance to win it with a try.

Houston forced San Diego’s attack into touch and had one more chance to finish the game with a successful lineout. The ensuing lineout was not thrown straight, and the Legion would have an opportunity at a lineout of their own. The phase play that stemmed from that lineout was extended when an errant pass that went out of bounds in stoppage time was brought back to the spot of a penalty, and Tony Purpura finally put a stamp on the game with a try on the goal line.

Audsley kicked the conversion and the Legion escaped with a 35-32 win.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)

The Massachusetts Pirates trailed the Columbus Lions by 15 points early in the third quarter of their National Arena League marquee matchup Sunday when quarterback Sean Brackett threw his second interception.  The defense took the field and proceeded to make the first of three straight stops, all of which the offense turned into touchdowns as the Pirates outscored the Lions, 29-7, over the final 25 minutes to post a 44-37, last-second victory.

nal
Massachusetts Pirates celebrate big win over Columbus Lions

Other scores:

  • Jacksonville Sharks 48, Maine Mammoths 31
  • Carolina Cobras 65, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 3

NATIONAL LACROSS LEAGUE (NLL)

The Calgary Roughnecks extend their post-season winning streak against their Colorado to 8-0 with a 15-12 win. With the win, the Roughnecks will advance to face the Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division on Sunday, May 13, at 5:00 p.m.  The Mammoths controlled the first half, going on a six goal run en route to a 7-3 advantage heading into the break. Although Colorado outshot the Roughnecks 50-46, Calgary dominated the second half outscoring the home team 12-5 including two empty net goals to conclude the night.

In the East, the Rochester Knighthawks eliminated the New England Black Wolves 15-11 to advance to the East final against the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.

SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL)

The Huntsville Havoc won the SPHL title by defeating the Peoria Rivermen 4-2 to win the series 2 games to 1.  Huntsville knocked off the Mississippi Riverkings 1-4, 4-3 (ot) and 5-2 in the first round and then dethroned the defending champions, Macon Mayhem, 4-6, 8-2, 3-2 (ot) in the semifinals.

Obscure Sports Report (4/23/18)

 

PCL champ
Armenia Eagles Celebrate PRO Chess League Championship

PRO Chess League:  After two draws that kept extending a playoff, Zaven Adriasyan won in game three of his sudden-death blitz match with Wang Yue to give the Armenia Eagles the championship in the PRO Chess League.   The Eagles finished the regular season winning the Eastern Division with a record of 6.5-2.5.  They were the only #1 seed to advance to California, meaning they were both the Eastern Division champions in the regular season, and won the divisional bracket in the postseason. The opening round of the playoffs saw them cruise over the Estonia Horses 10.5-5.5, while in the quarterfinals they used their top-seeded draw odds to get by the Mumbai Movers after an 8-8 score.

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL):  The Raleigh Flyers (3-1) continued img_2254their dominance over the Nashville Nightwatch (0-2) as they took advantage of crucial turnovers by the Nightwatch in the third quarter to get some separation for a 31-26 win in Nashville.  Jacob Fairfax went up for an incredible goal in between Nashville defenders as time expired before halftime to give the Flyers some momentum.  This was Raleigh’s 10th straight win over Nashville.  In the earlier women’s game, the Raleigh Radiance won in sudden death overtime over the Nashville Nightshade 15-14.

PBA BOWLING LEAGUE:  The Silver Lake Atom Splitters dominated their semifinal and final matches Sunday to win the Professional Bowlers Association’s Elias Cup for the third time in five years at Bayside Bowl in Portland.  The team of Jesper Svensson, Dick Allen, A.J. Johnson, Tom Daugherty and Chris Barnes won all eight games during the two-day tournament, capped by four straight victories in the finals against the Philadelphia Hitmen.

SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL):  Splitting the first two games in the SPHL semifinals, the Huntsville Havoc and Macon Mayhem needed overtime in game three to determine which team’s season would come to an end and which would move on to the championship series.  Both clubs were evenly matched, but the Havoc scored late in the third to send it to the extra frame and Peter Sikalis notched his first goal of the playoffs in overtime to send Huntsville on the SPHL finals.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL):  The Philadelphia Soul (2-0) unveiled their ArenaBowl championship banner in their home opener and defeated the Baltimore Brigade (1-1) in their home opener 54-49.  With only seconds left in the game, Dan Raudabaugh found Darius Reynolds in the end zone for the win.

