Football Friday (8/16/19)

Albany Empire rolls to ArenaBowl title

While our traditional American football season is approaching, there are still teams and leagues around the world playing the sport.  Here’s a recap of news from around the world:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Albany Empire finished up its seasonal theme “unfinished business” with a dominating second half en route to a 45-27 victory over the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena­Bowl 32 Sunday night before a crowd of 12,042 at Times Union Center.

Game MVP Tommy Grady, who won the last two seasonal MVPs, tossed five touchdown passes, four of them to Quentin Sims, and the Empire defense came up big with numerous turnovers and possession stops for Albany, which went 10-2 in the regular season and then dominated its two-game semifinal series. Sunday was much the same in the second half against the third-seeded Soul.  Read more…

CANADA

Current Canadian Football League standings:

East Division

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

West Division

  1. Winnipeg Bluebombers (7-2)
  2. Calgary Stampeders (5-3)
  3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-3)
  4. Edmonton Eskimos (5-3)
  5. British Columbia Lions (1-8)

GERMANY

The Allgäu Comets  withstood a furious late comeback by the Marburg Mercenaries to defeat their German Football League South rivals 22-19 and move closer to a playoff berth with four games to go in the season.

The Comets had taken a 22-7 lead with less than two minutes remaining when Marburg scored two late touchdowns to narrow the gap. But Allgäu’s Danny Wynne pounced on the second onside kick attempt to secure the win.

Marburg came into the game as winners of six of the last seven games with the best passing offense in the league. Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

NALThe Jacksonville Sharks (14-1) will host the Carolina Cobras (10-5) this weekend in Jacksonville for the NAL Championship.

These two teams met last year in the playoffs. This was a game where tensions were high, as there were multiple ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct in the game. The Cobras blew this one open early, scoring the first 26 points and leading 39-7 at the half. The Sharks tried to fight back in the second half but could not get any closer than 21 as the Cobras won for the third time in a row 73-48, taking the series to 3-1 Cobras. This win not only dethroned the defending NAL Champions, it sent the Cobras to the NAL Championship where they destroyed the Columbus Lions 66-8 to become the 2018 NAL Champions.

WOMEN’S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Team Finland scored a touchdown with under 10 seconds left on the clock to break a tie and defeat Sweden 27-20 in the second round of the IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships inLeeds, England.

With the win, Finland now has a chance to capture their second straight European title.

This was a tale of two halves. The two teams combined for 40 points in the second half after Finland took a 7-0 halftime lead.

Running back Tytti Kuusinen was again outstanding scoring two touchdowns while Mari Jääskeläand Anne Rasilahti scored one apiece. Sanni Seppälä kicked three extra points. Read more…

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

Football Friday (8/9/19)

Austria

Austria defeats Sweden for U19 European Gold Medal

Football – the American version – is played all over the world and throughout the year.  Let’s take a look at this week’s football news…

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

The owner of the Wheeling-based West Virginia Roughriders announced the team will not be returning to the AAL for the 2020 season, but discussions with other leagues have not yet taken place. The AAL had some unstable teams during the 2019 season resulting in most teams playing non-league competition to fill out their schedules and some AAL teams suspended operations prior to or during the season. The Roughriders played as the Richmond (VA) Roughriders in the 2018 AAL season before relocating to Wheeling for the 2019 AAL season. The AAL’s Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC) are rumored to be leaving the league for the 2020 season. A previously announced 2020 AAL expansion team called the Tampa Bay Tornadoes announced a September tryout, but some doubt has been reported as to whether the team will make it to its first season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

PHILADELPHIA SOUL 48, WASHINGTON VALOR 41
Game #2 – AFL Semifinals
(Philadelphia wins series 117-74)
The small scuffle in the third quarter of Sunday’s semifinal series finale between the Philadelphia Soul and the Washington Valor was a metaphor for the game, but not the series.

Both teams fought back and forth until the last minute-and-a-half, when Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with wide receiver Darius Prince to take the lead with a 33-yard touchdown to win, 48-41.

The Soul didn’t want the game to be as close as it ended but coach Clint Dolezel said with the playoff format with aggregate scoring, it makes it a lot less stressful for both players and coaches.

“It’s the beauty of the home and away thing,” Dolezel said. “I would always want to play at home second. So, that if you do clinch it, it’s in front of your crowd.”

The win, combined with last week’s 69-33 victory, means the Soul advance to ArenaBowl XXXII with an aggregate win over the Valor, 117-74.

Before to Sunday’s game, Raudabaugh said the way the Soul would walk out of Wells Fargo Center as winners would be by scoring on every drive – and they did just that, at least in the first half.

ALBANY EMPIRE 62, BALTIMORE BRIGADE 21
Game #2 – AFL Semifinals
(Albany wins series 123-47)
The Arena Football League’s top point-producers were kept off the field Saturday night for more than eight minutes of the second quarter. It happened because Albany’s defense scored three straight touchdowns in a playoff game against the Baltimore Brigade.

It was part of a 62-21 humiliation that the Empire put on the Brigade at Royal Farms Arena to win their two-game, aggregate score semifinal playoff series, 123-47.

The Empire will now play host to ArenaBowl XXXII at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Times Union Center. The game, against the winner of the other semifinal series between Philadelphia and Washington, will be televised live by ESPN2.

“It’s an awesome feeling to get there for the first time,” said Terence Moore, a seventh-year linebacker who scored twice. “The good thing about the locker room is that we’re excited about being there, but we still feel we have one more to complete the job.”

