Obscure Sports News (5/9/18)

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Nightwatch win first game since 2016

 

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)

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

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)

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

Last week’s scores:

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

ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)

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

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL)

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

Other scores:

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

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)

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

Current Standings:

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

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)

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

Other scores:

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

MAJOR LACROSS LEAGUE (MLL)

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

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)

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

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Massachusetts Pirates celebrate big win over Columbus Lions

Other scores:

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

NATIONAL LACROSS LEAGUE (NLL)

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

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

SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL)

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

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Obscure Sports Report (1/31/18)

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Yu Yangyi Leads The PRO Chess League

XFL TO RETURN IN 2020

The reports are true.   The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring.  The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding.  The original league also had eight teams:  New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws.   There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot.  XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.

AFL UNVEILS NAME OF NEW ALBANY TEAM

The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League.  Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000.  The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title.   The Empire will begin play this season.

TAYOU LEADS MASL IN GOALS

Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals.   Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division.  Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

GEORGIA SWARM STING VANCOUVER

The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week.  The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter.  Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6.  Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.

TWO GOALIES ARE NWHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Amanda Leveille  (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston.  The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced.  She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage.   Here are the current NWHL standings:

  1. Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
  2. Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
  3. Boston Pride (2-6-3)
  4. Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)

PRO CHESS LEAGUE EARLY DIVISION LEADERS

The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions.   Round 3 of the season is this week.   Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.

NBA’S CHRIS PAUL TO HEADLINE NINTH STATE FARM BOWLING TOURNAMENT

Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm® CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.

Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.

In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, and Paul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.

NEW MIXED-GENDER ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE PLANNED

The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.

 

Obscure Sports News

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Here are some sports stories you probably won’t see on SportsCenter….

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) regular season is winding down and gearing up for the playoffs.  The defending champions – Baltimore Blast – have clinched the Eastern Division title and will face the Harrisburg Heat in the division final.  The Kansas City Comets have won the Central Division and will play the Milwaukee Wave.  Soles de Sonora has won the Southwest Division and will play Atletico Baja.  The Pacific Division will feature the San Diego Sockers who will play either the Ontario Fury or Tacoma Stars in the playoffs.  Eight teams make the playoffs with the two top teams of each division qualifying for the postseason.  The playoff series will consist of a 2-game series for each round.  If the series is tied, a mini-game at the end of game 2 will be played.

The surprising Georgia Swarm still leads the National Lacrosse League (NLL) with a record of 7-1.  They lead the league with goals scored with 119 goals.  Forward Lyle Thompson leads the team with 25 goals.   The season concludes on the last weekend in April.

The New York Riveters will host the No. 3 seed in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) one-game semifinal on March 17th.  The Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale are currently tied for third place in the league.  The Boston Pride will play the fourth place finisher in the other semifinal matchup.  The Isobel Cup final will be played on Sunday, March 19th in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The 2017 season of Major League Soccer (MLS) will kick-off this weekend at the Portland Timbers will host Minnesota United FC on Friday.  Minnesota and Atlanta are the two new expansion teams this season.  The defending MLS Cup champions, Seattle Sounders, will began their title defense at Houston on Saturday.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) kicked off their season with the addition of the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles and the Arizona Rattlers who defected from the sinking Arena Football League (AFL).   Former AFL-Alum, Iowa Barnstormers, spoiled the Rattlers’ debut in the new league with a 51-47 win.

Speaking of the Arena Football League, they are still planning to play this season with five teams.   Their season kicks off on April 7th as the league’s two new teams – Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor meet in D.C.   The league still plans to expand but no news at this time where they plan to place new teams.

The Montreal ChessBrahs (6-1), St. Louis Arch Bishops (6-1), Marseille Migraines (5-2) and Delhi Dynamite (5-2) lead their respective divisions in the PRO Chess League.  Wesley So lost his first game since his loss to Magnus Carlsen last summer.  In one of the best games of the week, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov overmatched So’s queen with a rook and minor pieces in the endgame.  So’s defeat, however, had little impact on the match as both teams (St. Louis and San Jose) still secured playoff berths.

Minor league hockey playoffs will be starting soon.  The top teams are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (American Hockey League), Toledo (ECHL), Macon (Southern Professional Hockey League) and Danville (Federal Hockey League).  Of course, there are other junior leagues also getting ready for the postseason as well.