European Football League Final: Potsdam Royals 43, Milano Seamen 42
Germany’s Potsdam Royals overcame a fourth quarter, two touchdown deficit and added the winning two point conversion with 22 seconds left to defeat the Milano Seamen 43-42 in Milano, Italy and win the European Football League, EFL, title.
Royals quarterback Austin Gahafer completed 31 of 48 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns while running back Tyvis Smith scored three touchdowns. Wide receiver Frederik Myrup Nielsen caught 11 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown while Max Zimmerman had eight receptions for 121 yards and a score. The other touchdown was scored by David Soul.
In the fourth quarter, after a 78 yard drive which included a fourth down conversion in their own zone, the Royals scored with Smith rushing for a seven yard touchdown. With the score 42-41 the Royals elected to go for the win. On the first two-point conversion attempt, Smith scored but a holding call nullified the two points. The next attempt, with 22 seconds on the clock was successful and Potsdam held a 43-42 lead.
Milano had one final shot at winning the game but the Royals blocked their 60-yard attempt as time expired.
Central European Football League Bowl XII: Swarco Raiders 49, Istanbul Koc Rams 20
With 4,000 fans looking on a Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria, the Swarco Raiders defeated the Istanbul Koc Rams from Turkey 49-20 to capture CEFL Bowl XIII and repeat as CEFL champions.
Sandro Platzgummer led the Raiders with four touchdowns in the game as the Raiders broke open a tense football game in the second half.
Trailing 28-14 at halftime, the Rams came out in the second half with Quarterback David Whipple marching his team to the Swarco 15 yard line before connecting with Kaan Özer to narrow the lead to 28-20.
That was as close as they got. The rains came and so did Platzgummer. In a sudden heavy downpour, Platzgummer was unstoppable in the second half reeling off touchdown runs of 10 and 70 yards. Then he scored on an amazing 45 yard punt return, breaking four tackles and leaving would-be tacklers flailing their arms and sealing the final score, 49-20.
Here are some stories from American Football being played around the world:
AUSTRIA: With four games left in the 2017 regular season in the Austrian Football League, there is a new/old rushing leader as Mödling Rangers QB Dylan Potts has regained the lead in the week-to-week battle with fellow quarterback Garrett Safron of the Dacia Vienna Vikings. Ljubljana Silverhawks quarterback Zach Cavanaugh holds onto the passing yardage lead and for the second week in a row Rangers wideout Roman Namdar still tops all receivers. The surprising SonicWall Mödling Rangers have five players among the Top 5 in the four categories while the Traun Steelsharks and Ljubljana Silverhawks have four each. Then comes the Dacia Vienna Vikings with three, the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants with two and the Swarco Raiders and Bratislava Monarchs with one each.
CROATIA: The newest member of the Croatian American Football League, the undefeated Zaprešić Saints will take on the defending champion Split Sea Wolves in CroBowl VI Saturday in Zaprešić. In the only game between the two during the regular season, the Saints edged Split 20-18 in a thriller. Zaprešić quarterback Marko Miletic threw a touchdown pass to Dominik Hadrovic with less than a minute remaining in the game for the win. The Sea Wolves won the title in 2016 beating the Osijek Cannons.
FRANCE: The La Courneuve Flash scored on their first two possessions and went on to defeat the Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône Cougars 43-12 in a crucial game in the race for playoff spots in France’s FFFA – Fédération Française de Football Américain. With the win, the Flash improve to 6-2 with two games left in the season and now sit in second in the standings behind the 7-1 Thonon Black Panthers. Saint-Ouen falls to 4-3-1 and in fifth place and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Cougars won back-to-back French titles in 2015 and 2016. Flash quarterback Paul Durand threw five touchdown passes, two each to Kevin Mwamba and Stéphane Fortes and one to Mickael Doukoure. A fumble recovery for a touchdown and a field goal by Matthieu Lamy accounted for the other points for la Courneuve.
GERMANY: The Allgäu Comets won their first game of the German Football League season Sunday against the Ingolstadt Dukes 52-42, but they also made history doing so, setting records and stirring up a firestorm of interest. Comets quarterback Justin Sottilare broke his own German Football League record for pass attempts in the game by throwing 84 passes. His previous record was 69 when he was playing for the Saarland Hurricanes in 2014.
ITALY: The Milano Seamen and Milano Rhinos each have four total representatives in the four categories followed by the Lazio Ducks, Parma Panthers and Firenze Guelfi who have three each. The Ancona Dolphins follow with two while the Torino Giaguari now have one representative. The Milano Seamen lead the league standings with a 8-0 record followed by the 7-1 Parma Panthers, 6-2 Bolzano Giants and the Guelfi who are at 4-4 and in fourth.
SPAIN: The Murcia Cobras and Badalona Dracs, Europe #15, have advanced to the 2018 Spanish Bowl after winning their semifinal games last weekend. The Dracs showed no mercy in trouncing Madrid’s Osos Rivas while Murcia were pushed to the limit against a stubborn LF OLED Black Demons squad. The defending Spanish champions, Badalona Dracs, were merciless against Osos Rivas from Madrid who were playing without their all star quarterback Gabe Losada. Losada was injured in the quarterfinals. Without Losada, Osos were simply outgunned by the powerful Dracs squad. With Sergi Gonzalo directing the offense, Brandon Ravenel scored twice on pass receptions while Lorenzo Melchiorre scored two on the ground. Melchiorre also threw touchdown passes to Guillem Garcia. Albert Pascual scored another touchdown on a pick six. With the win, Badalona will be making its 16th appearance in the Spanish championship game and sixth consecutive. The Dracs have won the title nine times and will be seeking their third straight.