Albany (12-2), coming off its second straight regular-season title, made this a no contest early. Having won last week’s meeting with Baltimore 61-26, the Empire needed only to stay within 34 points of the Brigade to play for the Arena title.

That was never their mentality.

READ MORE…

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have had a revolving door at kick returner this season. Janarion Grant put an end to that on Thursday night. The former Rutgers star returned two punts for touchdown in his Canadian Football League debut, sparking the Bombers to a 26-24 win over the Calgary Stampeders at IG Field in Winnipeg.

The ownership group trying to bring a CFL expansion team called the Atlantic Schooners to Halifax (Nova Scotia) is still working on a business plan for a new stadium that will be a requirement for acceptance into the league. The earliest an expansion team could start play would be in 2021 and that season could be played in Moncton (Nova Scotia) or a temporary stadium in Halifax. The CFL is holding a regular-season game later this month at the University of Moncton as part of the 2019 edition of Touchdown Atlantic. The CFL has yet to close on a recently announced proposed sale of the Montreal Alouettes team whose ownership sold the team back to the league just prior to the 2019 season.

FINLAND

The Kuopio Steelers (7-2) and Seinäjoki Crocodiles (3-5) staged a game for the ages in Finland’s Maple League. The Steelers scored 37 third quarter points to beat Seinäjoki 85-55 in one of the highest scoring games in Maple League history.

Kuopio scored 64 points in the second half alone.

Trailing 35-21 at the half, the Steelers exploded for 37 points in the third quarter, holding Seinäjoki to just six and then added another 27 in the fourth.

Read more…

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Oklahoma Thunder (9-1) are one win away from capturing their fourth consecutive National Championship and their eighth overall title in the franchise’s 12 seasons of operation. The only obstacle standing in Oklahoma’s path to another Gridiron Bowl title is a rematch with the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (10-0).

The Thunder and Bulldawgs have met in the regular season earlier this year. Middle Tennessee defeated Oklahoma 26-13 on June 29th, in Nashville,Tennessee getting a little payback from last seasons championship loss but there is a big difference in winning a championship game, versus winning a regular season game.

Flashback to 2018, the Thunder defeated the Bulldawgs 38-15 on August 11th in Gridiron Bowl IX in Birmingham, Alabama to give them their third consecutive national championship banner. They will face off again for the third time in their short history, in what is quickly becoming an intense rivalry.

This Gridiron Bowl will feature two of the most storied programs on the Minor League Football circuit today. The Bulldawgs have made five appearance in championship games the last five seasons since they have been established dating back to when they were still a part of the Tennessee Football League (TFL).

For the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs, Gridiron Bowl X will mark their second straight Gridiron Bowl appearance. They are also seeking their first GDFL league championship since winning consecutive spring titles in the MTFL ,MFA & TFL .

Middle Tennessee punched their ticket to the 2019 Gridiron Bowl with a 32-27 victory over the Erie Express in the Intense Xtreme Conference Championship in Erie, Pennsylvania on last Saturday July 27.2019.

Chapa had three first half turnovers and another interception that bounced off the chest of Moore. After Erie took the lead with under two minutes to go, Chapa hit Moore on a 53 yard play to give the Bulldawgs the lead for good.

Thunder starting QB Damian Manning led the offense by completing 10-of-14 passes for 140 yards and two scores. Adidas McDonald also added a game-high 148 yards on the ground while also rushing for three touchdowns. WR Brandon Shepherd led receivers with 5 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Meanwhile, the Bulldawgs traveled to Cathedral Prep Events Center and defeated the Erie Express 32-27 in the Xtreme Conference Championship to earn their spot in the Gridiron Bowl. Bulldawgs trailed by three points at one point, after Hanna hit Terry Jackson on a 28 yard TD pass with Jeremy Ditzler adding the XP to give Erie the lead 27-24. 2:57 4th, but rallied.Bulldawg QB Eric Chapa and WR Tyran Moore showed some great moxie.

Defensively, the Thunder held River City to -8 yards in total offense, though this total was primarily due to key mistakes by the Pythons that resulted in -52 yards rushing. The Thunder also forced 5 turnovers, including one pick-six by CB Traivon Bryant, a sack/fumble forced by DE Rashawd Rushing, and a fumble recovery by WR DJ Dempsey deep in Python territory that led to a subsequent Thunder touchdown. .

As for the Bulldawgs defense, DB Chris Perkins led Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs in the turnover department with three interceptions a fumble recovery, four pass breakup and a touchdown in the victory over the Outlaws and Express. The Bulldawgs defense has been ranked #1 all season long and this is the most points they have given up to an opponent all season.

The 2019 National Championship (Gridiron Bowl X) between the Oklahoma Thunder and the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs is slated for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff at Missouri Southern State University, in Joplin,Missouri Admissions $15.00

IFAF 2019 U19 European Championships

Although they started slow, Team Austria built momentum quickly and finally dominated Sweden in the gold medal final of the IFAF 2019 U19 European Championhips, shutting them out 28-0 Sunday evening in Bologna, Italy.

In front of a loud and boisterous crowd at Arcoveggio Stadium with Austrian and Swedish fans chanting back and forth, Austria simply outran, outmuscled and outhustled a Swedish team that had not faced this kind of speed and execution before in the tournament.

Austria jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then cruised in the second half for the win.

Read more…

IRELAND

The main event in the Irish American Football Association’s calendar is finally back once again as the four time champions Belfast Trojans take on the South Dublin Panthers for the Shamrock Bowl in its 33rd year. These two teams are well known to each, having faced each other multiple times in recent years. They last played each other on the 9th June 2019 in Belfast, where the Trojans came out 26-16 winners. This would be the first of a string of three defeats for the Panthers to end their regular season whilst the Trojans would win out their remaining four games.