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE (AHL):  Matthew Highmore, Chris DiDomenico and Lance Bouma contributed three unanswered tallies to break a 2-2 deadlock in the second period and guide the Rockford IceHogs to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves in front of a crowd of 5,418 at the BMO Harris Bank Center Sunday night. With their win, the IceHogs now hold a 2-0 lead in their first-round Calder Cup playoff series against the Wolves, and are just one win shy of advancing to the second round.  In other series, Lehigh Valley 1, Providence 1; Charlotte 2, Wilkes Barre/Scranton 0; Toronto 2, Utica 0; Syracuse 2, Rochester 0; Grand Rapids 1, Manitoba 1; Tucson 1, San Jose 1; Texas 2, Ontario 1.

ECHL:  The Ft. Wayne Komets defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-2 at Cincinnati Sunday in game 5 of the Central division semifinals and eliminated Cincinnati 4 games to 1 in the best-of-seven first-round series to advance to round 2 against the Toledo Walleye.  The Komets rallied from a 2-1 deficit with three unanswered goals late in the third period from Jason Binkley, Phelix Martineau and Cold Sol in a span of 6:11 to take the win and advance to the second round series for the fifth straight season. Fort Wayne Goaltender Michael Houser earned the win making 16 saves on 18 shots.

FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (FHL): The battle for the Commissioners Cup got interesting on Saturday night as the Watertown Wolves pulled of a 3-2 win in Port Huron to even the best-of-five series at 1-1. Anton Lennartsson scored at 12:40 of the third period on a Wolves power play to break a 2-2 tie. The goal stood up as the game winner, disappointing 1,279 Prowlers fans in attendance at McMorran Place Arena.

NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE (NAHL):  For the sixth time in eight seasons, the Austin Bruins will appear in the Central Division Finals. After defeating the Minnesota Wilderness 5-3 on Saturday night at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, they took the Semifinal series, three games to one and will play either the Aberdeen Wings or Minot Minotauros next weekend for the right to represent the Central Division at the Robertson Cup Tournament.

UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE (USHL):  The Clark Cup is down to the final four teams as they square off in the conference semifinals.  In the Eastern Conference Semifinals:  Team USA and Chicago Steel are tied at 1-1.  Youngstown leads Dubuque 2-0.  In the West:  Waterloo and Lincoln are tied 1-1.  Omaha and Fargo are tied 1-1.

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE (WHL):  A night after a close Game One victory, the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes got right back at it for Game Two and it was a close contest. Former Lethbridge Hurricane and now Swift Current Bronco forward Giorgio Estephan had a night to remember as he potted his second career WHL postseason hat trick in the most dramatic of ways, 4-3 in overtime.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL):  Jacques Alston scored touchdowns the first four times he touched the ball to stake the Heroes to a four-touchdown lead and set the tone for an 89-20 American Arena League rout of the Upstate Dragons at the Crown Coliseum.  Darting and spinning his way through the Upstate defense, Alston had touchdown runs of 13, 28 and 16 yards in the opening quarter along with a 35-yard scoring reception. He added a fifth touchdown run from five yards out in the fourth quarter to cap a six carry, 68-yard rushing effort.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL):  The Carolina Cobras (2-1) opened their second home game of the season with a victory over the Massachusetts Pirates (2-1) 55-47. This win leaves the NAL with one undefeated team, which is the Columbus Lions (2-0).

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL):  The Sioux Falls Storm faced the Cedar Rapids Titans on Saturday, April 21 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center during a week nine contest. The Storm came out on top 65-48 against rival Titans.

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF):  The Omaha Beef got back to their winning ways with an important win against the Kansas City Phantoms 47-41. Anthony Iannotti led the offense with six total touchdowns (3-running and 3-passing) and Chris Perry added two interceptions returning one for a touchdown for the defense.

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL):  The Calgary Roughnecks swept the series with the Vancouver Stealth (4-0) with a 26-11 victory over the Stealth and tied a franchise record for most goals for in a single game.

COASTAL PLAIN LEAGUE (CPL):  The Lexington County (SC) Blowfish of the summer-collegiate CPL will be renamed the Lexington County Pancakes when the team plays the league’s newest team called the Macon (GA) Bacon during the 2018 season.

 

 

The State of Indoor Football

The indoor version of football is at a crucial point of its existence in my opinion. Whether it is called arena or indoor football, it has been with us since 1987 when the Arena Football League (AFL) gave us a Reader’s Digest version of professional football. Since then, dozens of leagues have come and gone. In the early years, other leagues were not allowed to copy the AFL’s version of the game because they had a copyright enforced which prohibited other indoor leagues for having the rebound nets and even using the term “arena football”. That copyright expired several years ago and other leagues sprouted up. Today, there are seven leagues in existence. They are:

• Arena Football League (1987)

• Indoor Football League (2008)

• Legends Football League (2009)

• Champions Indoor Football League (2015)

• China Arena Football League (2016)

• American Arena League (2018)

• National Arena League (2017)

Aside from the Legends Football League listed above, the other leagues are legitimate indoor football leagues. The LFL is a sad gimmick to exploit women players in my opinion.

