How ‘Bout Them Dawgs, ArenaBowl and Frisbee Final Four

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Bulldawgs Win, Washington Wins ArenaBowl, Final Four set in AUDL

This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs.  I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday.  Never heard of these Bulldawgs?  I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed.  Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score.  They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title.  The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football.  I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me.  Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.

The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55.  The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason.  The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format.  Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.

MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery

Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance.  Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18.  The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego.  Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016).  Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).

 

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Team of the Week: Oklahoma Thunder


When I thought about putting this post together for this week, I had hoped it would be our local team in this slot but in the heavyweight semi-pro football of matchups, this game went to the Oklahoma Thunder as they defeated the Nashville Storm, 29-16 in Gridiron Bowl VII played in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.

To save any confusion, this is NOT the NBA team that plays in Oklahoma City.

Never heard of this Thunder team or the Gridiron Bowl?

The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is one of the few stable semi-pro football leagues in the United States.   The GDFL currently has 25 teams and just finished their sixth season with the Gridiron Bowl.

 The Thunder defense dominated the defending champion Nashville Storm, scoring a defensive touchdown in the third quarter and shutting down Nashville’s rushing offense, holding them to 28 yards.  The Thunder also forced four turnovers and sacked the Storm quarterback six times in the game.

With the Thunder leading 15-14 in the third quarter, the Storm blocked a punt and took over possession at the Thunder 7.  Nashville tried two running plays but were unable to gain positive yardage.  The Thunder intercepted a third-down pass to end the threat.  Oklahoma QB Brandon Noohi completed passes of 70 and 20 yards on the ensuing drive.  The drive was capped with a 5-yard run by Josh Birmingham to extend the Thunder lead to 22-14.  

The Thunder won their fifth national title.  Their first since 2013.  The win over Nashville snapped the Storm’s 21-game win streak.

Gridiron Bowl Results:

  • 2010 – Gridiron Bowl I:  Carolina Warriors 15, Kentucky Wolverines 7
  • 2011 – Gridiron Bowl II: Chambersburg Cardinals 19, Oklahoma Thunder 14
  • 2012 – Gridiron Bowl III: Central Penn Piranha 49, South Buffalo Celtics 14
  • 2013 – Gridiron Bowl IV: Oklahoma Thunder 56, Lehigh Valley Storm 8
  • 2014 – Gridiron Bowl V: Central Penn Piranha 21, Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters 19
  • 2015 – Gridiron Bowl VI: Nashville Storm 31, Crescent City Kings 28
  • 2016 – Gridiron Bowl VII: Oklahoma Thunder 29, Nashville Storm 16