The Trojans finished the regular season as second seeds, gaining home field advantage in the semi-final, of which they overcame UCD 14-0 in a rain soaked game at Harlequins RFC. Both defense’s took advantage of the weather, stifling each other’s offenses as both were finding it difficult to establish an air game in the tough conditions. The Trojans eventually broke the deadlock at the end of the second quarter, ironically through a passing play, before going on to score the games only other touchdown in the second half.

Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

JACKSONVILLE SHARKS 67, COLUMBUS LIONS 43
Semifinals

The Columbus Lions couldn’t overcome their demons, falling to their rival Jacksonville in the semifinal game 67-43. With the loss, the Lions’ hope of reaching a third consecutive NAL Championship comes to a halt.

Columbus would strike first after causing a fumble on the opening kickoff and quarterback Bryan Hicks sneaking in for a touchdown. But after the Sharks and Mike Fafaul answered back with a touchdown pass to Durron Neal, Hicks would throw a pick six deep in Jacksonville territory, returned by Markus Smith to put the Sharks up 16-6. Although Ulric Jones would pouce on a fumble for a touchdown and Hicks found his way into the endzone late in the 2nd quarter, Jacksonville would enter the half with a 37-22 lead.

Read more…

CAROLINA COBRAS 30, MASSACHUSETTS PIRATES 36
Semifinals

In what was a battle of the #2 and #3 offenses, this was a total defensive struggle as the two teams combined for just 56 points, there were five total turnovers, eight combined sacks, and multiple times where teams were stopped on downs. The great news is that the Carolina Cobras (10-5) prevailed,

beating Massachusetts Pirates (8-7) by a score of 30-26 and will advance to face the winner of the Columbus Lions vs Jacksonville Shark game (Tuesday), for the NAL Championship on August 17, 2019, the location has yet to be determined.

This was a sloppy game on the offensive side of the ball for both teams as the defenses dominated. The Cobras got the ball and drove down the field, only to be turned over on downs as QB Charles McCullum was sacked on fourth down. The Pirates were not able to answer as they too turned it over on downs. On the next Cobras drive Jordan Jolly fumbled and turned it back over to the Pirates. This time the Pirates capitalized, with a 20-yard pass from QB Sean Brackett to Rannell Hall for the score. With the PAT it was 7-0 Pirates and that is how we ended the first quarter.

Read more…

(Thanks to Oursportscentral.com, American Football International and Gridiron Developmental Football League for these stories.  Please go to their sites and support them.)

Football Friday (8/2/19)

GDFL

Oklahoma meets Middle Tennessee for GDFL Title

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

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

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

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

AUSTRIA

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

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

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

Current Standings:

East Division

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

West Division

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

EUROPE

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

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

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

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

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

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

Final Regular Season Standings:

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

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

Football Friday (7/19/19)

071319-United-Bowl-2019-Main

Sioux Falls Storm defeats Arizona Rattlers to win United Bowl title

Let’s take a look at what’s going on with American Football being played around the world and the latest news:

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

American Arena League, CEO, Tony Zefiretto released the 2019 American Arena League All Star Team. “The unbalanced schedule presented some uniqueness to the process of owners and coaches nominating the players. We have representation from eight different teams. Although we do not anticipate an All Star game this season, these players deserve to be recognized for their outstanding seasons.”

  • Coach of the Year Ervin Bryson Carolina Energy Mook Zimmerman West Virginia Roughriders
  • Dance Team of the Year First Class Dance Team Jersey Flight Sparks West Michigan Ironmen
  • Mascot of the Year Fe West Michigan Ironmen Richie the Rider West Virginia Roughriders
  • Kicker Jed Solomon Georgia Doom
  • Kick Returner Noel Devine West Virginia Roughriders
  • Offensive Player of the Year Larry Beavers West Virginia Roughriders
  • Quarterback Jarrett Brown West Virginia Roughriders
  • Running Back Dakota Smith West Michigan Ironmen
  • Wide Receiver Larry Beavers Jr. West Virginia Roughriders Gerron “Scooby” Bryant Carolina Energy Carrington Thompson West Michigan Ironmen Antwoine Thorpe Cape Fear Heroes
  • Offensive Line Steven Fluker Cape Fear Heroes Leon Hill Carolina Energy Zach Hooks Carolina Havoc Jesse Somsel West Michigan Ironmen
  • Defensive Player of the Year
  • Ellis Lankster West Virginia Roughriders Fred Williams Carolina Energy
  • Linebacker Cornelius Edmonds Indianapolis Enforcers Brian Price West Virginia Roughriders Fred Williams Carolina Energy
  • Defensive Back Ellis Lankster West Virginia Roughriders Sayyid Muhammad Carolina Energy Kevin Scott Jersey Flight Carlos Thomas Carolina Energy
  • Defensive Line Ryan Armstrong West Michigan Ironmen Harold Love West Virginia Roughriders Josh Smith Carolina Havoc Dequan Harvin Carolina Energy

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Washington Valor (6-5) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (6-5), 47-40, Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson threw for 271 yards and totaled seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. With the win, Washington clinches a postseason berth for the second consecutive season. After closing out the regular season next weekend against Columbus, the Valor will begin postseason play on the weekend of July 26. The 2019 postseason will kick off with a pair of home-and-home series between the top four teams in the league (#1 vs. #4 and #2 vs. #3) with games played on the weekends of July 26 and August 2. Teams will advance to ArenaBowl XXXII based on the aggregate score of the two games played. Unlike the first round of the playoffs, ArenaBowl XXXII will be a traditional single-game matchup on Sunday, August 11 at 3 p.m. ArenaBowl XXXII will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Duke City Gladiators are once again CIF Champions after they beat the Salina Liberty on Saturday night 35-29. The Gladiators are now two-time winners out of just five CIF Champions Bowl games.