The Arena Football League was once considered the major league of indoor football but the league is barely staying afloat as they began this season with four teams all located in the Northeast. The league once had 19 teams in 2007 as well as a minor league system known as AF2 which played from 2000-2009. The AFL is at a critical stage of their existence. The league recently named Randall Boe as their new commissioner last month and former Philadelphia Eagles’ Quarterback Ron Jaworski as Chairman of their Executive Committee. They have promised to being committed to the sport. There have been rumors that the league will expand over the next few seasons and possibly reclaim some of their best markets.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) looked like they were going to step in and take over as the sports’ top league when Arizona Rattlers, one of the AFL’s top franchises defected to the IFL in 2016. The IFL has failed to take advantage of the AFL’s instability with their own issues. On July 25, 2017, the IFL announced that only the Arizona Rattlers, Cedar Rapids Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, and Nebraska Danger had committed to play for 2018. On August 30, the Sioux Falls Storm announced that they had joined the Champions Indoor Football League after winning six consecutive IFL championships from 2011 to 2016. The Storm was shortly followed by the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.

The IFL then attempted to lure the Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen from the CIF. The CIF attempted to sue the IFL, Edge, and Ironmen for leaving the CIF after the two teams had already signed league affiliation agreements with the CIF for 2018. The IFL then threatened to sue the CIF. The CIF then retracted their lawsuit with the IFL but also removed the Storm and Nighthawks from their 2018 schedule. After the IFL meetings in October 2017, the Storm returned to the IFL but the Nighthawks had to suspend operations. While the CIF dropped their lawsuit against the IFL, it filed for an injunction against the Edge and Ironmen teams from participating in the IFL for breaking the terms of their signed affiliation agreements. A temporary injunction from participation in the league was granted on January 31, 2018, with the court ruling determining that both teams had been offered bribes from the owner of the Arizona Rattlers to break their contract with the CIF.

The AFL also had the Jacksonville Sharks to defect to the National Arena League (NAL) in 2017.

Top Ten Indoor Football Teams:

1. Philadelphia Soul (AFL)

2. Arizona Rattlers (IFL)

3. Washington Valor (AFL)

4. Iowa Barnstormers (IFL)

5. Jacksonville Sharks (NAL)

6. Sioux Falls Storm (IFL)

7. Omaha Beef (CIF)

8. Baltimore Brigade (AFL)

9. Columbus (Georgia) Lions (NAL)

10. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (NAL)

In the past two seasons, indoor football has lost some longtime franchises such as the Orlando Predators, Cleveland Gladiators, Spokane Shock and Tampa Bay Storm. The Tampa Bay Storm had a history of success on the field but often struggled for attention in the Tampa Bay Area. When I lived there from 2012-2014, I barely heard a word about the Storm and was very difficult to find any game stories in the local media.

With the AFL slowly sinking into the graveyard of defunct sports leagues, the sport of indoor football needs to get a grip of the situation now in order to save the sport. I think the sport can be saved.

Here are four ideas that I believe could save Indoor Football:

    1. Have a real partnership with the National Football League (NFL). In the past the NFL has had agreements with the AFL but nothing of substantial significance. It would solidify a strong foundation if the NFL subsidized the indoor sport and use it as a development league for referees, coaches and players.
    2. Unity of all the Indoor leagues. If you really want to strengthen the sport, I think the key is to play together. All the teams should be in the same league and then classified by market size. This “Super League” could be divided by classifications such as AAA, AA and A. This would also help lower travel costs and better create regional rivalries.
    3. Revise the rules. The current game puts a lot of emphasis on the passing game and is more of a quarterback league. The game should make the running game more of a part of the game. One way to do this would be to have one back in the backfield to start the play and one receiver in the formation with four linemen. Another idea would to make the field slightly bigger for arenas that would allow the space.
    4. Develop the game at the local level. This is something that has been a huge oversight for indoor football teams. Each indoor team should establish a local indoor league for high school and amateur players so they can get introduced to the game and possibly move up to the pro team. It would serve as a feeder system for the pro team to develop new talent.

