Three-peat! Oklahoma Thunder Takes Third Straight Gridiron Bowl Title

thunderFor the third time in the past three years, the Oklahoma Thunder knocks off a team from Tennessee to win another Gridiron Bowl Championship in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).

The Oklahoma Thunder dominated the game early to defeat the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs 38-15 in Gridiron Bowl IX in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Thunder had previously defeated the Nashville Storm in 2016 and Chattanooga Eagles in last season’s Gridiron Bowl.

A dominating performance by the Thunder offense broke the game open in the 2nd quarter, outscoring Middle Tennessee 25-6 in a 10-minute span.  Thunder QB Brandon Noohi threw touchdown passes of 24 and 29 yards and WR DJ Dempsey added a 13-yard TD run to lead the scoring. Noohi went finish with 229 yards passing and four touchdowns.

The Thunder defense held the explosive Bulldawgs’ offense to 202 yards.   Oklahoma’s BJ Hodshire was critical to the run defense, forcing three fumbles while holding Middle Tennessee to only 19 rushing yards on 20 attempts.  DT Calvin Barnett also had two sacks, and S DJ Wolfe also added a key interception.  The 15 points scored by Middle Tennessee were the only offensive points surrendered by the defense throughout the postseason.

With the victory, the Thunder organization now claims 7 national and world championships in its 10-year existence.   It’s three consecutive national titles are the most ever by a GDFL team.

 

Champions Are Crowned in AFL, AUDL and GDFL

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San Francisco FlameThrowers claim their first AUDL title with a 30-29 win over the Toronto Rush

 

It was championship weekend in the world of obscure sports as three sports leagues played their title games.   Let’s take a look at the results:

Arena Football League (AFL)

The Philadelphia Soul repeated as ArenaBowl champions with a thrilling 44-40 win over the Tampa Bay Storm.  The Soul rallied in the second half, scoring 30 points, after trailing the Storm 20-14 at halftime.  Soul Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh started the second half with a 40-yard touchdown throw to Darius Reynolds to lead 21-20. That play got the Soul’s momentum moving in the right direction. They led 28-27 at the end of the third quarter, and then shut down a Tampa Bay drive at the beginning of the fourth. A Radaubaugh throw to Darius Prince on a short fourth-and-goal put the Soul ahead for good.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)

The San Francisco FlameThrowers stunned the ultimate disc world this weekend as they knocked off the Madison Radicals in the semifinal game and then upset the Toronto Rush 30-29 to win their first title.   With 3:12 left, San Francisco received the disc, leading 29-28.  They maintained possession of the disc for nearly two minutes. San Francisco worked the disc forward, backward, side to side, and forward again. With just 1:21 on the clock, Cassidy Rasmussen threw the score to Marcelo Sanchez.  Toronto got a goal with 38 seconds remaining to keep within reach. The Rush pinned San Francisco in its own end zone but couldn’t come up with a block. The FlameThrowers were able to run out the clock to secure the 30-29 victory.

Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL)

The Oklahoma Thunder repeated as Gridiron Bowl champions with a convincing 51-12 win over the Chattanooga Eagles on Saturday in Memphis.  (Note:  There is no posting of the game report from this game on any of the league’s or team’s social media sites.  Only the final score.)

 

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