“Amazing, we got the toughest young men in the country and I am not saying that because of an emotional win. I am saying that because man, did you see this game, it was all about guts”, said Gladiators Head Coach Dominic Bramante.

The Gladiators and Liberty were tied at 29 with under 30 seconds left in regulation, but 1st year DC running back Romello Brown would punch in the game-winning touchdown from two yards out.

“Right before the play, the running back in front of me, Justin Kelly, he told me to make a nice cutout. The lineman blocked well for me, and I put God first, and it happened man. I am very blessed”, said Romello Brown.

It was a big celebration after this win and Mayor Tim Keller was there to celebrate with the team after their 2nd consecutive CIF Championship victory.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs (8-0) win their second-straight divisional crown as they head into the 2019 GDFL Playoffs they won a messy game against the River City Pythons (5-3) on Saturday, a game that was sealed up by Randall “BayBay”Smith two interceptions of Carl Davis.

The pick halted a late Pythons’ drive and ended the game at 24-0 for the Bulldawgs. The Pythons have struggled to score for the 2nd time this season against the Bulldawgs only managing six points out of two games and the Pythons offense hit rock bottom at home against the Bulldawgs, while Carl Davis was just 4 of 11 for 60 yards and threw 6 interceptions Ramon Stevens was the Pythons’ leading rusher he only manged 40 yards on the ground.

That’s saying a lot, especially considering The Bulldawgs forced a team high of 8 turnovers in one game which is a franchise record, both teams went into halftime tied 0-0 but the excitement about the game for the Pythons might have been dampened though, quite literally, by the fact that the second half of the game was played in an absolute downpour. Head Coach Derek Baker,said It was like a monsoon out there.

There was widespread flooding reported throughout the south as Hurricane Berry made land fall in Louisiana and the effects where felt as far away as Decatur,Alabama.

The game suffered a bit from the conditions, as sloppy passes, lost footing, and general sogginess slowed down play and hindered execution. In the end, the Bulldawgs got it done though, grabbing the Xtreme Division and handing the Pythons their third loss of the season and costing them the Impact South Division crown.

Middle Tennessee relied on their running game and defense to get them through the weather conditions, the Bulldawgs ran the ball by committee and ended up with 300 yards rushing and 3 rushing touchdowns with 5 different backs getting touches Keon Bohannon had 10 rushes for 55 yards and Tae Bradley had 15 for 65 yards add in Rahiim Muhammad the Black Rhino coming back off an injury since February,he had 9 rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown and lead all backs.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Sioux Falls Storm claimed their 11th National Championship after defeating the Arizona Rattlers in the 2019 United Bowl 56-53.

The Storm would strike first after a seven-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Damian Ford to take an early 7-0 lead. The Rattlers responded by scoring back to back touchdowns to take a 7-14 lead; the first was a three-yard rushing touchdown by Jarrod Harrington and then a two-yard rushing touchdown by Jamal Miles. The quarter would end with a score of 14-14 after a 40-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Brandon Sheperd.

The second quarter was a back and forth battle where the Rattlers would take a 14-21 lead after a one-yard rushing touchdown by Drew Powell. The Storm tied it up after a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Brandon Sheperd. The Rattlers would take a 21-28 lead after a 29-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Anthony Amos. The Storm tied the game after a six-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown. The Rattlers would end the half with a score of 28-31 after a 31-yard field goal by Jimmy Camacho.

The Rattlers would be the first to strike in the third quarter and take a 28-38 lead after a eight-yard touchdown pass by Drew Powell to Jamal Miles. The Storm would score back to back touchdowns to take a 42-38 lead; the first was a three-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Kent Shelby and then a two-yard rushing touchdown by Calen Campbell. The Rattlers would end the quarter with a score of 42-45 after a 58-yard kickoff return Jarrod Harrington.

The Storm opened the fourth quarter by scoring back to back touchdowns to take a 56-45 lead; the first touchdown was a 26-yard pass by Lorenzo Brown to Calen Campbell and then a nine-yard touchdown pass by Lorenzo Brown to Kent Shelby. The Rattlers would end the game with a 11-yard rushing touchdown by Drew Powell but failed the two point conversion, bringing the final score to 56-53.

Quarterback Lorenzo Brown completed 15 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns, he also had 19 rushing yards and one touchdown. Running back Calen Campbell had 28 yards and one touchdown, he also had 28 receiving yards and one touchdown. Wide receivers Brandon Sheperd accumulated 115 receiving yards for one touchdown and 21 rushing yards and one touchdown, Damian Ford had 38 yards and one touchdown, Kent Shelby had 19 receiving yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 30 yards. Kicker Parker Douglass was perfect on the night after hitting all eight extra points. Linebacker T.J. Neal led the Thunder Defense with eight tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass break-up. Defensive backs Lorenzo White had one tackle for loss while Jermaine Robinson had one pass break-up. Defensive linemen Charles Williams had 1.5 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery while Claude Davis had .5 tackle for loss.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

In three years there had only been one shutout in NAL history until two week ago when the Cobras travelled to Orlando and beat the Predators (2-10) 60-0, but home cooking is good the second time around as the Cobras outperformed the first matchup, this time winning 72-0 in Greensboro to run their record to 9-3 and with the Pirates losing the Cobras now will host a playoff game as they locked up the #2 Seed in the NAL Playoffs. Jordan Jolly also set a NEW NAL record for yardage on the year with 1,119 yards for the season, beating the old record of 1,085 set by Durron Neal of the Columbus Lions last season. Charles McCullum tied the NAL record with nine TD passes, and I believe the Cobras defense set an NAL record allowing only five first downs and 66 net yards passing.