Indoor football is a good, off-season alternative to fall football. It is worth saving and preserving. A few major changes are vital to keeping and growing the sport. The leagues have turned into nothing more than semi-pro football leagues with teams that come and go overnight. Stability is important and the sport needs to find it now.

Obscure Sports Report (3/6/18)

blast
Baltimore Blast will attempt to three-peat in the Major Arena Soccer League

 

It’s playoff time in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) as eight teams qualified for this year’s Ron Newman Cup.  The Baltimore Blast (17-5) will attempt to go for the three-peat and will begin with their divisional series against the Sycracuse Silver Knights (13-9).   In the other divisional series, the Milwakuee Wave (17-5) takes on the Cedar Rapids Rampage (11-11) for the Central Division title.  In the Southwest Division it will be a Mexican showdown between Monterrey Flash (20-2) and Sonora Soles (15-7).  The San Diego Sockers (19-3) and Tacoma Stars (11-11) will play for the Pacific Division crown.

The playoffs for the Isobel Cup are set in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) at the Buffalo Beauts (11-4) will host the Boston Pride (4-7-4) in one of the semifinal games on March 17th.  The top-seeded Metropolitan Riveters (12-3) will play the Connecticut Whale (3-10-2) in the other semifinal on March 18th.   The Cup final will be played the following weekend.

The Saskatchewan Rush (10-2) have clinched a playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  A crowd of 14,057 watched as the Rush shutdown the Vancouver Stealth 16-10.  The Stealth jumped out to a 3-1 lead early but the Rush stormed back with a 9-1 run led by three goals from Robert Church and three assists form Mark Matthews.  Here are the current standings in the NLL:  Eastern Division – New England (5-4), Buffalo (6-5), Toronto (5-5), Georgia (5-6), Rochester (5-6).  Western Division – Saskatchewan (10-2), Colorado (7-3), Calgary (4-6), Vancouver (1-11).

The final four teams in the PRO Chess League will be played in San Francisco.  The world’s best chess players will travel to San Francisco to compete in a live championship organized by Chess.com and Twitch, the companies announced today. This epic event will be the culmination of Chess.com’s Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, a groundbreaking, season-long competition with the world’s top chess players representing international regions. The two-day event kicks off at 10 a.m. on April 7 at the Folsom Street Foundry and will also be live-broadcast exclusively on Chess.com’s Twitch channel (twitch.tv/chess).

Salina Liberty kicker Michael Pursley booted a 19-yard field goal with 1:27 left in the game gave the Liberty the lead and the defense held the Wichita Force on downs for a 17-15 win in the season opener of the Champions Indoor Football League.   In other games, Dallas edged the Texas Revolution 38-37 in overtime, the Omaha Beef routed the Texas Power 71-6.

Iowa Barnstormers’ QB Drew Powell was named the offensive player of the week in the Indoor Football League (IFL).  The Iowa Barnstormers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to put away the Green Bay Blizzard 41-20 during opening weekend of the 2018 season. Picking up where he left off at the end of the 2017 season, QB Drew Powell (6’3,220, Livingstone College) again showed why he is one of the most exciting players in the IFL. Against one of the top pass defenses from last season, Powell completed 20 of 26 passes for a league-high 208 yards and four touchdowns. After posting 13 rushing touchdowns in the last four games of 2017, Powell continued to show that he is a threat on the ground as he added 48 rushing yards as well. The Iowa Barnstormers enjoy a Week 2 bye before hosting the Arizona Rattlers on March 10.

Here are the top teams in each league according to Developmental Football USA:

  • National Developmental Football League:  Georgia Wolves
  • Coastal Football Alliance:  North Carolina Rebels
  • Premier Amateur Football Alliance:  Joplin Crusaders
  • Xtreme South Football League:  Panhandle Crusaders
  • Arizona Gridiron Football League:  Phoenix Phantoms
  • New Mexico Independent Football League:  New Mexico Titans
  • Gulf States Football League:  Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes
  • Independent American Football League:  Dalton Danger
  • Universal Football League:  Tri-County Steelers
  • Texas Football League:  Texas Xtreme
  • Amateur to Professional Developmental League:  Mississippi Dynasty
  • Tennessee Football Alliance:  Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
  • United Football Federation of America:  Orlando Phantoms

Rattlers Strike For Indoor Football League Title

unitedbowl2017_rattlers_003

In their 25th Anniversary season, the Arizona Rattlers rewarded their fans with their first title in the Indoor Football League (IFL).

The Rattlers moved from the Arena Football League (AFL) where they had lived for the previous 24 seasons to the IFL.  The Rattlers defeated the Sioux Falls Storm 50-41 to win the United Bowl championship and denied the Storm of a seventh straight title.

