Obscure Sports Report (6/13/18)

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Third NLL Title for Saskatchewan Rush in Four Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Are You Ready For Some Quidditch?

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Believe it or not this is an actual sport.  No, really.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) is a professional quidditch league based in the United States and Canada.  The 16 teams play from June to August with each team playing nine games.  The current list of teams are:

East Division:  Boston Night Riders, New York Titans, Ottawa Black Bears, Washington Admirals

North Division:  Cleveland Riff, Detroit Innovators, Indianapolis Intensity, Rochester Whiteout

South Division:  Austin Outlaws, Kansas City Stampede, League City Legends, New Orleans Curse

West Division:  Los Angeles Guardians, Phoenix Sol, Salt Lake City Hive, San Francisco Argonauts

Major League Quidditch was founded in 2014 by Ethan Sturm, who joined with Amanda Dallas in hopes of developing quidditch further.  Sturm and Dallas currently co-commission the league.  The first season took place in 2015 with eight teams. MLQ had an extremely successful first season, picking up a sponsorship with SAVAGE The Ultimate Apparel Company, hosting twelve regular season 3 game series, and putting together a Championship Weekend.

Let me say that I have yet to read the first Harry Potter book or watch a Harry Potter movie but I think I can safely say that the players do NOT actually fly on brooms in this league.    The game incorporates a gender-integrated contact sport with elements of rugby, dodgeball, wrestling, flag football and other sports.  Each team is made up of at least seven players who play with brooms between their legs at all times.  Well, not actually the entire broom.  Mostly a stick without the broom.  Each team has three chasers, two beaters and one keeper in play at all times.  Each team also sends one seeker into the game at the end of the seeker floor.  Chasers and keepers – also known as quaffle players, attempt to score goals and prevent the other team from scoring goals with the quaffle (ball).  Goals are worth ten points.  The seekers try to remove the snitch ball from the snitch to score 30 points and end the period.

mlq2Don’t worry.  You really need to watch a game on YouTube or on the league’s website:  www.mlquidditch.com.   Trust me.  You will need to see it to believe it.  I was cringing while watching them play and holding a stick between their legs to play the game.   Honestly it looks like total chaos but somehow these dedicated athletes have made it a sport.   You won’t see the games played in major league stadiums but you can stay informed about the teams and the league on just about any social media network.

The 2017 MLQ Championship will be played this weekend in League City, Texas.  The weekend will feature 12 teams that have qualified after regular season play.  In the first round it will be:  Rochester vs. Salt Lake City, the winner to play Austin.  New Orleans plays San Francisco with the winner playing Boston.  League City faces New York and the winner will advance to play Indianapolis.  Finally, Detroit will take on Washington with the winner moving on to play Los Angeles.  Boston is the defending MLQ champions.

If you’re good with a broom, there may be hope for you to make it to the major leagues.

 

 

Obscure Sports Page

The Obscure Sports Page is a weekly report of sports leagues in the United States that are unique or get little coverage from the sports media.

American 7s Football League (A7FL) – The league will get national exposure on ELEVEN Sports Network on Sunday, July 9th for the A7FL Championship Game.  The league’s third championship game will be played at Palisades Credit Union Park.   NJ Paterson U, NJ Savage, PA Immortalz, NJ BIC, NJ Chiefs, Baltimore Kings, Baltimore Gators and PA Dynasty will begin the playoffs this weekend.

American Flag Football League (AFFL) – The league’s inaugural “test” game will be played on Tuesday, June 27th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.  The game will feature Michael Vick, Chad Ochocinco and Justin Forsett.   The league has advertised to be a modern version of flag football and will feature several technical innovations to the game.

American Hockey League (AHL) – Martin Frk scored the winning goal with 7:19 left in regulation to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-3 win in Game 6 of the Calder Cup finals to defeat the Syracuse Crunch.  This is the Griffins’ second Calder Cup title in five years.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league’s “Cross Coast Challenge” concluded last weekend with a high scoring game in Toronto.  The Rush overcame an early three goal deficit for a 33-27 win over San Francisco.  After trailing 16-15 at halftime, the Rush went on a 5-1 run to start the second half and never looked back.  The current division leaders are:  South-Raleigh (10-1), East-Toronto (8-3), Midwest-Minnesota (8-1) and West-San Francisco (7-3)

Arena Football League (AFL) – Philadelphia Soul running back, Mykel Benson, became the fifth player to rush for 100 touchdowns in league history.  He joined the elite group on his second touchdown in the win over Tampa Bay.   The Soul remain undefeated and on top of the league at 9-0 followed by Tampa Bay (7-2), Cleveland (3-7), Baltimore (2-6) and Washington (1-7).

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Richmond Roughriders win the APF title over the Florida Tarpons

 

Arena Pro Football (APF) –  The Richmond Roughriders won the championship over the Florida Tarpons 74-61.  On the game’s final play, Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace rolled to his left looking for a receiver.  Two Roughrider defenders closed in on Wallace as he hurried the pass which was intercepted by linebacker Malique Johnson who returned it for a touchdown to end the game and give the Roughriders the title. Richmond (8-0) completed an undefeated season.  Although the Roughriders claimed the first title in the APF, it will be their last in the league as it is set to merge with the CAN-AM Indoor Football League to form the American Arena League but Roughriders’ owner isn’t sure about following the rest of the league into the merger.  Owner Gregg Fornario is considering other options including the National Arena League (NAL) and Indoor Football League (IFL).

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The inaugural season of the 3-on-3 basketball league tips off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center.   The league was created by Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.  The league will feature eight teams with former NBA players.