Current standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (11-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (9-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-5)
  4. Columbus Lions (4-8)
  5. New York Streets (3-9)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-10)

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

AUSTRIA

The Dacia Vienna Vikings scored two second half touchdowns and solved a riddle in beating the Prague Black Panthers in the Austrian Football League semifinals to advance to Austrian Bowl XXXV.

The riddle was simple. How do you stop the Prague running attack in the second half while mounting your own running attack? The answer. Play harder and smarter. And they did just that.

Prague running back Herbert Gamboa had a field day in the first half against the Vikings, rushing for 143 yards and scoring two touchdowns while his quarterback Dylan Potts rushed for 47 and another score.

In the second half, Gamboa was held to seven yards, Potts eight. And zero touchdowns.  Read more…

CANADA

Current Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Hamilton Tigercats (4-1)
    • Montreal Alouettes (2-2)
    • Ottawa RedBlacks (2-2)
    • Toronto Argonauts (0-4)
  • Western Division
    • Winnipeg Bluebombers (4-0)
    • Edmonton Eskimos (3-1)
    • Calgary Stampeders (2-2)
    • Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-3)
    • British Columbia Lions (1-4)

Last Week’s Results:

  • Edmonton 33, British Columbia 6
  • Winnipeg 48, Toronto 21
  • Montreal 36, Ottawa 19
  • Hamilton 30, Calgary 23

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Toronto at Calgary
  • Ottawa at Winnipeg
  • Edmonton at Montreal
  • British Columbia at Saskatchewan

SWITZERLAND

The Calanda Broncos played extremely effective football this past weekend in shutting out the Geneva Seahawks 31-0 to win Swiss Bowl XXXIV, claiming their third straight title and 10th overall.

With a smothering defense that snagged two interceptions, forced a fumble and made three key fourth down stops, the Broncos stunned the visitors and the rest of the Swiss football community.

It wasn’t the win but the way they won that surprised everyone.

Geneva had beaten the defending champs once during the regular season and had looked solid all year. Experts were expecting an exciting, close-fought final.

On this day though, Calanda simply took it up a notch.  Read more…

TURKEY

The unbeaten and defending champion Koc Rams (7-0) will be looking to win their fourth straight Turkish title Sunday, July 14 when the take on the 6-2 METU Falcons in the Turkish Bowl.

The Rams downed the ITÜ Hornets 35-27 in the semifinals to advance to the title game while METU qualified by edging the Bogazici Sultans 28-26.

In the only meeting between the two teams this season, the Rams came out on top 33-23.

The Rams are making their sixth consecutive trip to the Turkish final while the Falcons are appearing for the second time in their history.  Read more…

(Thanks to oursportscentral.com and American Football International for their reports.)

Football Friday

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Milano (Italy) Runs Away to their third straight Italian Bowl title

Here’s a recap of this week’s report of American football from around the world:

AMERICAN 7s FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The A7FL, which is a 7-on-7 full-contact football league in which players do not wear hard pads or helmets, is in the playoff round of its 2019 season that featured a 16-team North East Division of teams located in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The A7FL is in its fifth season and eventually hopes to expand with various regional divisions across the United States. The 2019 regular season ran from early April to late June with each team playing seven or eight games.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

The owner of the Wheeling-based West Virginia Roughriders stated there is no truth to rumors the team will fold, but it is uncertain whether the team will return to the AAL next season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Balitmore Brigade (6-4) became the third team in the AFL to clinch a playoff berth and will be in the postseason for the third consecutive season.  The Brigade secured their position on Saturday, July 6 after the Atlantic City Blackjacks lost to the Philadelphia Soul.  Read more….

Current Standings:

  1. Albany Empire (8-2)
  2. Philadelphia Soul (7-4)
  3. Baltimore Brigade (6-4)
  4. Washington Valor (5-5)
  5. Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-7)
  6. Columbus Destroyers (1-9)

ELITE INDOOR FOOTBALL

The EIF recently announced two more new teams called the Northern Nemesis (Springfield, IL), and the Southland Power (Chicago/Palatine, IL) have been added for 2020 as part of the league’s new Mid West Division. The Southland Power was the 2019 champion of the semi-pro Indoor Football Association. The EIF previously announced teams called the Ozarks Mountain Express (Lebanon, MO), Music City Fire (Nashville, TN) and Louisville Kings would also join for the 2020 season.

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Indoor Football League’s 2019 -United Bowl will be broadcasted on FOX Sports Arizona Plus as they attempt to win their second championship in three seasons. The game will also be streamed live on the free FOX Sports GO app and also on FOXSportsGO.com. Chris Harris and Randy Gatewood will continue to be the announcers for the bowl game as they have been for the Rattlers the entire 2019 season.

The Rattlers will face the Sioux Falls Storm (13-3) for the title. Sioux Falls has gone to the United Bowl in ten straight seasons, while the Rattlers have appeared in their championship game in seven of the last nine seasons. The 2019 United Bowl takes place Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Gila River Arena. Kick off is slated for 6:05 p.m. AZT.