SWEDEN: The Göteborg Marvels snapped a three game losing streak by edging the Uppsala 86ers 8-7 and earned their first win of the 2018 season in the Swedish Superserien. With the win, the Marvels climbed out of the basement in the standings with Uppsala now trailing them. Marvels starting running back Gerard Johnson turned into the hero of the game for Göteborg as he was pressed into service at quarterback, scoring his team’s only touchdown. He also threw for 89 yards. Starter Jonathan Anderson struggled and was replaced at halftime after throwing for 84 yards but also two interceptions on consecutive drives. Alpha Jalloh scored the all-important two point conversion.
TURKEY: The Turkish American Football League kicks off its 2018 season this weekend as American football keeps growing in popularity in Turkey. The eight-team league has been dominated in recent years by the Koc Rams who won the title in 2017 and have not lost a regular season game in Turkey since 2012. The Rams have won the last two championships and with new head coach John Booker are aiming for another title this season with the addition of several imports. The Rams have signed quarterback David Whipple from Miles College along with two Swedish national team players, DB Nicholas Peterson and OL Eric Blomgren.
The college football semifinal playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma was a classic. What a battle between two explosive teams. Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first half but Georgia came back to win on RB Sony Michel’s 27-yard touchdown run in overtime to propel the Bulldogs to their first national championship game since the early 1980s. Oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson to advance as well. Personally, Alabama should have never been in the playoffs but it is what it is. The college football national championship will be played on Monday night in Atlanta’s shiny new stadium named after an expensive car.
Did you see that the University of Central Florida finished the season as the only major college to go undefeated? Yep, they finished their perfect season with a win over Auburn. I read today that UCF is going to have a national championship parade in Disney World. I know, I had to snicker at that too but, really, shouldn’t UCF had been given a wildcard or something for being undefeated? Yes, I know they play in the American Athletic Conference or something like that but just the fact they went undefeated should have got them somewhere in the playoffs. It didn’t and – no – they aren’t going to be the official national champions outside of Disney World. The playoff system won’t be right until they give all the conference winners a chance to play for the national championship.
I don’t know how to pick the Georgia-Alabama game. I don’t it will be a high-scoring game. I’m just going to watch the game and not risk jinxing anybody by making a pick.
In other football news:
The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons rounded out the playoff field for the National Football League (NFL) playoffs this weekend. Let me just get it off of my chest here – if Derek Henry ever learns to run straight he will be hard stop. Please! Pick the hole and run through it! With that said, I think the Tennessee-Kansas City match up is pretty interesting. Don’t be surprised if Tennessee wins. Stranger things have happened. The Carolina-New Orleans matchup will probably be the best one of the wildcard weekend. Here’s how I see it going: Tennessee 21, Kansas City 16; Los Angeles Rams 33, Atlanta 24; Carolina 37, New Orleans 34; Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17. Now go place your bets….
There are rumors that the XFL is going to come back. Lord, I hope not. You remember that one-year wonder right? It was put together by WWE’s Vince McMahon. Who could forget “He Hate Me”? The league was quite gimmicky. I used to have a Memphis Maniax jersey. Dang, I should have kept it. Don’t hold your breath for the XFL. Aside from the United States Football League (USFL) – which most think was ruined by our current prez – no other league has been able to survive against the NFL.
Here are some of the best spring football leagues (that actually played):
United States Football League (USFL)
World League of American Football (WLAF)
A new indoor football league called the Fan-Controlled Football League (FCFL) – nope I didn’t make this up folks – is planning to kick off this year with eight teams. This strange league will allow fans to build up something called Ethereum-based FAN tokens and use them to manage the action both on and off the field. So the games will be controlled by fans sitting in their seats drinking beer and chowing down on their nachos? Yeah, okay, I think I can watch some grass grow somewhere.
Here are the indoor leagues scheduled to play in 2018 (defending champs):
Arena Football League (Philadelphia Soul)
Indoor Football League (Arizona Rattlers)
Champions Indoor Football (Texas Revolution)
China Arena Football League (Beijing Lions)
American Arena League (none)
National Arena League (Jacksonville Sharks)
Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California are the USA Today National High School Football champions. They finished at #1 in the USA Today Super 25 poll with a record of 15-0. Yeah, doesn’t excite me that much either. Well, here’s the rest of the top ten in the final poll:
IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
Allen (Allen, TX)
Ben Davis (Indianapolis, IN)
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
Pickerington Central (Pickerington, OH)
Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, TX)
Pine-Richard (Gibsonia, PA)
The Rome Wolves (Rome, GA) finished #16 as the highest-ranked Georgia team but I really still can’t talk about it. Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN) over here in my backyard finished #22.
The Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions shutout Beersheva 45-0 in the Israel Football League (IFL) to remain the only undefeated team at 8-0. Jerusalem QB David Abell completed 19 of 30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions.
In the American Football League of China, the Shanghai Titans and Shanghai Warriors will meet in the championship game. Both teams will be looking to become the first team in league history to win two championships. The Titans defeated the Shanghai Nighthawks 27-14 in their semifinal game as Titans’ receiver Jibril Rasheed scored on a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Titans up 27-14. The game was called early in the fourth quarter due to a fight which broke out resulting in multiple player ejections. The Warriors defeated the Chengdu Pandaman 26-8. A four-yard touchdown run by Chris Gardner midway through the third quarter gave the Warriors a 20-0 lead to pull away from the Pandaman. (I’m not making this up)
The Seoul Vikings scored the winning touchdown with nine seconds left to defeat the Goeje Bluestorm to win their fifth Korean National Football League title.