Champions Indoor Football League (CIF) –  The Omaha Beef will face the Texas Revolution on Friday for the CIF title.  Omaha defeated the Sioux City Bandits 55-45 and Texas got past the Amarillo Venom 77-71 in the semifinals.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) –  Here are the current Top 10 rankings in the GDFL:

  1. Oklahoma Thunder
  2. Alabama Sabers
  3. Chattanooga Eagles
  4. Missouri Cyclones
  5. Huntsville Rockets
  6. North Mississippi Road Warriors
  7. Starkville Steeldogs
  8. River City Pythons
  9. Tri-City Outlaws
  10. Georgia Crush

Indoor Football League (IFL) – Nebraska Danger quarterback Drew Powell was named the league’s offensive player of the week after leading his team to a 59-44 win over the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.  Powell completed 17 of 23 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.  He also rushed for 71 yards.  Sioux Falls Storm defensive back Rashard Smith was the defensive player of the week as he helped his team end the Iowa Barnstormers’ 11-game winning streak returning an interception 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Storm a 21-point lead with less than five minutes left.

Major League Futsal (MLF) –  Diablos Ensenda MX leads the Men’s Pro Division with 18 points.  The Women’s Pro Division is led by Alianza F.C. with 3 points.  Futsal is the official version indoor soccer which played without dasher boards.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) –  Davey Emala and Will Manny combined for eight goals in Boston’s 16-9 win over the Outlaws in Denver on Saturday night. The win avenged Boston’s loss to Denver two weeks ago.  Boston goalie Tyler Fiorito earned the Coca-Cola Player of the Game after stopping 20 of the 29 shots against him. He made eight saves and did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter.  The teams were within a goal of each other at the end of the first quarter and within two goals after the second quarter, but Boston pulled away by outscoring Denver by a 7-2 margin in the second half.   The loss drops Denver into a first place tie with the Ohio Machine (5-2).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) –  Boston (3-0), Rochester (3-0), Austin (3-0) and Los Angeles (3-0) continue to lead their respective divisions early in the season.  Austin’s Monroe Augustine leads the Individual Quaffle Stats with 12 goals and nine assists.    This weekend’s matches will feature Boston hosting Ottawa and Phoenix at San Francisco.

National Arena League (NAL) – The playoffs are set for this weekend’s league semifinal games.  The Columbus Lions (9-3) will travel to play the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) while the Jacksonville Sharks (11-1) will host the Monterrey Steel (7-4).   The Steel upset the Sharks in the final regular season game last weekend 44-37.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) – Here are the current standings for the league:

  1. USSSA Pride (8-2)
  2. Scrap Yard Dawgs (7-5)
  3. Chicago Bandits (9-7)
  4. Texas Charge (7-6)
  5. Akron Racers (5-7)
  6. Beijing Eagles (0-9)

North American Soccer League (NASL) –  Week 14 of the NASL Spring Season comes with another stern test of Miami FC’s title-winning credentials. Miami faces the New York Cosmos, who sit seven points behind along with the San Francisco Deltas in the table, on Saturday night. A win at Riccardo Silva Stadium would move Miami closer to gaining the Spring Championship. A loss, of course, would bring the rest of the pack a little closer.  The Deltas head north to take on FC Edmonton and the club has yet to lose on the road in league play. The other Saturday night kickoff gets underway in Cary as North Carolina FC squares off with Indy Eleven.  On Sunday, Jacksonville Armada FC hosts Puerto Rico FC as both sides look to rebound from conceding four goals apiece a weekend ago.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The North Carolina Charge are still on top of the league with 21 points.  The Charge will play Boston this weekend.  Boston is in 9th place in the standings.

Supreme Indoor Football (SIF) – The Cape Fear Heroes had little trouble with the Cap City Bulls in the first round of the league playoffs.  The Heroes ran away with the game 63-14.  Unfortunately, there appears to be no information about the next round this weekend.

United Soccer League (USL) – Trevin Caesar had a hat trick and a highlight-reel assist to lead Sacramento Republic FC to a 6-2 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in front of a sellout crowd of 11,569 at Papa Murphy’s Park on Wednesday night.

Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) –  In the second round of the playoffs:

  • St. Louis Slam 69, Madison Blaze 8
  • Orlando Anarchy 57, Cincinnati Sizzle 6
  • Arkansas Wildcats 36, Austin Outlaws 6
  • Southern Oregon Lady Renegades 46, Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz 6
  • Toledo Reign 22, Maine Mayhem 7
  • Boston Renegades 27, DC Divas 24
  • Chicago Force 45, Pittsburgh Passion 0
  • Dallas Elite 53, Minnesota Vixen 0
  • Montreal Blitz 49, New York Sharks 27
  • Tampa Bay Inferno 35, Carolina Phoenix 26
  • San Diego Surge 35, Central California War Angels 34
  • Mile High Blaze 28, Sin City Trojans 14

This week’s schedule for the third round:

  • Chicago at Boston
  • San Diego at Dallas
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal
  • Mile High at St. Louis
  • Orlando at Toledo
  • Arkansas at S. Oregon

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) –  Glory Johnson recorded her fourth 20-point game of the season to help the Wings get their second consecutive win over the Stars, 81-78. Johnson ended the day recording her sixth double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Throughout the game, the Wings found themselves down by as much as 14, then were lifted back up when Skylar Diggins-Smith drove it up the lane late in the fourth quarter sinking a layup and a chance to make the 3-point play, when a foul was also called on San Antonio’s Erica deSouza. At the line, Diggins-Smith completed the play to give the Wings a one point lead over the Stars 79-78. The team sealed the win, when Karima Christmas-Kelly was sent to the foul line and sunk one to put the Wings up 81-78.  Three Wings players recorded double figures for the day. Diggins-Smith and Christmas-Kelly scored 16 points, with Diggins-Smith leading the team in assists dishing out six.