The FOX Sports Arizona Plus broadcast, beginning at 5:30 p.m. AZT, will include a 30-minute pre-game show as well as a 30-minute post-game show.

The United Bowl can also be seen on YouTube. The official IFL channel can be found here: www.youtube.com/IndoorFootballLeague

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The #1 ranked Jacksonville Sharks (10-1) are sailing into Week 14 on a 10-game win streak, their third longest win-streak in team history. They travel to Massachusetts to take on the Pirates (7-4), who are on a streak of their own with six straight wins after defeating the New York Streets 54-52 last Friday night. If the Sharks win, they will clinch the #1 seed and secure home field throughout the playoffs. The Sharks currently lead the regular season series 1-0 against the Pirates after winning in Worcester 55-36 in Week 4.  Read more….

Current Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (10-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (8-3)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (7-4)
  4. New York Streets (3-8)
  5. Columbus Lions (3-8)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-9)

NATIONAL GRIDIRON LEAGUE

The indoor professional NGL, which failed to start play as planned in 2019, announced player combines and tryouts will be held in Brunswick (GA) later this month as the league plans for a 2020 season. The NGL has 12 proposed teams aligned in Eastern and Western conferences, each with three-team North and South divisions.

XFL

The new outdoor professional XFL, which plans to start play with eight teams in February 2020, was reported to have registered the Wild, Force, Fury, Dragons and Surge as potential nicknames for the league’s Seattle franchise.

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES

AUSTRIA

The Prague Black Panthers downed the SonicWall Mödling Rangers in a game that was closer than expected while the Danube Dragons got by the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants in a game that was just as close as expected as the Austrian Football League wound up its Wild Card weekend.

Both Prague and the Dragons move to the semifinals this weekend. The Black Panthers will travel to Vienna to face the Dacia Vienna Vikings while the Dragons head to Innsbruck to take on the unbeaten Swarco Raiders.

Read more…

BRAZIL

The Sampa Bowl, the São Paulo Football League championship final, is set! The Corinthians Steamrollers and Rio Preto Weilers will battle for the right to call themselves the best of the state of São Paulo in Brazil!

The Corinthians Steamrollers and Rio Preto Weilers had the best records during the regular season of the São Paulo Football League and now will face each other on July 14th at 13:30 (Brasilia Time) at the Iberapuera Park in São Paulo. The game will be televised by one of Brazil’s top TV station, BAND, and in its international channel, BAND INTERNATIONAL which will televise the game to six countries, including the United States, Argentina, Mozambique, Angola, Uruguay and Paraguay.  Read more…

GERMANY

As the German Football League has hit a four week break with only three games scheduled during that time, let’s take a look at the offensive stats leaders.

After eight rounds of play in the 14 game GFL season, there are still some surprising leaders in the three key offensive categories, passing, rushing and receiving yardage.

What is also clear is that no one team is dominating the stats although two teams remain undefeated, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.  Read more…

HUNGARY

The Fehérvár Enthroners survived a furious second half comeback by the Kiev Capitals to edge Kiev 14-12 to win Hungarian Bowl XIV and capture their first Hungarian title

Both teams were playing in their first ever Hungarian Football League (HFL) final last Saturday. Since the top league in Hungary changed its name to the HFL in 2012, no team based in Western Hungary has ever won the championship. However, Kiev, from the Ukraine, is not the first foreign team to reach the final. The Bratislava Monarchs from Slovakia won the title in 2015.  Read more…

ITALY

The Milano Seamen exploded for four unanswered touchdowns in the last 14 minutes of the Italian Bowl to pull away from a stubborn Firenze Guelfi team to win 62-28 and capture their third consecutive Italian title and fifth in six years.

Wide receiver Xavier Mitchell caught a diving 20 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Zahradka with just over a minute to go in the third quarter to jump out to a 41-28 lead in what had been a see-saw battle. That seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Guelfi, and Milano ran off two more touchdowns and then defensive back Marco Aletti scooped up a fumble with a minute let and raced 53 yards for the final score.  Read more…

SERBIA

The Kragujevac Wild Boars captured their fourth consecutive Serbian championship and ninth overall in beating the SBB Vukovi Belgrade 60-55 in a shootout at the “Čika Dača” field in Serbian Bowl XV.

The Wild Boars jumped out to a 40-27 halftime lead and boosted it to 46-27 before Vukovi mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback.  Read more….

SWEDEN

The Stockholm Mean Machines proved once and for all that they are for real in defeating the Carlstad Crusaders 49-35 to win their second straight Swedish championship this past weekend

If there were any doubters left, they are now on the bandwagon. Stockholm is back on top. They downed the eight-time champion Crusaders for the fourth time in four games although Carlstad kept it close until late in the fourth.  Read more…

(Thank you to American Football International and Our Sports Central for these reports.)

 

Football Friday – 6/28/19

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QB Luke Zahradka threw 3 TD passes to lead Milano to Italian Bowl

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Championship week is finally here for the American Arena League title game. The Roughriders (12-0) will host the Carolina Energy, Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at WesBanco Arena.

The Riders advanced to the final with a 45-6 win over the West Michigan Ironmen in the Northern Conference Championship. The Energy come in at 9-0 following their 52-38 win over the Carolina Havoc in the Southern Conference Championship Game.