Arizona looked like they would runaway with a total domination of the title game as they put up a 34-7 lead at halftime but held on and an interception in the final minute preserved the win.

The Rattlers defense did not allow a first half touchdown with the only score by the Storm coming on special teams.  Justin Shirk (#30) had 1.5 sacks, a tipped ball, and was in Storm QB Lorenzo Brown’s face all night.  His efforts earned him the United Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP). Defensive back Arkeith Brown also had a big night, breaking up two passes and grabbing the game winning interception, returning it 46 yards.

The Storm climbed back into the game in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points. WR Judd Harold pulled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brown.  Shortly after Robbie Rouse ran seven yards for another score.  The final score came from DL Brandon Peguese who picked off Sokol and returned it two yards for the touchdown.

The Rattlers finally got back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a seven-yard run by Monroe.  Arizona was also able to follow that up with a 23-yard field goal by Sawyer Petre.  Sioux Falls responded with a five-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Harold, pulling the Storm to within ten.  The Rattlers then extended their lead, again off the foot of Petre, this time a 23-yarder.  The Storm would again close the gap on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Mike Tatum. Petre came up big again for the Rattlers with 47-seconds left, kicking a 28-yard field goal to put the team up by nine.  The Storm drove down the field one last time, but was picked off by DB Arkeith Brown, who returned it 46-yards.

The Rattlers started the season at 4-4 but went on a 10-game winning streak on their way to the title.    It was the first championship for the Rattlers since winning the ArenaBowl in 2015.

The question now is will the Rattlers stay in the IFL or will they return to the AFL if there is stability in the league?  There has been no word of it to this point.  As indoor leagues continue to evolve, it would seem that the IFL is a more stable organization at this time.

 

 

Indoor Football Report

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The Philadelphia Soul (10-0) remained undefeated with a win over the Cleveland Gladiators (3-8), 59-28 in front of 10,580 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.   Soul WR Shaun Kauleinamoku led the receivers with six receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns.  WR Darius Reynolds added six receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown and WR Ryan McDaniel tallied six receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  Cleveland WR Michael Preston led the receivers with seven receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

Current Standings:

  1. Philadelphia Soul (10-0)
  2. Tampa Bay Storm (7-2)
  3. Baltimore Brigade (3-6)
  4. Cleveland Gladiators (3-8)
  5. Washington Valor (1-8)

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The Sioux Falls Storm (15-2) soared past the Iowa Barnstormers (13-4) 66-32 on Saturday, June 24th in front of 6,225 fans to bring home their eighth consecutive United Conference Championship.   The Arizona Rattlers (13-4) clinched a trip to the United Bowl in their inaugural Indoor Football League season, powering past the Nebraska Danger (9-8) by a score of 62-36 and became the 2017 Intense Conference Champions in front of 15,038 fans at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix.  Sioux Falls will host Arizona in the United Bowl on July 8th.

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The Jacksonville Sharks defeated the Monterrey Steel 43-32 in the National Arena League Playoffs for the right to go to the National Arena League Championship on Monday, July 10 against the Columbus Lions. The Shark Tank was filled with 9,483 fans dressed in red as they cheered the Sharks to victory.  Columbus edged the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 52-50 in their playoff game.  The Lions were down 21-9 at the half but used a 23 point 4th quarter to seal the win. Durron Neal led all Lions receivers with three touchdowns while Mike Reeve and Tristan Purifoy added two each in the win.  Jacksonville will host Columbus on July 10th for the NAL Championship.

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The Texas Revolution defeated the Omaha Beef 59-49 on Friday night to win the Champions Bowl III.  The Revolution never trailed in the game as Chris Dixon scored two early first-half touchdowns to help the Revolution build a 39-21 lead at halftime.

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Chris Dixon leads Texas Revolution to CIF Title

 

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Tymere Zimmerman, Jay Jackson and DeLeon Raynor, all of whom were part of a 2012 squad that went unbeaten and won the American Indoor Football crown, turned in clutch performances as the Heroes rallied to defeat the Triangle Torch, 30-24, for the Supreme Indoor Football championship.  Zimmerman helped Cape Fear wipe out an early 12-0 deficit with touchdown receptions of 8 and 4 yards, then Raynor delivered three fourth-quarter interceptions to give the Heroes momentum. Jackson followed the first of Raynor’s picks by hauling in an over-the-shoulder throw by quarterback Ryan Bach for a 27-yard score with 5:02 to play that proved to be the winning points.