The Roughriders have been just as dominant in the playoffs as they were during the regular season outscoring their two opponents, 102-19. The Roughriders defeated the Energy last season in the semifinals to advance to the championship game.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Columbus Destroyers fell to the Philadelphia Soul, 42-35, on Saturday night in front of 7,604 fans at Nationwide Arena, the largest crowd of the season. With the loss, the Destroyers drop to 1-8 on the season. Quarterback Grant Russell completed 23 of his 39 passes for 237 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in the loss. Wide receiver Fabian Guerra hauled in nine passes for 75 yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Paul Browning caught two more scores.

Current Standings:

  • Albany Empire (8-1)
  • Baltimore Brigade (5-4)
  • Philadelphia Soul (5-4)
  • Washington Valor (5-4)
  • Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-6)
  • Columbus Destroyers (1-8)

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Columbus at Baltimore
  • Albany at Philadelphia
  • Atlantic City at Washington

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Omaha Beef (8-4) defeated the Sioux City Bandits (7-5) 60-50 in a win to get in scenario Saturday night. The win put them in position to play Salina for the third time this season and a shot to play in the CIF Championship.

During the third quarter, the scoring amongst both teams went back and forth with a quarterback duel in the air and on the ground. Both Derrick Bernard and Turner had two passing touchdowns in the quarter, but the legs of Bernard changed the game after his 26-yard rushing touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Omaha took the lead for the first time since the second quarter (39-34). The Bandits battled back after scoring a touchdown and recovering an onside kick to take the lead right after. Bernard was able to keep his composure and lead the Beef to another score and Jermicheal Williams closed the game with his second onside kick recovery for a touchdown on the season.

Current Standings:

  • Northern Division
    • Salina Liberty (8-4)
    • Omaha Beef (8-4)
    • Sioux City Bandits (7-5)
    • Wichita Force (2-10)
  • Southern Division
    • Duke City Gladiators (9-3)
    • Amarillo Venom (8-4)
    • Oklahoma Flying Aces (2-10)

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Omaha at Salina
  • Amarillo at Duke City

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

FIRST ROUND PLAYOFF RESULTS:
SIOUX FALLS STORM 50, TUCSON SUGAR SKULLS 47
The Sioux Falls Storm moved to 12-3 after defeating the Tucson Sugar Skulls 50-47 on Sunday, June 23. The Sugar Skulls would be the first to score in the fourth quarter after a six-yard touchdown pass by Jake Medlock to Jeremiah Harris to bring the score to 36-34. The Storm answered with a six-yard rushing touchdown by Lorenzo Brown to put the Storm up 43-34. The Sugar Skulls would respond with a 12-yard touchdown pass by Jake Medlock Shaquan Curenton to bring the score to 43-41. The Storm answered with a seven-yard rushing touchdown by Calen Campbell to give the Storm a 50-41 lead. The Sugar Skulls would end the game with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Matt Behrendt and an unsuccessful two-point conversion to bring the final score to 50-47.

NEBRASKA DANGER 45, GREEN BAY BLIZZARD 40
In the Blizzard’s first playoff appearance since 2012 they played tight all the way through, but ultimately came up short losing 45-40. The Blizzard defense stopped the Danger twice on the goal line in the closing minutes to give the Blizzard the ball with a 39-40 lead and just seconds remaining on the clock. However, an untimely fumbled snap gave the Danger the ball once more and they took advantage. Running Back Davonte Sapp-Lynch found the end zone with a 2 yard score giving the Danger a 45-40 lead with just 35 seconds remaining on the clock. Following a return by veteran B.J. Hill, the Blizzard had great field position, but were unable to convert as a last second heave from Quarterback Lenorris Footman was knocked away by the Danger defense as time expired.

This Week’s Schedule:

  • United Conference Championship:  Sioux Falls at Iowa
  • Intense Conference Championship:  Nebraska at Arizona

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Massachusetts Pirates (5-4) extended their win streak to four games defeating the Columbus Lions (3-5) 59-50. The win puts the Pirates over the .500 record mark for the first time this season. Sean Brackett led the Pirates offense, completing 25 of his 37 passes with 273 yards through the air and six total touchdowns. Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard caught 11 balls for 113 yards and four touchdowns, and also added a rushing score. The Lions were guided by Luke Collis, who went 21-43 with 305 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions.

The Lions started the fourth quarter with another Collis-to-Mack touchdown, which marked the fourth time the duo connected for six points in the contest. The score put the Lions within three points of the Pirates, as they then trailed 46-43. However, Brackett led his offense downfield and completed the drive by doing his best Tom Brady impression as he went up-and-over the linemen to sneak it in from one-yard out on fourth and goal. Collis responded with another touchdown, this time finding receiver Chris Sanders-McCullum from three yards out. The Pirates put the game out of reach on their following drive when Gilyard rushed for a three-yard touchdown with under a minute left in the game. The Pirates defense put the nail in the coffin on the final Lions possession of the game when linebacker Tavarus Dantzler hit Collis as he released a pass, causing the ball to spring up into the air and land into the hands of Toby Johnson for the interception to seal the nine point win.

Current Standings:

  • Jacksonville Sharks (8-1)
  • Carolina Cobras (6-3)
  • Massachusetts Pirates (5-4)
  • New York Streets (3-6)
  • Columbus Lions (3-6)
  • Orlando Predators (2-7)

This Week’s Schedule:

  • Massachusetts at Columbus
  • Jacksonville at New York
  • Carolina at Orlando

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES:

AUSTRIA

Europe’s American football community will be keeping a close eye on Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium Saturday, June 29 when the current Austrian and CEFL Champion, the Swarco Raiders, will host the Dacia Vienna Vikings, Austrian Bowl record holders and five time European Champions, for the 2019 ECTC championship title.

The European Club Team Competition has reached its final and most important event in its very first year of existence. Organized by IFAF Europe, the ECTC started with a total of 13 teams from 11 different countries – Austria, France, Sweden, Serbia, Finland, Turkey, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Poland – and has now been whittled down to two.

Vienna’s road to the ECTC Final saw them defeat the Badalona Dracs from Barcelona, Spain 38-8. They had soundly defeated Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks in the opening game of the tournament. With that victory, the Vikings won the ECTC Central Division.

The Vikings were to have faced the Helsinki Roosters, winners of the Northern European Football League crown, to decide the ECTC final, but Helsinki was unable to play in the final leaving the Vikings with a walkover.

Swarco needed a late-game rally to defeat the Calanda Broncos 46-42 in CEFL Bowl XIV to capture their third straight title and qualify for the ECTC final. They had previously defeated France’s Thonon Black Panthers who they dominated 41-7. They then manhandled the Milano Seamen from Italy, 50-23.

Dacia Vikings Head Coach Chris Calaycay, Swarco Raiders HC Shuan Fatah and IFAF Europe Director Gregor Murth presented their views prior to this important match-up.

CANADA

Lucky Whitehead scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 28-21 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in their first home game of 2019.

The first-year receiver dazzled a crowd of 25,336 at IG Field in Winnipeg, scoring a 75-yard touchdown in the first half and eluding defenders for a highlight-reel 41-yard catch and run in the third quarter.

The Bombers, meanwhile, survived a late-game turnover on a fumble by Andrew Harris — one of two fumbles on the night — forcing three straight incompletions to hold off a late rally from the Eskimos and preserve the victory.

GERMANY

The 5-2 Stuttgart Scorpions withstood a late rally to edge the Munich Cowboys (2-4) 21-19 in German Football League seventh round action at GAZi-Stadion in Stuttgart this past weekend.

The Cowboys, trailing 21-6, dominated the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns but missing a 42 yard field goal with no time left on the clock.

Stuttgart had built a 21-6 lead early in the fourth when the Cowboys mounted their furious comeback.

Stuttgart quarterback Michael Eubank threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 29 passing. Wide receiver Pascal Flöser had four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown while Tyler Cooperwood had two receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. while rushing for another. Flöser kicked all three extra points.

ITALY

The Milano Seamen are headed to their sixth Italian Bowl in seven years and third straight after shutting out the Lazio Ducks 38-0 in Milan this past weekend in Itay’s Div. 1 semifinals.

There was no doubt in this game as the Seamen jumped out to a 27-0 first half lead and never looked back as Lazio’s offense sputtered all game long. While Milano recorded modest numbers totaling 242 yards of offense, they didn’t need to do more as the Ducks could only muster 96 yards of offense, only 30 in the air.

Milano’s stifling defense was too much for a Lazio team that coughed up the ball time and again. The Ducks fumbled three times, all of which led to scores. They also had a punt blocked on the goalline and that too led to a touchdown.

Seamen quarterback Luke Zahradka was an efficient 15 of 23 for 206 yards and three touchdowns with Gianluca Santagostino catching four passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Claudio Buccellato caught the third. Danilo Bonaparte rushed for one touchdown and Arnaud Mboutcha recovered a fumble in the end zone for the fifth Milano touchdown. Stefan Di Tunisi had a quiet day on offense but kicked a field goal and four extra points.

So the Seamen will now face the Firenze Guelfi in the Italian Bowl, July 6.

POLAND

Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego championship game this Saturday pits the 2018 champion Bialystok Lowlanders against the 2017 Polish champions, the Wroclaw Panthers in a rematch of the 2018 final.

Bialystok edged the Panthers 14-13 in the 2018 final winning their first ever Polish title.

To reach this year’s final, the Panthers, playing in the South Conference, finished the eight-game regular season without a loss. They then cruised to an easy 52-6 win over the Gdynia Seahawks in the semifinals.

Bialystok topped the North Conference with a 6-2 record and in the semifinal round shocked the Tychy Falcons, beating them 49-19.

Potsdam Royals edge Milano in a Thriller; Swarco repeats as Champs

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Mliano WR Xavier Mitchell scored 4 TDs in a losing effort

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.

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Swarco RB Platzgummer (7) ran wild for the Raiders scoring 4 TDs.

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.

World of American Football

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QB Justin Sottilare had 84 pass attempts to break German Football League record

 

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.

Europe’s Top 20 Poll

  1. Schwabisch Hall Unicorns (Germany)
  2. Braunschweigh NY Lions (Germany)
  3. Helsinki Roosters (Finland)
  4. Vienna Vikings (Austria)
  5. Tirol Swarco Raiders (Austria)
  6. Frankfurt Universe (Germany)
  7. Carlstad Crusaders (Sweden)
  8. Dresden Monarchs (Germany)
  9. Milano Seamen (Italy)
  10. Berlin Rebels (Germany)
  11. Calanda Broncos (Switzerland)
  12. Wroclaw Panthers (Poland)
  13. Marburg Mercenaries (Germany)
  14. Cologne Crocodiles (Germany)
  15. Badalona Dracs (Spain)
  16. Copenhagen Towers (Denmark)
  17. Potsdam Royals (Germany)
  18. Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (Germany)
  19. Prague Black Panthers (Czech)
  20. Koc Rams (Turkey)

Football Friday

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I Hate To Tell You This But…The XFL May Play Again

1/5/18

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):

  1. United States Football League (USFL)
  2. World League of American Football (WLAF)
  3. NFL Europa
  4. XFL

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.